COMING SOON!

We're working hard to create a bigger and better CWA Summit in 2022! Details will be added as they're confirmed. Scroll down to view a sample of what we had in store in 2020.

 SAMPLE SESSIONS: 2020 CWA Summit

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EXPLORE THE 

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Click the session title to review details for each presentation that was slated to be offered at the 2020 CWA Summit.

LEADERSHIP

Developing Women in Routesetting | Foxman McCarthy-James, Brooklyn Boulders


Description: As the climbing industry expands and routesetting professionalizes, many gyms are seeking ways to address the lack of women on their routesetting crews. This session will examine some of the factors contributing to the shortage of women in routesetting, the impact of skewed gender ratios on gym communities, and some tools gyms can employ to attract and develop more female routesetters. About the Presenter: Foxman McCarthy-James is a routesetter with Brooklyn Boulders, and the founder and organizer of IMPACT Bouldering Competition, an all female-set competition open to competitors of all genders.




Deliberate Design | Aroldo Vitor Silva, Alma Climbing


Description: The question of 'is routesetting art? is it design?' is a conversation that is currently at the forefront of commercial routesetting. As important as this question has become, it is also important to dig further behind the layers of why this question is being asked to begin with. Deliberate Design doesn't aim to answer yes or no, it aims to ask why? By using a series of references from the world of art and design, we introduce this conversation by bringing new tools and ideas to the table. This is an opportunity to elevate the level of concepts and language we as routesetters use, with the goal of breaking from our subjective truths and working together toward objective ideals. By broadening our world, we can further progress the level inclusivity in our routesetting programs in an effort to prepare for an industry on the brink of expansion. This talk is intended for routesetters who want to explore the intersection of art, design, and routesetting. About the Presenter: Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil I have spent most of my life involved in art and athletics. Upon discovering climbing, I found myself curious and intrigued about routesetting very early on. Through that pursuit, routesetting became an ideal pairing of the two aspects of my life that have shaped me as a person and have now propelled me into the climbing gym industry.




Setting the Tone: Why Crew Culture Matters | Yusuf Daneshyar, Climb So iLL


Description: Routesetters are key players that design the climbing environment your members connect with. A properly curated environment motivates people to climb, train, and build connections with other members. Developing and maintaining your routesetting crew's culture provides routesetters with clear opportunities for professional growth, empowers them to shape your community's experience, and ultimately sets the tone for the climbing gym. This talk is for anyone who manages a setting crew and has the direct ability to shape and influence their gym's crew culture. About the Presenter: Yusuf Daneshyar is co-owner and operator of Climb So iLL. His career spans nearly a decade; in that time, Yusuf and his team have opened two commercial climbing facilities in the St. Louis area, founded a local climbing advocacy group (BETA FUND), and authored the guidebook for one of the Midwest region's most popular climbing destinations (Jackson Falls, Southern Illinois). Yusuf also maintains his position as an experienced routesetter and currently leads the company's routesetting operations.




Routesetting and Management Communication | Sarah Filler, The Spot & Kasia Pietras, MetroRock Climbing Centers


Description: This session will cover important topics that routesetting departments should be communicating to their management teams. The goal is to help open the communication between routesetters and upper management. We will discuss the reasoning behind why we (as a routesetting team) have specific requests and demonstrate approaches to highlight routesetting needs to management teams as something that will benefit their customers. This is after all, the product you're selling! About the Presenters: Sarah Filler has been setting for 12 years and is currently the Head Routesetter of The Spot gyms. Over the past few years she's spent time traveling to many climbing gyms setting both commercially and for competitions, as well as teaching gym-specific clinics with the Routesetting Institute. Kasia Pietras has been routesetting for the past 15 plus years. She is currently the Director of Routesetting at MetroRock Climbing Centers and manages 5 different facilities and over 25 employees. She has been climbing since 1998. Climbing has been part of her life and always will be. She always loves to share everything that she has learned over the years with other passionate climbing folks.




