24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell Recap

Bearded Brothers recently was asked to be a sponsor of 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. For me (Caleb) this was a huge honor, as this is one of the most popular climbing competitions around. Being a climber myself I have always wanted to enter the competition, but it has never landed on a weekend that worked for my schedule; usually I was there climbing with friends the weekend before, so two trips in a row to Arkansas was not realistic for me. Although I was not competing this year, we had a great time passing out samples of our tasty organic energy bars to hungry climbers, volunteers and spectators. We handed out over 1,400 bite sized samples. We run out of samples hours before the competition was even over.  Bearded Brothers was present among other big named sponsors, such as: Patagonia, Backwoods, Tall Grass Brewing Company, Petzl, and many more.

The competition gets it’s name because it’s hosted at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, in Arkansas, just south of the Buffalo National River. Climbers compete as a team, but are also scored individually. Each route the climber completes earns them points. Points are determined based on the difficulty of the route. So, a climber that completes more easy routes than a climber finishing fewer harder routes could potentially still win. The competition was kicked off at 10 a.m. at the sound of a shotgun after completing the “climbers creed”, that has new additions to it every year.  Climbers can climb any route on the Ranch, but have to be finished by 10 a.m. the next morning with their score cards turned in.  Some climbers choose to climb the full 24 hours. Others sleep for a few hours then wake up to complete more climbs.

The competition was full of energy. Several pairs were dressed up in costumes ranging from warrior princess’, to 80’s spandex with heads shaved to look balding. Awards were also given for best costume. The competition really came to life at night fall. Most climbers flock to the west side of the ranch and share lights to make night climbing easier. All climbers were equipped with head lamps, and several carried portable lights with small generators to light up the wall.   Every hour climbers would participate in the “hourly yell”. Yells could be heard all across the canyon. After the competition was over climbers spend the day resting before the evening pasta dinner and awards ceremony. Hundreds of climbers packed into a large barn that felt tiny once filled with stinky sweaty bodies. Lots of free gear was passed out and awards were given to the best overall climbers as well as best teams.

After the awards were handed out climbers flocked to the dining hall for a free pasta dinner and free beer from Tall Grass Brewing Company. Bearded Brothers was also on site selling bars at a discounted price. It was loads of fun talking to people and making new friends. After the dinner climbers congregated back in the barn for a slide show reflecting on the past six years of the competition. It was cool to see how the event started off with around 30 climbers and grew to 250, plus volunteers. It’s a true testimony to the quality of this event. Andy Chasteen, the organizer puts in blood sweat and tears to make it all happen every year. The event was concluded with an after party that was kicked off with an arm wrestling competition, which even pitted girls against guys. We didn’t stick around to find out who won since we had to be back on the road early the next morning, but we later heard the party went well into the morning. A good number of people even participated in a night-time session of the ropes challenge course the Ranch offers to its guests. The event was an amazing experience and we look forward to returning again next year. There might even be a Bearded Brothers team in the competition. Visit the Bearded Brothers Facebook page for more photos of this event!

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