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Pocatello Pump climbing competition/festival celebrating 31st year at Pocatello’s Ross Park Sept. 15-16

September 7, 2012
ISU Marketing and Communications

In its 31st year, the Idaho State University Pocatello Pump set Sept. 15 and 16 is the oldest rock climbing competition in the United States.

It takes place on the basalt cliffs of Pocatello's Ross Park, and runs from 7 a.m. to early afternoon Saturday, Sept. 15.

The Pump takes most of the afternoon off so participants can take advantage of the CW HOG Pig Out dinner adjacent to the climbing area. Climbing resumes Sunday, Sept. 16, at 8 a.m. The awards ceremony is at 4 p.m.

Early registration that included a T-shirt closed on Sept 8.  Registration is still open until Sept. 14 for $30, but without a T-shirt.  Those registering on-site pay $35.

To preregister, contact the ISU Outdoor Adventure Center, 282-3912, ISU Campus Box 8128, drop by the office in the Pond Student Union Building, or register online at

 “The emphasis of the Pocatello Pump is placed on the fun of climbing,” said Peter Joyce, Pump director and ISU outdoor recreation coordinator. "We play down the competitive aspect of the event, which I believe has led to the event's success."

While it has outgrown rather humble beginnings, the Pump has kept the family-type atmosphere for which it is noted.

The Pump has a variety of categories for both men and women, but it doesn’t group climbers in the typical elite, expert, advanced, and recreational rankings. The Pump's categories are mostly named after climbing areas.

The leading categories are Yosemite (California), City of Rocks (Idaho) and Shawangunks (New York). In leading categories, the climber risks a fall while climbing above pre-placed gear. The climber clips the rope into the gear while climbing past it.

The nonleading, or top rope, categories are Smith Rocks (Oregon), and Red Rocks (Nevada), Seneca Rocks (West Virginia), Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons (Utah) for children and Everest (Nepal) for the physically challenged. In top rope categories, the climber is attached to a rope that has been already secured at the top of the rock before the climb. Both types of climbing require a belayer to manage the other end of the rope to safe guard the climber. Climbers must provide their own belayer.

On both days, climbers are given a set amount of time in which to complete as many climbs as their arms will allow.

There will be sponsors’ booths on-site, including a shoe and harness demo.

The Pump is a fundraiser for the climbing community.





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