El Cap Routesetting: Q&A with the experts shaping the future of routesetting for the world's largest climbing gym operator | Moderator: Justen Sjong, El Cap


Description: The routesetting department at El Cap employs close to 100 routesetters in 16 gyms across the country. Their mission is to design a curated climbing experience rooted in empathy that meets the known and unknown needs of their community while fostering a routesetting culture of wellness, discovery, and the endless pursuit of mastery.​ The panel will answer crowd-sourced questions to provide insight into the current state of routesetting, and where it's going. This panel discussion will: - Explore the evolution of routesetting - Share pain points in aligning multiple brands under one operating style - Discuss El Cap's view of what the future holds for routesetting and the climbing industry About the Moderator: Justen Sjong has been working in the industry as a routesetter & climbing coach for 26 years. Our industry has taken tremendous strides to evolve the member experience and he participated in that learning process first hand. His experience comes from the evolution of being a 'trade' setter to becoming a Director of Setting for 16+ locations. About the Panelists: Ward Byrum is El Cap's Director of Routesetting for the East Region gyms. He has been a champion of the professionalization of routesetting for years. With a BFA in Design, Ward looks to the design world for ways to improve the routesetting product of El Cap. He believes empathy for the end user, defining style characteristics, and presentation of product are core to enhancing the climber experience. Brandon Conaway stepped into the industry as a routesetter nearly eight years ago at a small university climbing wall. He seems to have entered the profession when it was on the verge of a tipping point. Today, he is in a position to work with some of the most talented individuals in the industry. He currently oversees all routesetting operations for six facilities as El Cap Holdings' west region Director of Routesetting. Ryan Sewell got his start at Movement Boulder sweeping the floors when it was just a construction site as an eager 19-year-old, just looking to make it in the climbing mecca of Boulder. Growing up climbing in the great state of Texas, routesetting became Ryan’s hobby by age 14 and not long after, his career. As a USA Climbing Level 5 Routesetter, multiple time National Chief Routesetter, nine-time USA Climbing National Team member, 5.14d and V14 rock climber, and avid traveler, Ryan is dedicated to providing a high level climbing experience that is intentionally designed for the community. Outside of routesetting, Ryan is most likely found with his wife Jess and dog Maggie in one of two places —at the crag or engaged in a fierce game of fetch.





MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS

Fight Forward: A Sexual Assault Survivor's Fight for Change | Christa Melde, Arizona Women's Climbing Coalition


Description: In this session, attendees will learn from first-hand experience how sexual assault threatens the safe expansion of the sport of climbing. Attendees will learn the prevalence of the problem through both scientific studies and personal storytelling. It is the goal of this session to provide simple and effective tools and procedures for climbing organizations and climbing gyms to use to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault in their own climbing spaces. About the Presenter: Christa is a climber of over 10 years, an industry professional of over 7, and a passionate advocate for women's issues in the outdoors. As a survivor of sexual assault and co-founder of the Arizona Women's Climbing Coalition, Christa seeks to cultivate safer and more empowering spaces for present climbers and future generations to come.




Strategically Enabling New Demographics in the Climbing Industry | Jillian Yatsko, Mesa Rim Climbing Center


Description: As climbing becomes more of a mainstream sport, climbing gyms are looking for ways to get more people involved! From women's' only classes to adaptive climbing meetup groups we are slowly filling in the gaps for under-represented groups in climbing, but there is still a long way to go! Come learn what demographics are struggling with barriers of entry to climbing and what is being done around the world to help everyone send! We will be covering sustainable ways to get new communities involved in climbing from basic pricing structure to strategic NGO partnerships. About the Presenter: Jillian grew up as an athlete in the northeast pursuing everything from classical dance to downhill skiing to her ongoing passion of rock climbing. Jillian founded the first west coast adaptive climbing program at Mesa Rim in San Diego and began traveling the world promoting the importance of inclusion in sports. She has received multiple awards for her work in the global community including a Recognition of Service award from Rotary International. As the Founder and President of The Hazel Foundation for Athletics, you can often find her over-caffeinated in the climbing gym looking for ways to improve her world through sport and recreation.




Best Practices For Using The Latest Rock Gym Pro Features | Andy Laakmann, Rock Gym Pro


Description: In this session, Andy will give a demonstration of the latest Rock Gym Pro feature updates. Objectives of this presentation are to: - Ensure gym operators understand how to utilize the latest RGP features - Ensure gym operators are maximizing revenues at their facilities - Ensure gym operators are utilizing RGP best practices in order to be as efficient as possible in their operations Time will be provided at the end of the session for open Q&A. About the Presenter: Andy is the founder and lead developer of Rock Gym Pro with over 20+ years of software product development experience. Having launched RGP in 2008, he is intimately familiar with the multiple challenges climbing gyms face in their day to day operations.




Retirement and Bonus Plans for Employee and Owner Benefit | Jonathan Pearl, Perceptral Properties


Description: This presentation begins with an outline of the basic concepts available to business owners and gym management to provide tax-advantaged retirement benefits to employees and owners. We will move into more advanced concepts that go beyond the basics, including executive bonus plans, life insurance retirement plans (LIRPs), buy-sell agreements for partnerships, as well as employee stock option plans (ESOPs). Time will be allotted to answer questions and foster discussion regarding these concepts in greater detail as desired. About the Presenter: Jonathan received a PhD in Music & Cognitive Science in 2005. Subsequently, he founded and lead an R&D firm in Speech Synthesis. Previously, he had a landscaping business, performed and taught as an actor & singer across the US and Europe. He is a financial planner and advisor. He plans to open climbing gyms with his family, and wishes to share his investment, retirement, and insurance expertise with others who share his passion for climbing.




Gym Managers Roundtable


Description: To Be Announced If you would like to be considered as a potential moderator for this session, please contact Laura Allured at laura@climbingwallindustry.org for more information.





STARTUPS/BUSINESS FORMATION

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.





BUSINESS GROWTH & EXPANSION

Developing Women in Routesetting | Foxman McCarthy-James, Brooklyn Boulders


Description: As the climbing industry expands and routesetting professionalizes, many gyms are seeking ways to address the lack of women on their routesetting crews. This session will examine some of the factors contributing to the shortage of women in routesetting, the impact of skewed gender ratios on gym communities, and some tools gyms can employ to attract and develop more female routesetters. About the Presenter: Foxman McCarthy-James is a routesetter with Brooklyn Boulders, and the founder and organizer of IMPACT Bouldering Competition, an all female-set competition open to competitors of all genders.




Deliberate Design | Aroldo Vitor Silva, Alma Climbing


Description: The question of 'is routesetting art? is it design?' is a conversation that is currently at the forefront of commercial routesetting. As important as this question has become, it is also important to dig further behind the layers of why this question is being asked to begin with. Deliberate Design doesn't aim to answer yes or no, it aims to ask why? By using a series of references from the world of art and design, we introduce this conversation by bringing new tools and ideas to the table. This is an opportunity to elevate the level of concepts and language we as routesetters use, with the goal of breaking from our subjective truths and working together toward objective ideals. By broadening our world, we can further progress the level inclusivity in our routesetting programs in an effort to prepare for an industry on the brink of expansion. This talk is intended for routesetters who want to explore the intersection of art, design, and routesetting. About the Presenter: Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil I have spent most of my life involved in art and athletics. Upon discovering climbing, I found myself curious and intrigued about routesetting very early on. Through that pursuit, routesetting became an ideal pairing of the two aspects of my life that have shaped me as a person and have now propelled me into the climbing gym industry.




Setting the Tone: Why Crew Culture Matters | Yusuf Daneshyar, Climb So iLL


Description: Routesetters are key players that design the climbing environment your members connect with. A properly curated environment motivates people to climb, train, and build connections with other members. Developing and maintaining your routesetting crew's culture provides routesetters with clear opportunities for professional growth, empowers them to shape your community's experience, and ultimately sets the tone for the climbing gym. This talk is for anyone who manages a setting crew and has the direct ability to shape and influence their gym's crew culture. About the Presenter: Yusuf Daneshyar is co-owner and operator of Climb So iLL. His career spans nearly a decade; in that time, Yusuf and his team have opened two commercial climbing facilities in the St. Louis area, founded a local climbing advocacy group (BETA FUND), and authored the guidebook for one of the Midwest region's most popular climbing destinations (Jackson Falls, Southern Illinois). Yusuf also maintains his position as an experienced routesetter and currently leads the company's routesetting operations.




