Posted by: Shauna Farnell
For decades, Larry Moore has cultivated the local climbing community and led the volunteer team at Mountain Games bouldering events
Climbing has been a centerpiece of the GoPro Mountain Games for a couple of decades, but the buzz and sea of action wouldn’t have grown or perhaps wouldn’t have even started if it weren’t for Larry Moore.
Since moving to the Vail Valley 21 years ago and setting routes for the Mountain Games’ first citizens bouldering competition, Moore has become the backbone of the local climbing community as well as the guy who pulls most of the strings around the wall at Mountain Games climbing events. He operated the indoor climbing program at Vail Athletic Club for many years and in 2018, opened Eagle Climbing & Fitness, a state-of-the-art facility that welcomes and cultivates climbers of every level.
When Vail hosted America’s only stop for World Cup bouldering, Larry Moore and his wife, Courtney, ran the entire throng of volunteers, overseeing every component of the competitions.
“For the 12 years that World Cup was part of the Mountain Games, we gathered up 125 people to volunteer, doing everything from the kids competition, running athletes around, setting up the isolation area, the climbing venue, organizing brushers and basically everyone that makes the event run beyond the route setters and building the wall,” Moore says. “It was an incredible event and an honor to have America’s only World Cup climbing event in Vail. It was a lot of work, but everybody who volunteered for the two days got to sit up front and watch the final. It was a dream space for the kids to see World Cup athletes up close and personal. It was an amazing event to be a part of.”
Moore has fostered a love for climbing among hundreds of local children over the years, coaching at every level, including a handful of athletes that now compete internationally and will likely make it to the Paris 2024 Olympics.
While the World Cup is not happening at the Mountain Games for summer 2022, Vail will host the Celsius Citizens Climbing Competitions as well as GoPro Youth Climbing, featuring many of Moore’s young protégés. The marquee event will be the North American Cup Series, showcasing a broad gamut of climbing talent, including potential stars coming out of the woodwork.
“It’s intended to harvest the talent that’s out there that might not be recognized,” Moore says of the North American Cup. “This is the way for adults to hit the stage and make a name for themselves. It’s interesting that not everybody who is the best in the world actually competes. “Since climbing has made it to the Olympics, [USA Climbing] is trying to find other ways to find talent,” Moore continues. “The North America Cup is a step below the World Cup, but it was born out of the desire to feed more talent onto the track for the Olympic team. That’s kind of the idea … who’s out there that we don’t know about? Who are the dark horses?”
Since climbing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo last summer, interest in the sport has soared. In addition to operating their climbing facility, coaching youth and recently launching an adult bouldering league, the Moores have also been instrumental in developing local outdoor climbing venues and ensuring that they are cared for and protected. They support the Access Fund and the newly created Eagle County Climbing Coalition, both of which exist to in part educate individuals in the sport about sustainable climbing and environmental stewardship.
“The exposure to come about from the Olympics, there’s certainly a surge in climbing and it’s becoming more mainstream. We’re seeing some strain on the outdoor venues because not everybody that comes from the climbing gym respects the land they’re using,” Moore says. “The Access Fund was developed to help preserve and protect climbing areas. It’s not just our climbing space, it’s Native American tribal space and sensitive land. We’re just trying to be responsible stewards of the sport, but not loving our land to death. Tim Nottingham started the Eagle County Climbing Coalition and just got nonprofit status. We’re trying to gather members right now to approach land managers to gain access to climbing areas. We’ve been working on some progress at Lime Creek. It’s a high alpine area in the main canyon and we get lots of traffic from the Front Range. To preserve that space and others like it, we want to represent the community through this organization.”
The Moores will once again head up the volunteers at the Mountain Games climbing competitions as well as offer a portable climbing wall to introduce newcomers to the sport.
“It’s going to be a great event,” Moore says. “We’ll have at least a dozen kids competing. We’ll have our portable wall for anyone to jump on and see what climbing is all about.”
Share this Story: