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2020 CWA Summit

Conference Sessions

Each year the CWA convenes the industry's top presenters, who are experts in climbing gym ownership, operations, programs, and expansion. Don't miss the opportunity for growth and development with your indoor climbing industry peers!

EXPLORE THE 

Click the session title to review details for each presentation that will be offered at this year's CWA Summit.

KEYNOTE

North Star: Remembering Our Why | Kevin Jorgeson


Description: During the CWA Summit, you have the opportunity to learn from the best in the business. Whatever your role in the indoor climbing industry, this event is full of resources to help you learn and grow. And the timing is perfect! The stakes have never been higher, with increased mainstream awareness, a competitive market, and a forthcoming Olympic debut, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic and aggressive. For these same reasons, it’s critical to remember our “why.” The sport and lifestyle of climbing are experiencing a period of unprecedented growth, but what is our responsibility to it? Join Kevin Jorgeson as he shares his “why” and helps you uncover yours. Hear personal stories, including Kevin’s introduction to climbing as an 11-year-old boy, his success on the Dawn Wall, and the vision he’s pursuing for the future. Reconnect with your “why” so you can navigate the future with a renewed sense of purpose. About the Presenter: After discovering rock climbing in 1995, Kevin was instantly hooked. At 14, too young to obtain a work permit, Kevin belayed birthday parties in exchange for Snickers bars until he was old enough to be added to the payroll. From there, Kevin went on to become an instructor, youth team coach, front desk staff, head routesetter, and assistant manager. By his early 20’s, Kevin fully committed to his climbing career and began establishing the most beautiful and dangerous highball boulder problems in the world. In 2009, he began work on the Dawn Wall project with Tommy Caldwell. Six years later, they finally succeeded on what is considered the hardest big wall free climb in the world. The ascent earned both Kevin and Tommy the American Alpine Club’s highest distinction: Lifetime Honorary Membership. In addition to his climbing career, Kevin is the co-founder of Session Climbing and Fitness, a 23,000 square foot, ground-up climbing gym being built in downtown Santa Rosa in 2021. He is also the co-founder of the 1Climb Foundation, which has raised over $1.5m to date to help introduce 100,000 kids to climbing by installing climbing walls in Boys and Girls Clubs across the United States.





LEADERSHIP

Climb Card - Waiver Free Access to Multiple Gyms | Duncan Howard, The Castle Climbing Centre; Kath Hipwell, The Association of British Climbing Walls; Matthias Polig, Vertical-Life


Description: The Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) has launched its Climb Card product, opening up a relationship and revenue stream for the ABC direct with climbers for the first time. Subscription to the ClimbCard (£7.99 TBC) will give climbers the opportunity to take a one time rope/auto belay/bouldering competency test which is then held on the Climb Card app and means users don’t have to go through the test at each new centre they visit. As we all know, signing up at new centres can be quite a painful and time consuming process, so we are excited to soon have this scheme in place. For walls it means great time saving at busy receptions especially during peak amongst other benefits. Objectives:

  • Set out the principles behind the ABC’s Climb Card
  • Share the learning from having overcome the technical and practical obstacles involved in setting it up
About the Presenters: Duncan Howard is the CEO at High Performance Sports Ltd (HPS). They own the Castle Climbing Centre in London, the UK’s biggest and busiest. As well as a 20-year love affair with climbing, Duncan’s 25 years in the corporate world in London have given him a wealth of business and leadership skills and a fresh perspective to bring to the indoor climbing scene in the UK. Genuinely ethically driven, he’s also pushing HPS toward B-Corp accreditation. Kath Hipwell is the CEO of The Association of British Climbing Walls, whose objective is to promote the professionalism, health, and growth of indoor climbing. Kath has recently launched the ClimbCard, the ABC’s first direct to climber product. She is passionate about making everyone feel welcome in climbing and is working with climbing walls across the UK to use the Olympics to bring new and diverse audiences into our sport. Matthias Polig, CEO of Vertical-Life, is a national routesetter, guidebook author, and climbing event manager with a passion for climbing and technology. Matthias co-founded Vertical-Life with the vision of better connecting and uniting both local and global climbing communities. VL’s goal is to empower rock climbers to thrive, and to innovate the way professionals in our industry do their everyday jobs.




The Case for Standardized Setting | Paul Terbrueggen, Summit Climbing, Yoga & Fitness


Description: Identify the possibility and pursue the details in how to effectively standardize route setting difficulty systems, specifically color coding, in order to create opportunities for improved/universal customer experience, better economies of scale† leading to more efficient hold budgets and a more versatile hold “tool kit” for setters across the country. Involve gym owners, route setters, hold shapers and manufacturers to consider all sides of the case for change. Initial direction- standardize the industry, over a 3-5-year time frame, to a “hybrid-chromatic” system with standard colorways for difficulties. About the Presenter: Paul Terbrueggen is the current Chief Operating Officer for Summit Climbing, Yoga & Fitness’ eight locations in Texas and Oklahoma. He started climbing in April 2018 and fell in love, leaving a career in Operations with Amazon Fulfillment. In his eight years with Amazon, he specialized in inventory management, quality control, process improvement, and people leadership. Across multiple states, countries, and warehouses, he led teams of up to ~5,000 hourly and 125+ salaried leaders and led projects valued at $10M+. In his final months with Amazon, Paul traveled the country improving leadership and associate onboarding training, while also climbing at nearly 40 indoor facilities, gathering information on best practices and user experience.