Routesetting and Management Communication | Sarah Filler, The Spot & Kasia Pietras, MetroRock Climbing Centers


Description: This session will cover important topics that routesetting departments should be communicating to their management teams. The goal is to help open the communication between routesetters and upper management. We will discuss the reasoning behind why we (as a routesetting team) have specific requests and demonstrate approaches to highlight routesetting needs to management teams as something that will benefit their customers. This is after all, the product you're selling! About the Presenters: Sarah Filler has been setting for 12 years and is currently the Head Routesetter of The Spot gyms. Over the past few years she's spent time traveling to many climbing gyms setting both commercially and for competitions, as well as teaching gym-specific clinics with the Routesetting Institute. Kasia Pietras has been routesetting for the past 15 plus years. She is currently the Director of Routesetting at MetroRock Climbing Centers and manages 5 different facilities and over 25 employees. She has been climbing since 1998. Climbing has been part of her life and always will be. She always loves to share everything that she has learned over the years with other passionate climbing folks.




El Cap Routesetting: Q&A with the experts shaping the future of routesetting for the world's largest climbing gym operator | Moderator: Justen Sjong, El Cap


Description: The routesetting department at El Cap employs close to 100 routesetters in 16 gyms across the country. Their mission is to design a curated climbing experience rooted in empathy that meets the known and unknown needs of their community while fostering a routesetting culture of wellness, discovery, and the endless pursuit of mastery.​ The panel will answer crowd-sourced questions to provide insight into the current state of routesetting, and where it's going. This panel discussion will: - Explore the evolution of routesetting - Share pain points in aligning multiple brands under one operating style - Discuss El Cap's view of what the future holds for routesetting and the climbing industry About the Moderator: Justen Sjong has been working in the industry as a routesetter & climbing coach for 26 years. Our industry has taken tremendous strides to evolve the member experience and he participated in that learning process first hand. His experience comes from the evolution of being a 'trade' setter to becoming a Director of Setting for 16+ locations. About the Panelists: Ward Byrum is El Cap's Director of Routesetting for the East Region gyms. He has been a champion of the professionalization of routesetting for years. With a BFA in Design, Ward looks to the design world for ways to improve the routesetting product of El Cap. He believes empathy for the end user, defining style characteristics, and presentation of product are core to enhancing the climber experience. Brandon Conaway stepped into the industry as a routesetter nearly eight years ago at a small university climbing wall. He seems to have entered the profession when it was on the verge of a tipping point. Today, he is in a position to work with some of the most talented individuals in the industry. He currently oversees all routesetting operations for six facilities as El Cap Holdings' west region Director of Routesetting. Ryan Sewell got his start at Movement Boulder sweeping the floors when it was just a construction site as an eager 19-year-old, just looking to make it in the climbing mecca of Boulder. Growing up climbing in the great state of Texas, routesetting became Ryan’s hobby by age 14 and not long after, his career. As a USA Climbing Level 5 Routesetter, multiple time National Chief Routesetter, nine-time USA Climbing National Team member, 5.14d and V14 rock climber, and avid traveler, Ryan is dedicated to providing a high level climbing experience that is intentionally designed for the community. Outside of routesetting, Ryan is most likely found with his wife Jess and dog Maggie in one of two places —at the crag or engaged in a fierce game of fetch.





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

Developing Women in Routesetting | Foxman McCarthy-James, Brooklyn Boulders


Description: As the climbing industry expands and routesetting professionalizes, many gyms are seeking ways to address the lack of women on their routesetting crews. This session will examine some of the factors contributing to the shortage of women in routesetting, the impact of skewed gender ratios on gym communities, and some tools gyms can employ to attract and develop more female routesetters. About the Presenter: Foxman McCarthy-James is a routesetter with Brooklyn Boulders, and the founder and organizer of IMPACT Bouldering Competition, an all female-set competition open to competitors of all genders.




