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International Climbers' Festival Highlights Women

The International Climbers' Festivalstarts Wednesday, July 9 in Lander. Director Mandy Pohja says this is the 21st year for the rock climbing event and this year’s line-up is particularly strong.

"We have probably the most significant number of professional climbing athletes coming to Lander than any other year.  And also more than any other festival in the world.  So that is a really neat collection of professional climbers from the last 40 years of rock climbing that will be in Lander this coming weekend."

Headlining the event are such world-renowned athletes as Conrad Anker and John Long. 

This year’s festival will highlight the expanding role of women in the sport.  Pohja says she was thrilled to put well-known climbers like Lynn Hill, Angie Payne and Becca Skinner on the festival’s schedule.  She says the number of women in the sport is growing.

"Climbing is a very male dominated sport," she says.  "Anybody who's been climbing could attest to the ratio that's much higher men to women on pretty much every type of climbing.  But the women that are coming to the festival this year have each set the bar higher in their own respective fields."

The festival will host a women’s roundtable on Thursday afternoon.  Pohja says the athletes will also offer clinics and motivational talks. 

She says there are also events for non-climbers. An art crawl to businesses along Main Street Thursday will showcase adventure-themed art and scotch tastings. 

The festival runs through this weekend.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.

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