Training and Movement | Taylor Reed, The Beta Angel Project


Description: In this session, a coach with 15 years of experience will describe the methods he employs with his most advanced athletes. Taylor will go over morphological distinctions that make climbers "fit" moves in better or worse ways, movement interventions that "shape" climbers toward bettering their overall fit, and how individuals vary in their efficiency approaches and energy system needs over the course of a route. He'll employ case studies, experimental research protocols, and practical, usable frameworks you can explore in your own coaching. About the Presenter: Taylor received his Masters (MA) in international affairs in 2010 and promptly went to Washington, DC to focus on security- and disaster-related policy. He contracted with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to build national- and organizational-level strategies and analyze thousands of policies. He began coaching in 2005 and balanced coaching with his analysis career all the way up until 2018, when he joined the climbing world full time.




The New Performance Enhancer on the Street: Integrating Breath Work into Programming, Coaching, and Health-Conscious Gym Culture | Michael Hooten & Gabor Boczonadi, BreathWorks


Description: Breath work is an emerging interest in fitness and lifestyle trends ranging from yoga studios to fitness facilities, and now just trickling into climbing programs. Amidst the growing popularity of breath work in health and performance circles, proper facilitation is critical to success when capturing an audience, promoting these adaptable techniques, and making them accessible to participants. Health-conscious lifestyle and culture in a gym expands community offerings and draws investment of routine practice and participation in fitness and climbing programs. Discover how breath facilitation is a simple addition to your mind-body-movement programming that can engage new as well as experienced climbers. Join us for a short experiential glimpse of some technique and brainstorming for programs!

About the Presenters: Michael Hooten is a casual climber and professional group facilitator of 10+ years who loves nature and geeks out about safety and technical skills. With a foundation in taoist meditation, he became a student of martial arts, yoga, and meditation 20 years ago. Continuing to expand the combo of breath and movement into multiple areas of athletics, Michael realized their universal application. Mental-behavioral health, physical wellness, and outdoor recreation are his focus areas.

Gabor Boczonadi is an advanced yoga teacher (RYT 500), L-2 challenge facilitator and the founder of breathlete.com. A yoga practitioner since 2012, Gabor considers it a lifestyle with strong, dedicated practice. He has taught breath work and yoga since 2016 to a wide audience including athletes, corporate teams, prison inmates and general public. A former professional athlete and coach with 25+ years of experience, Gabor intimately understands body-movement mechanics and breath affecting health, performance, and stress.





MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS

North Star: Remembering Our Why | Kevin Jorgeson


Description: During the CWA Summit, you have the opportunity to learn from the best in the business. Whatever your role in the indoor climbing industry, this event is full of resources to help you learn and grow. And the timing is perfect! The stakes have never been higher, with increased mainstream awareness, a competitive market, and a forthcoming Olympic debut, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic and aggressive. For these same reasons, it’s critical to remember our “why.” The sport and lifestyle of climbing are experiencing a period of unprecedented growth, but what is our responsibility to it? Join Kevin Jorgeson as he shares his “why” and helps you uncover yours. Hear personal stories, including Kevin’s introduction to climbing as an 11-year-old boy, his success on the Dawn Wall, and the vision he’s pursuing for the future. Reconnect with your “why” so you can navigate the future with a renewed sense of purpose. About the Presenter: After discovering rock climbing in 1995, Kevin was instantly hooked. At 14, too young to obtain a work permit, Kevin belayed birthday parties in exchange for Snickers bars until he was old enough to be added to the payroll. From there, Kevin went on to become an instructor, youth team coach, front desk staff, head routesetter, and assistant manager. By his early 20’s, Kevin fully committed to his climbing career and began establishing the most beautiful and dangerous highball boulder problems in the world. In 2009, he began work on the Dawn Wall project with Tommy Caldwell. Six years later, they finally succeeded on what is considered the hardest big wall free climb in the world. The ascent earned both Kevin and Tommy the American Alpine Club’s highest distinction: Lifetime Honorary Membership. In addition to his climbing career, Kevin is the co-founder of Session Climbing and Fitness, a 23,000 square foot, ground-up climbing gym being built in downtown Santa Rosa in 2021. He is also the co-founder of the 1Climb Foundation, which has raised over $1.5m to date to help introduce 100,000 kids to climbing by installing climbing walls in Boys and Girls Clubs across the United States.





STARTUPS/BUSINESS FORMATION

The Unstable Climbing Shoulder | Dr. Jared Vagy, The Climbing Doctor


Description: This workshop is for any climber who has struggled with injury themselves, with their teams or with their gym membership. You will learn how to assess and treat the most common rock climbing injuries. Based on your findings, you will utilize a systematic approach to prevent and rehabilitate the injury. Additionally, you will be given a free copy of the book "Climb Injury-Free" and complimentary team membership access to the Rock Rehab Program with detailed injury prevention protocols to treat the most common climbing injuries. About the Presenter: Dr. Jared Vagy is a climber and doctor of physical therapy (DPT). He is also a professor at the University of Southern California, the number- one-ranked doctor of physical therapy program in the country. He lectures internationally on the topic of preventing climbing injury. Dr. Jared Vagy has published numerous articles as well as two books on the topic. His most recent book, “Climb Injury-Free” is an Amazon #1 best seller in the rock climbing category. As a DPT in clinical practice, he has completed an additional one-year residency program in orthopedics and a one-year fellowship program in movement science, totaling 9 years of concentrated study. He is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.