Deliberate Design | Aroldo Vitor Silva, Alma Climbing


Description: The question of 'is routesetting art? is it design?' is a conversation that is currently at the forefront of commercial routesetting. As important as this question has become, it is also important to dig further behind the layers of why this question is being asked to begin with. Deliberate Design doesn't aim to answer yes or no, it aims to ask why? By using a series of references from the world of art and design, we introduce this conversation by bringing new tools and ideas to the table. This is an opportunity to elevate the level of concepts and language we as routesetters use, with the goal of breaking from our subjective truths and working together toward objective ideals. By broadening our world, we can further progress the level inclusivity in our routesetting programs in an effort to prepare for an industry on the brink of expansion. This talk is intended for routesetters who want to explore the intersection of art, design, and routesetting. About the Presenter: Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil I have spent most of my life involved in art and athletics. Upon discovering climbing, I found myself curious and intrigued about routesetting very early on. Through that pursuit, routesetting became an ideal pairing of the two aspects of my life that have shaped me as a person and have now propelled me into the climbing gym industry.




Setting the Tone: Why Crew Culture Matters | Yusuf Daneshyar, Climb So iLL


Description: Routesetters are key players that design the climbing environment your members connect with. A properly curated environment motivates people to climb, train, and build connections with other members. Developing and maintaining your routesetting crew's culture provides routesetters with clear opportunities for professional growth, empowers them to shape your community's experience, and ultimately sets the tone for the climbing gym. This talk is for anyone who manages a setting crew and has the direct ability to shape and influence their gym's crew culture. About the Presenter: Yusuf Daneshyar is co-owner and operator of Climb So iLL. His career spans nearly a decade; in that time, Yusuf and his team have opened two commercial climbing facilities in the St. Louis area, founded a local climbing advocacy group (BETA FUND), and authored the guidebook for one of the Midwest region's most popular climbing destinations (Jackson Falls, Southern Illinois). Yusuf also maintains his position as an experienced routesetter and currently leads the company's routesetting operations.




Routesetting and Management Communication | Sarah Filler, The Spot & Kasia Pietras, MetroRock Climbing Centers


Description: This session will cover important topics that routesetting departments should be communicating to their management teams. The goal is to help open the communication between routesetters and upper management. We will discuss the reasoning behind why we (as a routesetting team) have specific requests and demonstrate approaches to highlight routesetting needs to management teams as something that will benefit their customers. This is after all, the product you're selling! About the Presenters: Sarah Filler has been setting for 12 years and is currently the Head Routesetter of The Spot gyms. Over the past few years she's spent time traveling to many climbing gyms setting both commercially and for competitions, as well as teaching gym-specific clinics with the Routesetting Institute. Kasia Pietras has been routesetting for the past 15 plus years. She is currently the Director of Routesetting at MetroRock Climbing Centers and manages 5 different facilities and over 25 employees. She has been climbing since 1998. Climbing has been part of her life and always will be. She always loves to share everything that she has learned over the years with other passionate climbing folks.




El Cap Routesetting: Q&A with the experts shaping the future of routesetting for the world's largest climbing gym operator | Moderator: Justen Sjong, El Cap


Description: The routesetting department at El Cap employs close to 100 routesetters in 16 gyms across the country. Their mission is to design a curated climbing experience rooted in empathy that meets the known and unknown needs of their community while fostering a routesetting culture of wellness, discovery, and the endless pursuit of mastery.​ The panel will answer crowd-sourced questions to provide insight into the current state of routesetting, and where it's going. This panel discussion will: - Explore the evolution of routesetting - Share pain points in aligning multiple brands under one operating style - Discuss El Cap's view of what the future holds for routesetting and the climbing industry About the Moderator: Justen Sjong has been working in the industry as a routesetter & climbing coach for 26 years. Our industry has taken tremendous strides to evolve the member experience and he participated in that learning process first hand. His experience comes from the evolution of being a 'trade' setter to becoming a Director of Setting for 16+ locations. About the Panelists: Ward Byrum is El Cap's Director of Routesetting for the East Region gyms. He has been a champion of the professionalization of routesetting for years. With a BFA in Design, Ward looks to the design world for ways to improve the routesetting product of El Cap. He believes empathy for the end user, defining style characteristics, and presentation of product are core to enhancing the climber experience. Brandon Conaway stepped into the industry as a routesetter nearly eight years ago at a small university climbing wall. He seems to have entered the profession when it was on the verge of a tipping point. Today, he is in a position to work with some of the most talented individuals in the industry. He currently oversees all routesetting operations for six facilities as El Cap Holdings' west region Director of Routesetting. Ryan Sewell got his start at Movement Boulder sweeping the floors when it was just a construction site as an eager 19-year-old, just looking to make it in the climbing mecca of Boulder. Growing up climbing in the great state of Texas, routesetting became Ryan’s hobby by age 14 and not long after, his career. As a USA Climbing Level 5 Routesetter, multiple time National Chief Routesetter, nine-time USA Climbing National Team member, 5.14d and V14 rock climber, and avid traveler, Ryan is dedicated to providing a high level climbing experience that is intentionally designed for the community. Outside of routesetting, Ryan is most likely found with his wife Jess and dog Maggie in one of two places —at the crag or engaged in a fierce game of fetch.





PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

Creative Climbing Activities | Pat Brehm & Bix Firer, The Headwall Group


Description: In this session participants will learn new climbing activities that train participants in technical climbing skills and social skills by participating in them as they are led by experienced facilitators. All the activities in the session can be used to bring new life to participants' youth or adult programs. The activities will also act as a model for participant's to invent their own creative activities for their programs. This session will be hands on, engaging and fun for everyone who joins. About the Presenters: Patrick Brehm (BA Marquette University) has worked in several capacities of youth advocacy, developing and delivering curriculum based in social-emotional learning, experiential education, and special education. He has passionately brought high-level, energetic facilitation and training to diverse communities of youth and adults in Milwaukee and Denver through various non-profits, schools, and community-oriented businesses. As a dedicated rock climbing instructor, Pat is passionate about sharing a unique perspective, encouraging groups and individuals to use rock climbing and other adventures to find connection and balance within oneself, community, and natural environment. When Pat is not teaching, you can find him climbing. Bix Firer (MA University of Chicago, BA University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) has worked in experiential and adventure education with national non-profits and school districts in Chicago, Milwaukee, Colorado, and Alaska since 2007. . Bix is currently the Director of Outdoor Programs at the College of Idaho and consults with youth serving programs and climbing gyms with The Headwall Group. His passion is facilitating challenging and fun experiences that help the next generation of facilitators approach themselves and each other with excitement, empathy, and a sense of adventure. While not working, Bix can be found exploring the rivers and mountains of Idaho by his own power.




Enhancing Your One on One Coaching Program | Brian Soileau, New Orleans Boulder Lounge


Description: Learn how to enhance your one on one coaching and training sales through stronger relationships between your trainers, management staff, and members. Make sure your trainers are approachable, your personal coaching programs are sellable and interesting, and find ways to link your trainers and members in meaningful ways.​ About the Presenter: Brian was employed in the traditional fitness industry in multiple roles including sports & wellness director and assistant executive director, supervising fitness, youth sports, aquatics, database management, membership and marketing for 12 years. Brian also worked for as a fitness business consultant with JCC Association of North America for four years, serving as the sports & wellness and membership consultant. He provided staff training in sales, program development, customer service, data and database management, and member engagement. He is currently the Director of Operations for the New Orleans Boulder Lounge.




Event Sponsorship: From Strategy to Procurement to Delivery, How to Create Sustainable Partnerships | Chloe Mandell, Mandell Experiences LLC


Description: This session is a must for any manager or staff involved in events at your gym. Let’s face it, events cost money and sometimes it’s too much for your gym to foot the whole bill. Or maybe you’re just looking for some raffle prizes or ways to engage with the brands in your pro shop. Whatever the case may be, this session will give you all the tools you’ll need to approach sponsorship and sponsors with confidence. Chloe Mandell will cover everything from sponsorship strategy (including 5 simple questions to ask at the beginning of any event, and what sponsorship is like from the sponsor’s point of view), the 4 Steps to getting sponsors, and how to deliver on your sponsorship like a champ so they keep coming back. Join for a session packed with information that will serve you even outside of the context of events, and bring your questions for a robust Q&A session at the end. This session will:

  1. Inform how to approach event sponsorship strategically – 5 simple questions to ask yourself at the beginning of any event
  2. Inform how to conduct sponsorship “sales” – 4 steps to getting sponsors
  3. Inform how to properly deliver on a sponsorship
  4. Inform overall how to create and maintain sustainable event partnerships
About the Presenter: Chloe Mandell brings a unique understanding of sponsorship from every angle, having served Xbox and Cisco Systems at the X Games and Olympic Games, respectively, as well as procuring sponsorship for climbing and non-endemic events. Chloe got her start as Marketing Manager at The Circuit Bouldering Gym in 2005. In 2015 she founded her own events company, Mandell Experiences LLC, and ran Psicobloc. Since then she has supported such events as the Portland Boulder Rally (The Circuit), The Hang (Earth Treks), Woman Up (Touchstone), ProLo (Momentum), TriState Bouldering Series (The Cliffs), Inside Out Challenge (Access Fund), and founded Comp Calendar.




