Hayley Prine on the history of the Ogden Climbing Festival
+ the 15th annual event
By Mekenna Malan | March 31st, 2022
"Our goal is to bring people together," says Hayley Prine, a coordinator of the Weber State University Outdoor Program and leader of the festival alongside Amy Knight and Daniel Turner. "We want it to be a place where climbers and non-climbers alike can join together and be a part of the Ogden community at large."
Check out our interview with Hayley—and learn how you can be a part of this year's Ogden Climbing Festival—below.
Hello, Hayley! Let's start from the beginning. What's the history of the Ogden Climbing Festival?
This festival really got its start decades ago. Greg and Jeff Lowe—iconic mountaineers, rock climbers, and ice climbers—are from Ogden. Jeff Lowe had run something called the Ogden Climbing Festival decades ago. It was really just a way to get the community together. A lot of things were climbing-related, but also just community-centric.
That festival went away for a long time until Jeff connected with Daniel Turner—he's the associate director of campus recreation here at WSU, and his purview is primarily the Outdoor Program. Daniel connected with Jeff about 15 years ago and brought the festival back. We've been running the Ogden Climbing Festival as it stands for 15 years, but it's really dug into Ogden's history a little deeper than that, going back to when Jeff Lowe ran it decades ago.
How is this year's festival different?
That's a big question—everything has been changing for everyone throughout the pandemic. The local pandemic shutdowns started in March of 2020, and we were set to run in April 2020. We typically host the festival in April of each year, but between local health regulations and Weber State's guidance, we weren't able to run an April festival in 2020 or 2021.
So last season, we decided, hey, we just want to we want a gathering to happen again—and it doesn't have to look exactly like it always has. We ran a small-scale version of the festival this past fall in October 2021, just a two-day event. We wanted to get the climbing community back together and get it back on track. Now, just a few months later, we're rolling it out again with the classic three-day festival format.
Why should everyone be excited to attend?
Our goal isn't necessarily to draw huge numbers of people, it's to have a space for community members and climbers alike to gather and have a good time. The big components this year are the climbing competition, clinics, and we're pretty stoked to bring the Reel Rock Film Festival here this year—Reel Rock 16. This is something that folks in the climbing community typically look forward to each year, and we wanted to do it together.
We're also excited to host this film at the Union Station this year bring that element into the festival, and give people something to celebrate—enjoy springtime and Ogden's community at large. Hopefully climbers will meet each other and really celebrate the history of Ogden's climbing community.
Why is Ogden the place for you?
I grew up in the Midwest and knew at a pretty young age that once I finished college, I really wanted to move west and be in the mountains. I really love Utah—it's one of my favorite places to recreate. What drew me here was actually Weber State University's Outdoor Program and what they're doing—what we're doing—to support local recreationalists and primarily students. Being a part of the outdoor program has been incredible. To be able to provide opportunities for students of all ability levels and experience levels to be outside and appreciate and recreate in the outdoors is what I'm here for.