Training For Power: Developing Explosiveness For Climbing | Charlie Manganiello, Climb Strong


Description: Training power is a very tall order for most coaches. Especially with older athletes, athletes that don't have much of a sports background, or new up and coming youth. Climbing has gained huge popularity over the years and there isn't a single climber from 5.6 to 5.15 that isn't looking to be a bit more snappy on the wall. People all over the world are choosing climbing as their sport, past time, hobby, or way to stay fit and being more powerful is the way forward. In this session we talk about the very specific ways we can train power, but also the non-specific ways that keep us working on training power when the skin is trashed or we just don't have the juice to campus with our feet off. We will go over regressions and progressions so all athletes can train power without getting hurt and so they see real progress. We'll explain the useful drills and sessions we use on timeless tools like the campus board and on the wall, but also the sessions that don't involve loading the fingers and using precious skin for future sessions. This session is for coaches looking to up their game for their athletes, gym managers who are in charge of group classes in their respective gyms, and anyone looking to up their own power. All ability levels will benefit from this presentation. About the Presenter: Charlie has been a coach at Climb Strong for 7 years. A high-level rock climber himself, he focuses on training athletes, and works with climbers from around the world. Charlie also heads the strength program and the youth climbing team at local gym in Lander, WY - Elemental Performance + Fitness. He is the author of the Climb Strong Deadlifting Manual and Unstoppable Force - Strength Training For Climbers. Charlie is also one of the lead instructors at the Performance Climbing Coach events.




Fundamentals of Training Program Design | Steve Bechtel, Climb Strong


Description: Good programming is the foundation of successful training. This lecture will cover planning everything from a single training session up to sketching out one to four year programs. We’ll cover the pros and cons of various structures of programs and how to integrate successful climbing with a demanding training plan. We will cover cycling of training loads, and training for varying aspects of the sport, including integration of the demands put forth by preparing for combined-format events. About the Presenter: Steve is the founder of Climb Strong. A climber of 30+ years, Steve’s established over 350 new routes across the globe, from grade VI big wall climbs to 25-foot routes on his home crags near Lander, Wyoming. An exercise science graduate of the University of Wyoming, Steve has been studying climbing training methods since his teens. Steve opened Elemental Performance + Fitness in 2002 - a gym in Lander, built around the training needs of high-level climbers.




Simple Strength Training for Youth Teams | Tyler Nelson, Camp4 Human Performance


Description: This session is designed to teach youth coaches how to test and program for youth athletes while using appropriate loads for each athlete. It is challenging to coordinate strength training into youth teams and in this session I will demonstrate how coaches can do this effectively and very simply. With minimal equipment we can run athletes through these strength tests and use the same principles to train throughout the season for better performance on the wall. The use of similar metrics will be used to document individual fatigue of the individual athlete so as to reduce injury risk and overtraining. About the Presenter: Tyler Nelson owns and operates a chiropractic sports medicine clinic and strength & conditioning business in Salt Lake City. While earning his doctoral degree, he completed a dual program masters degree in exercise science at the University Of Missouri. While in graduate school Tyler worked with the University of Missouri athletics department and currently is employed through two colleges in Utah where he teaches anatomy and physiology. He is certified as a strength & conditioning specialist through the NSCA and has been climbing for 17 years. He started climbing big walls in Zion and Yosemite and now has a focus on bouldering. His expertise in human physiology and a cutting-edge knowledge of strength and conditioning techniques will help us understand training for climbing in the 21st century.




Cultivating Climbing Progression in the Modern Gym (Are You Letting the Climbers Down?) | Kris Hampton, Power Company Climbing


Description: Training and progression are undeniably hot topics right now, at the same time as the industry and setting styles are rapidly changing. The conversation around these changes is often that it's moving away from "real climbing". We don't believe this has to be, or even necessarily is, true. In many cases, gyms find it nearly impossible to cater to new clientele as well as "core" climbers. In this session we'll explore what gyms can do to help the "core" continue progressing, as well as how they can help climbers understand how best to use the tools they have, while still moving forward into the modern gym era. About the Presenter: As a climber of 25 years, with ascents of 5.14 and V10, Kris has always been most interested in efficient movement and what factors allow for continued success. This led to founding Power Company Climbing, where Kris and his team have coached thousands of climbers to their goals. After starting the popular Power Company Podcast, Kris began talking with and coaching other coaches, and has found satisfaction in being able to reach even more climbers through these coaches.





