Oklahoma Boulderfest History

The Oklahoma Boulderfest was the first ever outdoor bouldering festival of its kind in Oklahoma. It first occurred on October 22, 2005 at Chandler Park in Tulsa, OK. There was an outdoor bouldering competition, live music, food, beer, slacklining, a dyno competition, camping and more.

Press Release Article

On Saturday, October 22, 2005, climbers from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Colorado, and even as far away as New Jersey, arrived on a cool morning at Chandler Park for the Oklahoma Boulderfest. After a brief orientation on the day’s activities and schedule climbers set off to explore the maze of limestone corridors filled with boulder problems ranging in difficulty from 5.6 to V10. The open-format design allowed climbers to attempt as many problems as they wanted without penalty for number of attempts.  For many this was their first experience climbing at Chandler Park and the sometimes slick yet always technical nature of the rock left them pleasantly surprised.

Advanced climber Zach West from Tulsa took first place in Men’s Advanced and Courtney Gilman won first place in Women’s Advanced. Prizes also went to the two climbers, male and female, who completed the most number of climbs during the competition. Courtney Gilman and Adam Gibson accepted these awards and were dubbed the “Limestone Cowgirl” and “Limestone Cowboy,” of the competition. First place in the Intermediate categories went to Vince Grimes and Cally Frisbie. First place in the Novice categories went to Jess Stubblefield and Kevin Johnson. In the Juniors category Barrett Bodnar took first.

The dyno competition was a crowd favorite as climbers competed in an elimination-style competition on a number of dynos designated on the natural limestone walls. The third dyno, located on Cub Scout wall on the Liberty Bell route, was the centerpiece and sent climbers flying through the air to latch a jug 15 feet off the deck. Sean Dossett of Norman, OK. took first place in the dyno competition with Josh Downs of Tulsa a close runner-up.

After the climbing came a one-of-a-kind slackline course which linked a series of seven slacklines between trees. The most difficult part of the course was a step-across transition between lines five and six; two parallel lines spaced 4 feet apart. While many slackers made it as far as the fourth line, only one competitor, Adam Thomason, completed the entire course. He took home a new slackline graciously donated by Slackline Express.

In the evening climbers dined on Domino’s pizza, relaxed and watched a slideshow presented by brothers Adam and Aaron Gibson. DJ Nutter accompanied the slideshow and spun records into the night. After a cold windy night of camping, climbers awoke to fresh coffee from Double Shot, donuts from Daylight Donuts and muffins from Blue Moon Bakery.

The Oklahoma Boulderfest was organized by Nic Heidinger and Aaron Gibson in cooperation with the Chandler Park. The event was used to promote and benefit the Chandler Park Climbers Coalition, a newly formed local climbers organization affiliated with the Access Fund dedicated to preserving and protecting climbing.

Yes it is true that some of the holds at Chandler Park are slick as marble. It’s not unusual for your fingers to squeak on some of the more popular edges. And yes it is also true that you will find broken glass, graffiti, beer cans, and various other items that normally belong in a garbage can scattered through what’s left of the underbrush. And it’s not uncommon to see unsupervised kids in oversized basketball shoes sketching up walls of loose rock. But all of that is just part of the experience. Bear-down on those slick edges, ignore the garbage, turn a blind eye to the soon-to-be-injured kids and focus on the climbing. Chandler Park is an urban park but don’t let that deter you from the stacks of boulder problems hidden among the maze of limestone walls. Nearly everything can be (and quite possibly has been) climbed here. What could be more convenient than pulling up to a parking area that is mere feet from the climbing? Unload a pad, your shoes, a chalk-bucket – leave your lunch in the car for later – and go climb.

While Chandler has it’s fair share of sick-hard eliminate problems and death-defying highballs, it’s main claim-to-fame is its traverses. It hosts one of the longest traverses in the land: the Autobahn. The Autobahn is about 650 feet long and the hardest section checks in at V6. You better start early, reportedly, the first traverse of this beast took over 6 hours! So if the technicalness of the climb doesn’t get you, the endurance surely will.

Other great traverses include the Waltz Traverse (V3), Wisconsin Rapids (V5) , Huey Couldn’t Make It (V3), the Forearm Frenzy (V2), and Sanctuary (V4). Aside from these are a number of unnamed traverses and variations that could keep one busy for months.

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