Developing the Whole Person: Coach & Inter-Athlete Mentorship | Jessica Haynes, Hoosier Heights


Description: Coaching youth athletes is both a particularly complex and particularly important skill. It requires trainers to not only focus on developing strong athletes, but healthy, confident ones, and ones capable of independence, goal-setting, leadership, responsible decision-making, self-reflection, emotional regulation, mental fortitude, and more. The development of the whole person, rather than just the athlete, requires coaches to have a skillset beyond knowledge of training protocols, and this discussion will not only present those challenges but will present realistic, practical approaches to instilling service-mindedness and leadership skills in youth athletes and developing close, positive bonds between teammates and competitors that will last a lifetime. Objectives:

  • Emphasize to coaches the importance of our role as mentors and developers of future community leaders, and the importance of instilling within our athletes a service-minded attitude toward their fellow teammates, competitors, and the community as a whole
  • Provide coaches with practical tools for instilling service-mindedness and leadership skills in youth athletes and developing close, positive bonds between teammates and competitors
  • Describe an exceptional and unique aspect of our program that has become the foundation of our Team culture and how we have utilized our inter-athlete mentorship program to help develop a service-minded attitude and leadership skills among our athletes
About the Presenter: Jessi Haynes is the Head Coach of Team Hoosier Heights. Jessi holds a Master's degree in Foreign Policy from American University in Washington, DC and a Bachelor's degree in Chinese & Political Science from Indiana University. She spent several years in the corporate world before leaving to pursue a career coaching rock climbing in 2015. Jessi believes in following your heart and intuition in everything that you do and wants her impact on the climbing community to be more than making strong climbers - she wants to help instill confidence, independence, and positive decision-making abilities in all youth athletes so they can pursue whatever brings them true joy and fulfillment in life. She believes children have a greater capacity for independent thought and understanding than they are often given credit for and approaches her coaching from that perspective.





LUNCH N LEARN SESSIONS

Creative Climbing Activities | Pat Brehm & Bix Firer, The Headwall Group


Description: In this session participants will learn new climbing activities that train participants in technical climbing skills and social skills by participating in them as they are led by experienced facilitators. All the activities in the session can be used to bring new life to participants' youth or adult programs. The activities will also act as a model for participant's to invent their own creative activities for their programs. This session will be hands on, engaging and fun for everyone who joins. About the Presenters: Patrick Brehm (BA Marquette University) has worked in several capacities of youth advocacy, developing and delivering curriculum based in social-emotional learning, experiential education, and special education. He has passionately brought high-level, energetic facilitation and training to diverse communities of youth and adults in Milwaukee and Denver through various non-profits, schools, and community-oriented businesses. As a dedicated rock climbing instructor, Pat is passionate about sharing a unique perspective, encouraging groups and individuals to use rock climbing and other adventures to find connection and balance within oneself, community, and natural environment. When Pat is not teaching, you can find him climbing. Bix Firer (MA University of Chicago, BA University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) has worked in experiential and adventure education with national non-profits and school districts in Chicago, Milwaukee, Colorado, and Alaska since 2007. . Bix is currently the Director of Outdoor Programs at the College of Idaho and consults with youth serving programs and climbing gyms with The Headwall Group. His passion is facilitating challenging and fun experiences that help the next generation of facilitators approach themselves and each other with excitement, empathy, and a sense of adventure. While not working, Bix can be found exploring the rivers and mountains of Idaho by his own power.