BUSINESS GROWTH & EXPANSION

Climb Card - Waiver Free Access to Multiple Gyms | Duncan Howard, The Castle Climbing Centre; Kath Hipwell, The Association of British Climbing Walls; Matthias Polig, Vertical-Life


Description: The Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) has launched its Climb Card product, opening up a relationship and revenue stream for the ABC direct with climbers for the first time. Subscription to the ClimbCard (£7.99 TBC) will give climbers the opportunity to take a one time rope/auto belay/bouldering competency test which is then held on the Climb Card app and means users don’t have to go through the test at each new centre they visit. As we all know, signing up at new centres can be quite a painful and time consuming process, so we are excited to soon have this scheme in place. For walls it means great time saving at busy receptions especially during peak amongst other benefits. Objectives:

  • Set out the principles behind the ABC’s Climb Card
  • Share the learning from having overcome the technical and practical obstacles involved in setting it up
About the Presenters: Duncan Howard is the CEO at High Performance Sports Ltd (HPS). They own the Castle Climbing Centre in London, the UK’s biggest and busiest. As well as a 20-year love affair with climbing, Duncan’s 25 years in the corporate world in London have given him a wealth of business and leadership skills and a fresh perspective to bring to the indoor climbing scene in the UK. Genuinely ethically driven, he’s also pushing HPS toward B-Corp accreditation. Kath Hipwell is the CEO of The Association of British Climbing Walls, whose objective is to promote the professionalism, health, and growth of indoor climbing. Kath has recently launched the ClimbCard, the ABC’s first direct to climber product. She is passionate about making everyone feel welcome in climbing and is working with climbing walls across the UK to use the Olympics to bring new and diverse audiences into our sport. Matthias Polig, CEO of Vertical-Life, is a national routesetter, guidebook author, and climbing event manager with a passion for climbing and technology. Matthias co-founded Vertical-Life with the vision of better connecting and uniting both local and global climbing communities. VL’s goal is to empower rock climbers to thrive, and to innovate the way professionals in our industry do their everyday jobs.




The Case for Standardized Setting | Paul Terbrueggen, Summit Climbing, Yoga & Fitness


Description: Identify the possibility and pursue the details in how to effectively standardize route setting difficulty systems, specifically color coding, in order to create opportunities for improved/universal customer experience, better economies of scale† leading to more efficient hold budgets and a more versatile hold “tool kit” for setters across the country. Involve gym owners, route setters, hold shapers and manufacturers to consider all sides of the case for change. Initial direction- standardize the industry, over a 3-5-year time frame, to a “hybrid-chromatic” system with standard colorways for difficulties. About the Presenter: Paul Terbrueggen is the current Chief Operating Officer for Summit Climbing, Yoga & Fitness’ eight locations in Texas and Oklahoma. He started climbing in April 2018 and fell in love, leaving a career in Operations with Amazon Fulfillment. In his eight years with Amazon, he specialized in inventory management, quality control, process improvement, and people leadership. Across multiple states, countries, and warehouses, he led teams of up to ~5,000 hourly and 125+ salaried leaders and led projects valued at $10M+. In his final months with Amazon, Paul traveled the country improving leadership and associate onboarding training, while also climbing at nearly 40 indoor facilities, gathering information on best practices and user experience.




Training and Movement | Taylor Reed, The Beta Angel Project


Description: In this session, a coach with 15 years of experience will describe the methods he employs with his most advanced athletes. Taylor will go over morphological distinctions that make climbers "fit" moves in better or worse ways, movement interventions that "shape" climbers toward bettering their overall fit, and how individuals vary in their efficiency approaches and energy system needs over the course of a route. He'll employ case studies, experimental research protocols, and practical, usable frameworks you can explore in your own coaching. About the Presenter: Taylor received his Masters (MA) in international affairs in 2010 and promptly went to Washington, DC to focus on security- and disaster-related policy. He contracted with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to build national- and organizational-level strategies and analyze thousands of policies. He began coaching in 2005 and balanced coaching with his analysis career all the way up until 2018, when he joined the climbing world full time.




The New Performance Enhancer on the Street: Integrating Breath Work into Programming, Coaching, and Health-Conscious Gym Culture | Michael Hooten & Gabor Boczonadi, BreathWorks


Description: Breath work is an emerging interest in fitness and lifestyle trends ranging from yoga studios to fitness facilities, and now just trickling into climbing programs. Amidst the growing popularity of breath work in health and performance circles, proper facilitation is critical to success when capturing an audience, promoting these adaptable techniques, and making them accessible to participants. Health-conscious lifestyle and culture in a gym expands community offerings and draws investment of routine practice and participation in fitness and climbing programs. Discover how breath facilitation is a simple addition to your mind-body-movement programming that can engage new as well as experienced climbers. Join us for a short experiential glimpse of some technique and brainstorming for programs!

About the Presenters: Michael Hooten is a casual climber and professional group facilitator of 10+ years who loves nature and geeks out about safety and technical skills. With a foundation in taoist meditation, he became a student of martial arts, yoga, and meditation 20 years ago. Continuing to expand the combo of breath and movement into multiple areas of athletics, Michael realized their universal application. Mental-behavioral health, physical wellness, and outdoor recreation are his focus areas.

Gabor Boczonadi is an advanced yoga teacher (RYT 500), L-2 challenge facilitator and the founder of breathlete.com. A yoga practitioner since 2012, Gabor considers it a lifestyle with strong, dedicated practice. He has taught breath work and yoga since 2016 to a wide audience including athletes, corporate teams, prison inmates and general public. A former professional athlete and coach with 25+ years of experience, Gabor intimately understands body-movement mechanics and breath affecting health, performance, and stress.





LEGAL/RISK MANAGEMENT

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.





COACHING/TRAINING

The Unstable Climbing Shoulder | Dr. Jared Vagy, The Climbing Doctor


Description: This workshop is for any climber who has struggled with injury themselves, with their teams or with their gym membership. You will learn how to assess and treat the most common rock climbing injuries. Based on your findings, you will utilize a systematic approach to prevent and rehabilitate the injury. Additionally, you will be given a free copy of the book "Climb Injury-Free" and complimentary team membership access to the Rock Rehab Program with detailed injury prevention protocols to treat the most common climbing injuries. About the Presenter: Dr. Jared Vagy is a climber and doctor of physical therapy (DPT). He is also a professor at the University of Southern California, the number- one-ranked doctor of physical therapy program in the country. He lectures internationally on the topic of preventing climbing injury. Dr. Jared Vagy has published numerous articles as well as two books on the topic. His most recent book, “Climb Injury-Free” is an Amazon #1 best seller in the rock climbing category. As a DPT in clinical practice, he has completed an additional one-year residency program in orthopedics and a one-year fellowship program in movement science, totaling 9 years of concentrated study. He is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.




Training For Power: Developing Explosiveness For Climbing | Charlie Manganiello, Climb Strong


Description: Training power is a very tall order for most coaches. Especially with older athletes, athletes that don't have much of a sports background, or new up and coming youth. Climbing has gained huge popularity over the years and there isn't a single climber from 5.6 to 5.15 that isn't looking to be a bit more snappy on the wall. People all over the world are choosing climbing as their sport, past time, hobby, or way to stay fit and being more powerful is the way forward. In this session we talk about the very specific ways we can train power, but also the non-specific ways that keep us working on training power when the skin is trashed or we just don't have the juice to campus with our feet off. We will go over regressions and progressions so all athletes can train power without getting hurt and so they see real progress. We'll explain the useful drills and sessions we use on timeless tools like the campus board and on the wall, but also the sessions that don't involve loading the fingers and using precious skin for future sessions. This session is for coaches looking to up their game for their athletes, gym managers who are in charge of group classes in their respective gyms, and anyone looking to up their own power. All ability levels will benefit from this presentation. About the Presenter: Charlie has been a coach at Climb Strong for 7 years. A high-level rock climber himself, he focuses on training athletes, and works with climbers from around the world. Charlie also heads the strength program and the youth climbing team at local gym in Lander, WY - Elemental Performance + Fitness. He is the author of the Climb Strong Deadlifting Manual and Unstoppable Force - Strength Training For Climbers. Charlie is also one of the lead instructors at the Performance Climbing Coach events.




Fundamentals of Training Program Design | Steve Bechtel, Climb Strong


Description: Good programming is the foundation of successful training. This lecture will cover planning everything from a single training session up to sketching out one to four year programs. We’ll cover the pros and cons of various structures of programs and how to integrate successful climbing with a demanding training plan. We will cover cycling of training loads, and training for varying aspects of the sport, including integration of the demands put forth by preparing for combined-format events. About the Presenter: Steve is the founder of Climb Strong. A climber of 30+ years, Steve’s established over 350 new routes across the globe, from grade VI big wall climbs to 25-foot routes on his home crags near Lander, Wyoming. An exercise science graduate of the University of Wyoming, Steve has been studying climbing training methods since his teens. Steve opened Elemental Performance + Fitness in 2002 - a gym in Lander, built around the training needs of high-level climbers.




Simple Strength Training for Youth Teams | Tyler Nelson, Camp4 Human Performance


Description: This session is designed to teach youth coaches how to test and program for youth athletes while using appropriate loads for each athlete. It is challenging to coordinate strength training into youth teams and in this session I will demonstrate how coaches can do this effectively and very simply. With minimal equipment we can run athletes through these strength tests and use the same principles to train throughout the season for better performance on the wall. The use of similar metrics will be used to document individual fatigue of the individual athlete so as to reduce injury risk and overtraining. About the Presenter: Tyler Nelson owns and operates a chiropractic sports medicine clinic and strength & conditioning business in Salt Lake City. While earning his doctoral degree, he completed a dual program masters degree in exercise science at the University Of Missouri. While in graduate school Tyler worked with the University of Missouri athletics department and currently is employed through two colleges in Utah where he teaches anatomy and physiology. He is certified as a strength & conditioning specialist through the NSCA and has been climbing for 17 years. He started climbing big walls in Zion and Yosemite and now has a focus on bouldering. His expertise in human physiology and a cutting-edge knowledge of strength and conditioning techniques will help us understand training for climbing in the 21st century.




Cultivating Climbing Progression in the Modern Gym (Are You Letting the Climbers Down?) | Kris Hampton, Power Company Climbing


Description: Training and progression are undeniably hot topics right now, at the same time as the industry and setting styles are rapidly changing. The conversation around these changes is often that it's moving away from "real climbing". We don't believe this has to be, or even necessarily is, true. In many cases, gyms find it nearly impossible to cater to new clientele as well as "core" climbers. In this session we'll explore what gyms can do to help the "core" continue progressing, as well as how they can help climbers understand how best to use the tools they have, while still moving forward into the modern gym era. About the Presenter: As a climber of 25 years, with ascents of 5.14 and V10, Kris has always been most interested in efficient movement and what factors allow for continued success. This led to founding Power Company Climbing, where Kris and his team have coached thousands of climbers to their goals. After starting the popular Power Company Podcast, Kris began talking with and coaching other coaches, and has found satisfaction in being able to reach even more climbers through these coaches.





ROUTESETTING

The Unstable Climbing Shoulder | Dr. Jared Vagy, The Climbing Doctor


Description: This workshop is for any climber who has struggled with injury themselves, with their teams or with their gym membership. You will learn how to assess and treat the most common rock climbing injuries. Based on your findings, you will utilize a systematic approach to prevent and rehabilitate the injury. Additionally, you will be given a free copy of the book "Climb Injury-Free" and complimentary team membership access to the Rock Rehab Program with detailed injury prevention protocols to treat the most common climbing injuries. About the Presenter: Dr. Jared Vagy is a climber and doctor of physical therapy (DPT). He is also a professor at the University of Southern California, the number- one-ranked doctor of physical therapy program in the country. He lectures internationally on the topic of preventing climbing injury. Dr. Jared Vagy has published numerous articles as well as two books on the topic. His most recent book, “Climb Injury-Free” is an Amazon #1 best seller in the rock climbing category. As a DPT in clinical practice, he has completed an additional one-year residency program in orthopedics and a one-year fellowship program in movement science, totaling 9 years of concentrated study. He is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.




Training For Power: Developing Explosiveness For Climbing | Charlie Manganiello, Climb Strong


Description: Training power is a very tall order for most coaches. Especially with older athletes, athletes that don't have much of a sports background, or new up and coming youth. Climbing has gained huge popularity over the years and there isn't a single climber from 5.6 to 5.15 that isn't looking to be a bit more snappy on the wall. People all over the world are choosing climbing as their sport, past time, hobby, or way to stay fit and being more powerful is the way forward. In this session we talk about the very specific ways we can train power, but also the non-specific ways that keep us working on training power when the skin is trashed or we just don't have the juice to campus with our feet off. We will go over regressions and progressions so all athletes can train power without getting hurt and so they see real progress. We'll explain the useful drills and sessions we use on timeless tools like the campus board and on the wall, but also the sessions that don't involve loading the fingers and using precious skin for future sessions. This session is for coaches looking to up their game for their athletes, gym managers who are in charge of group classes in their respective gyms, and anyone looking to up their own power. All ability levels will benefit from this presentation. About the Presenter: Charlie has been a coach at Climb Strong for 7 years. A high-level rock climber himself, he focuses on training athletes, and works with climbers from around the world. Charlie also heads the strength program and the youth climbing team at local gym in Lander, WY - Elemental Performance + Fitness. He is the author of the Climb Strong Deadlifting Manual and Unstoppable Force - Strength Training For Climbers. Charlie is also one of the lead instructors at the Performance Climbing Coach events.




Fundamentals of Training Program Design | Steve Bechtel, Climb Strong


Description: Good programming is the foundation of successful training. This lecture will cover planning everything from a single training session up to sketching out one to four year programs. We’ll cover the pros and cons of various structures of programs and how to integrate successful climbing with a demanding training plan. We will cover cycling of training loads, and training for varying aspects of the sport, including integration of the demands put forth by preparing for combined-format events. About the Presenter: Steve is the founder of Climb Strong. A climber of 30+ years, Steve’s established over 350 new routes across the globe, from grade VI big wall climbs to 25-foot routes on his home crags near Lander, Wyoming. An exercise science graduate of the University of Wyoming, Steve has been studying climbing training methods since his teens. Steve opened Elemental Performance + Fitness in 2002 - a gym in Lander, built around the training needs of high-level climbers.




Simple Strength Training for Youth Teams | Tyler Nelson, Camp4 Human Performance


Description: This session is designed to teach youth coaches how to test and program for youth athletes while using appropriate loads for each athlete. It is challenging to coordinate strength training into youth teams and in this session I will demonstrate how coaches can do this effectively and very simply. With minimal equipment we can run athletes through these strength tests and use the same principles to train throughout the season for better performance on the wall. The use of similar metrics will be used to document individual fatigue of the individual athlete so as to reduce injury risk and overtraining. About the Presenter: Tyler Nelson owns and operates a chiropractic sports medicine clinic and strength & conditioning business in Salt Lake City. While earning his doctoral degree, he completed a dual program masters degree in exercise science at the University Of Missouri. While in graduate school Tyler worked with the University of Missouri athletics department and currently is employed through two colleges in Utah where he teaches anatomy and physiology. He is certified as a strength & conditioning specialist through the NSCA and has been climbing for 17 years. He started climbing big walls in Zion and Yosemite and now has a focus on bouldering. His expertise in human physiology and a cutting-edge knowledge of strength and conditioning techniques will help us understand training for climbing in the 21st century.




Cultivating Climbing Progression in the Modern Gym (Are You Letting the Climbers Down?) | Kris Hampton, Power Company Climbing


Description: Training and progression are undeniably hot topics right now, at the same time as the industry and setting styles are rapidly changing. The conversation around these changes is often that it's moving away from "real climbing". We don't believe this has to be, or even necessarily is, true. In many cases, gyms find it nearly impossible to cater to new clientele as well as "core" climbers. In this session we'll explore what gyms can do to help the "core" continue progressing, as well as how they can help climbers understand how best to use the tools they have, while still moving forward into the modern gym era. About the Presenter: As a climber of 25 years, with ascents of 5.14 and V10, Kris has always been most interested in efficient movement and what factors allow for continued success. This led to founding Power Company Climbing, where Kris and his team have coached thousands of climbers to their goals. After starting the popular Power Company Podcast, Kris began talking with and coaching other coaches, and has found satisfaction in being able to reach even more climbers through these coaches.





PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

Advanced Wage and Hour Issues: How to Properly Classify Exempt Employees and Independent Contractors Under the FLSA | Jason Pill, Phelps Dunbar LLP


Description: Almost every climbing gym has the same core categories of employees: front desk staff, belay instructors/monitors, route setters, and managers. But, many gyms struggle to properly classify these workers for wage and hour purposes under the FLSA, and the consequences for misclassifying workers have never been more severe. Adding to the confusion, classification decisions are fact-insensitive and there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. This course will explore legal compliance issues under the FLSA for properly classifying workers as (1) independent contractors or employees and (2) exempt employees or non-exempt employees, which will equip gyms with the tools to audit their workforce and determine if their classifications are appropriate. The course also will address the legal risks for non-compliance, the rise of wage & hour class action lawsuits, and the litigation trends against employers. About the Presenter: Jason Pill is a longtime climber and an attorney with Phelps Dunbar, LLP in Tampa, Florida. He practices in the area of labor and employment and represents employers across the country regarding claims involving employment discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, family and medical leave laws, and various employment-related torts. Beyond litigation, Jason focuses his practice on counseling companies on workplace issues. Additionally, Jason managed a climbing gym before embarking on a legal career, and he currently serves as the Chairperson of USA Climbing's Risk Management Committee.




Risk Management: A Climber Focused Model | Laur Sabourin, The Warrior's Way


Description: Gyms struggle with creating a safe environment to minimize accidents and liability while allowing members to take risks. Instructors have a limited amount of time with members in formal gym instruction: an orientation session, basic belay and lead climbing lessons. Gym members take risk regardless of whether or not gyms want them to. Thus, gyms need to find ways to give members the tools so members can manage their risks. Attendees will learn how to manage risk and optimize member experience with tangible take-away tools to implement immediately into their gym systems. About the Presenter: Laur is the Climbing Director for The Warrior’s Way mental training program. Their work is focused around developing and teaching material that helps coaches and climbers of all abilities learn to take appropriate risks and deepen their relationship with the sport that they love. Laur has worked in many capacities in the climbing industry, including coaching youth teams, managing climbing gyms, and guiding. Outside of work, Laur loves pursuing personal climbing goals, especially steep desert splitters.




Building Your Risk Management Program | Robert Angell, Angell Law Offices, LLC


Description: If you are opening a climbing facility or thinking about opening one, risk management is an important issue. If you are an experienced operator, are you evaluating your program and keeping it up to date? Do you know what you need to know? In this session, CWA Director and recreation-industry attorney Robert Angell outlines the elements of a comprehensive risk-management program, including climbing and non-climbing related risks, regulatory issues, and business matters. You will leave with a checklist of the things you need to design your risk-management program or to keep your existing program healthy. About the Presenter: Robert Angell is an Ohio- and Colorado-licensed attorney concentrating in the areas of admisinstrative law, recreation, amusement, and entertainment law, and business formation. He served on the CWA Board of Directors from 2006 to 2013 and was reappointed to the Board in 2019. Bob has been instrumental in regulatory initiatives on behalf of CWA members across the U.S. since 2005. His clients include many gyms in Ohio and other states.




Risk Communication and Reducing Exposure to Lawsuits | Jon Heshka, Thompson Rivers University


Description: This presentation will pithily review principles of negligence and risk. The four stages of risk management (pre-incident, active management, crisis management, and post-incident) will be examined in detail. The presentation will focus on risk communication and how we wish to present climbing as a fun and safe activity while at the same time – as per the CWA Manual – saying it’s dangerous and that compliance with industry practices won’t guarantee that a climbing gym will be safe. We’ll look at how to communicate risk in our marketing, signage, orientation, instruction, waivers in such a way as to reduce the odds of a successful lawsuit. At the end of the session, participants will know:

  1. How negligence lawsuits are defended
  2. How to craft a risk communications strategy that properly warns climbers of the risks without scaring them off
  3. Some of the details and the do’s and don’ts of writing language for ads, signs and waivers
About the Presenter: Jon Heshka is a climber and former guide. He trained and coordinated search and rescue fulltime in British Columbia from 1992-99, worked with Denali Mountain Rescue, ran Petzl’s rescue and rope access division in Utah for 3 years, and has been a professor at Thompson Rivers University since 2002. He teaches in the Adventure Studies Department and the law school and has also served as Associate Dean of Law for 4 years (but don’t hold that against him). Jon consults with all levels of government and the private sector and has worked as an expert witness in Canada, the US and Europe. He’s written and presented extensively about adventure sport, risk and liability.