Enhancing Your One on One Coaching Program | Brian Soileau, New Orleans Boulder Lounge


Description: Learn how to enhance your one on one coaching and training sales through stronger relationships between your trainers, management staff, and members. Make sure your trainers are approachable, your personal coaching programs are sellable and interesting, and find ways to link your trainers and members in meaningful ways.​ About the Presenter: Brian was employed in the traditional fitness industry in multiple roles including sports & wellness director and assistant executive director, supervising fitness, youth sports, aquatics, database management, membership and marketing for 12 years. Brian also worked for as a fitness business consultant with JCC Association of North America for four years, serving as the sports & wellness and membership consultant. He provided staff training in sales, program development, customer service, data and database management, and member engagement. He is currently the Director of Operations for the New Orleans Boulder Lounge.




Event Sponsorship: From Strategy to Procurement to Delivery, How to Create Sustainable Partnerships | Chloe Mandell, Mandell Experiences LLC


Description: This session is a must for any manager or staff involved in events at your gym. Let’s face it, events cost money and sometimes it’s too much for your gym to foot the whole bill. Or maybe you’re just looking for some raffle prizes or ways to engage with the brands in your pro shop. Whatever the case may be, this session will give you all the tools you’ll need to approach sponsorship and sponsors with confidence. Chloe Mandell will cover everything from sponsorship strategy (including 5 simple questions to ask at the beginning of any event, and what sponsorship is like from the sponsor’s point of view), the 4 Steps to getting sponsors, and how to deliver on your sponsorship like a champ so they keep coming back. Join for a session packed with information that will serve you even outside of the context of events, and bring your questions for a robust Q&A session at the end. This session will:

  1. Inform how to approach event sponsorship strategically – 5 simple questions to ask yourself at the beginning of any event
  2. Inform how to conduct sponsorship “sales” – 4 steps to getting sponsors
  3. Inform how to properly deliver on a sponsorship
  4. Inform overall how to create and maintain sustainable event partnerships
About the Presenter: Chloe Mandell brings a unique understanding of sponsorship from every angle, having served Xbox and Cisco Systems at the X Games and Olympic Games, respectively, as well as procuring sponsorship for climbing and non-endemic events. Chloe got her start as Marketing Manager at The Circuit Bouldering Gym in 2005. In 2015 she founded her own events company, Mandell Experiences LLC, and ran Psicobloc. Since then she has supported such events as the Portland Boulder Rally (The Circuit), The Hang (Earth Treks), Woman Up (Touchstone), ProLo (Momentum), TriState Bouldering Series (The Cliffs), Inside Out Challenge (Access Fund), and founded Comp Calendar.




Developing the Whole Person: Coach & Inter-Athlete Mentorship | Jessica Haynes, Hoosier Heights


Description: Coaching youth athletes is both a particularly complex and particularly important skill. It requires trainers to not only focus on developing strong athletes, but healthy, confident ones, and ones capable of independence, goal-setting, leadership, responsible decision-making, self-reflection, emotional regulation, mental fortitude, and more. The development of the whole person, rather than just the athlete, requires coaches to have a skillset beyond knowledge of training protocols, and this discussion will not only present those challenges but will present realistic, practical approaches to instilling service-mindedness and leadership skills in youth athletes and developing close, positive bonds between teammates and competitors that will last a lifetime. Objectives:

  • Emphasize to coaches the importance of our role as mentors and developers of future community leaders, and the importance of instilling within our athletes a service-minded attitude toward their fellow teammates, competitors, and the community as a whole
  • Provide coaches with practical tools for instilling service-mindedness and leadership skills in youth athletes and developing close, positive bonds between teammates and competitors
  • Describe an exceptional and unique aspect of our program that has become the foundation of our Team culture and how we have utilized our inter-athlete mentorship program to help develop a service-minded attitude and leadership skills among our athletes
About the Presenter: Jessi Haynes is the Head Coach of Team Hoosier Heights. Jessi holds a Master's degree in Foreign Policy from American University in Washington, DC and a Bachelor's degree in Chinese & Political Science from Indiana University. She spent several years in the corporate world before leaving to pursue a career coaching rock climbing in 2015. Jessi believes in following your heart and intuition in everything that you do and wants her impact on the climbing community to be more than making strong climbers - she wants to help instill confidence, independence, and positive decision-making abilities in all youth athletes so they can pursue whatever brings them true joy and fulfillment in life. She believes children have a greater capacity for independent thought and understanding than they are often given credit for and approaches her coaching from that perspective.