LUNCH N LEARN SESSIONS

Climb Card - Waiver Free Access to Multiple Gyms | Duncan Howard, The Castle Climbing Centre; Kath Hipwell, The Association of British Climbing Walls; Matthias Polig, Vertical-Life


Description: The Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) has launched its Climb Card product, opening up a relationship and revenue stream for the ABC direct with climbers for the first time. Subscription to the ClimbCard (£7.99 TBC) will give climbers the opportunity to take a one time rope/auto belay/bouldering competency test which is then held on the Climb Card app and means users don’t have to go through the test at each new centre they visit. As we all know, signing up at new centres can be quite a painful and time consuming process, so we are excited to soon have this scheme in place. For walls it means great time saving at busy receptions especially during peak amongst other benefits. Objectives:

  • Set out the principles behind the ABC’s Climb Card
  • Share the learning from having overcome the technical and practical obstacles involved in setting it up
About the Presenters: Duncan Howard is the CEO at High Performance Sports Ltd (HPS). They own the Castle Climbing Centre in London, the UK’s biggest and busiest. As well as a 20-year love affair with climbing, Duncan’s 25 years in the corporate world in London have given him a wealth of business and leadership skills and a fresh perspective to bring to the indoor climbing scene in the UK. Genuinely ethically driven, he’s also pushing HPS toward B-Corp accreditation. Kath Hipwell is the CEO of The Association of British Climbing Walls, whose objective is to promote the professionalism, health, and growth of indoor climbing. Kath has recently launched the ClimbCard, the ABC’s first direct to climber product. She is passionate about making everyone feel welcome in climbing and is working with climbing walls across the UK to use the Olympics to bring new and diverse audiences into our sport. Matthias Polig, CEO of Vertical-Life, is a national routesetter, guidebook author, and climbing event manager with a passion for climbing and technology. Matthias co-founded Vertical-Life with the vision of better connecting and uniting both local and global climbing communities. VL’s goal is to empower rock climbers to thrive, and to innovate the way professionals in our industry do their everyday jobs.




The Case for Standardized Setting | Paul Terbrueggen, Summit Climbing, Yoga & Fitness


Description: Identify the possibility and pursue the details in how to effectively standardize route setting difficulty systems, specifically color coding, in order to create opportunities for improved/universal customer experience, better economies of scale† leading to more efficient hold budgets and a more versatile hold “tool kit” for setters across the country. Involve gym owners, route setters, hold shapers and manufacturers to consider all sides of the case for change. Initial direction- standardize the industry, over a 3-5-year time frame, to a “hybrid-chromatic” system with standard colorways for difficulties. About the Presenter: Paul Terbrueggen is the current Chief Operating Officer for Summit Climbing, Yoga & Fitness’ eight locations in Texas and Oklahoma. He started climbing in April 2018 and fell in love, leaving a career in Operations with Amazon Fulfillment. In his eight years with Amazon, he specialized in inventory management, quality control, process improvement, and people leadership. Across multiple states, countries, and warehouses, he led teams of up to ~5,000 hourly and 125+ salaried leaders and led projects valued at $10M+. In his final months with Amazon, Paul traveled the country improving leadership and associate onboarding training, while also climbing at nearly 40 indoor facilities, gathering information on best practices and user experience.




Training and Movement | Taylor Reed, The Beta Angel Project


Description: In this session, a coach with 15 years of experience will describe the methods he employs with his most advanced athletes. Taylor will go over morphological distinctions that make climbers "fit" moves in better or worse ways, movement interventions that "shape" climbers toward bettering their overall fit, and how individuals vary in their efficiency approaches and energy system needs over the course of a route. He'll employ case studies, experimental research protocols, and practical, usable frameworks you can explore in your own coaching. About the Presenter: Taylor received his Masters (MA) in international affairs in 2010 and promptly went to Washington, DC to focus on security- and disaster-related policy. He contracted with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to build national- and organizational-level strategies and analyze thousands of policies. He began coaching in 2005 and balanced coaching with his analysis career all the way up until 2018, when he joined the climbing world full time.




The New Performance Enhancer on the Street: Integrating Breath Work into Programming, Coaching, and Health-Conscious Gym Culture | Michael Hooten & Gabor Boczonadi, BreathWorks


Description: Breath work is an emerging interest in fitness and lifestyle trends ranging from yoga studios to fitness facilities, and now just trickling into climbing programs. Amidst the growing popularity of breath work in health and performance circles, proper facilitation is critical to success when capturing an audience, promoting these adaptable techniques, and making them accessible to participants. Health-conscious lifestyle and culture in a gym expands community offerings and draws investment of routine practice and participation in fitness and climbing programs. Discover how breath facilitation is a simple addition to your mind-body-movement programming that can engage new as well as experienced climbers. Join us for a short experiential glimpse of some technique and brainstorming for programs!

About the Presenters: Michael Hooten is a casual climber and professional group facilitator of 10+ years who loves nature and geeks out about safety and technical skills. With a foundation in taoist meditation, he became a student of martial arts, yoga, and meditation 20 years ago. Continuing to expand the combo of breath and movement into multiple areas of athletics, Michael realized their universal application. Mental-behavioral health, physical wellness, and outdoor recreation are his focus areas.

Gabor Boczonadi is an advanced yoga teacher (RYT 500), L-2 challenge facilitator and the founder of breathlete.com. A yoga practitioner since 2012, Gabor considers it a lifestyle with strong, dedicated practice. He has taught breath work and yoga since 2016 to a wide audience including athletes, corporate teams, prison inmates and general public. A former professional athlete and coach with 25+ years of experience, Gabor intimately understands body-movement mechanics and breath affecting health, performance, and stress.





CONTACT US

720.838.8284

events@climbingwallindustry.org

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