THE ANNUAL Rifle Mountain Park clean-up takes place on Saturday, August 27. The clean-up is always a good time, and each year our tight community of devoted climbers comes together to help make the climbing experience in Rifle even better. In the past, we have built bridges, replaced sketchy bolts with new bolts and glue-ins, replaced bad anchors, thoughtfully added steel Perma Draws to appropriate routes while removing abandoned aluminum draws from other ones, made new parking spots, built benches, improved belay stations, cleaned chalk off of holds, and so on, all the while getting in a few pitches here and there and trying to send our projects (always trying to send!).
Following the clean up is always a barbecue that is put on by the Rifle Climbers’ Coalition, Wolverine Publishing and Rock and Ice magazine, a raffle of sweet shwag, and a little dance party where Dave Pegg and myself have a competition to see whose music will be more popular (my East Coast hip hop always trumps Pegg’s British house and trance).
The clean-up is great, but we wanted to make it even better, with more participation and more fun.
The first thing everyone needs to know is that the after party this year will be a COSTUME PARTY where you dress up as a Rifle route. (The Beast, Roadside Prophet, etc.) It’s a cool idea that Jen Vennon came up with, and I think it’ll be a ton of fun. [To see a full list of Rifle Routes, click here.] I already have my costume, and I’m not telling you what it is yet, but if you know anything about me and my history (including established routes and past Halloween costumes), it should be easy to figure out.
The second thing you need to know is that the clean-up will actually be a COMPETITION that we are calling the Game of SPEW (Send Points for Elitist Wankers). You can rack up SPEW points in various ways, including climbing routes and helping out with clean-up projects. You can also lose SPEW points.
The Game of SPEW is a non-serious idea meant to take the piss out of the Rifle climbing community, which has a reputation for being nothing but a bunch of elitist wankers. The best way to make fun of yourself is to fully embrace the very traits that we all make fun of, which is the spirit behind this game and its rules.
I wanted to get up the Rules for the Game of SPEW, to give people a couple of weeks to wrap their heads around this idea. It’s actually not that hard. In fact, anyone with an IQ above 60 should be able to play. And by the end of the day, we will have prizes for the winner (the person with the most SPEW points, aka the Best Climber in Rifle) and the loser (the person with the least SPEW points, aka the Worst Climber in Rifle).
I will be creating a scorecard that makes it easy to tally all of your scores, and these rules will be printed out and handed out at the entrance to the canyon on Saturday, August 27.
Remember to bring cash … and your ego.
Welcome to the Rifle Rendez-SPEW!
(Not Your Average-Climbers’ Rendezvous)
CLIMBING IN RIFLE MOUNTAIN PARK is NOT a right—it’s a privilege. This beautiful canyon has the very best “hard” limestone sport climbs in the country, and we’re lucky to be able to come out here every weekend and consistently fall all over routes that Adam Ondra could warm up on. To show our appreciation for this privilege to the Town of Rifle, climbers organize and hold an annual crag clean up that involves picking up trash, upgrading sketchy hardware; working with the town to build bridges, parking spaces and trails; and manicuring belay stations to resemble Japanese Zen gardens.
Climbers keep Rifle Mountain Park clean and safe—we pay our parking passes, and follow the rules that keep climbing access open. This year, the Annual Rifle Clean Up coincides with the The Game of SPEW—a very, very serious competition to see, once and for all, who is Rifle’s biggest SPEW lord.
The Game of SPEW (Send Points for Elitist Wankers)
HERE IN CANYONLAND, aka Rifle Mountain Park, it’s not just about testing yourself against the rock, pushing your personal limits in a nice outdoor setting and occasionally succeeding on a hard redpoint. It’s all about having fun. And in Rifle, the climber having the most fun is the one who is the best climber in the canyon. Warming up/down on your partners’ projects, giving beta on routes that you’ve done, giving beta on routes that you haven’t done, rodeo clipping for show, intimidating gumbies, men wearing tank tops, and in general being an Elitist Wanker, are Rifle traditions that have been in place since the first bolt sank in 1991. Those traditions continue and are celebrated here today.
The Game of SPEW (Send Points for Elitist Wankers) was devised to determine which climber is having the most fun (i.e., who is the best). Unlike other climbing competitions, which involve grading systems that make no sense and force perfectly good rock climbers to spend all of their time training on plastic (triple negative points for thinking plastic climbing is cool), and also unlike the hyper-inflated personal-grading competition of 8a.nu, the Rifle Game of SPEW is not just about how hard you climb. No, no. It’s all about style … and, of course, about not being a gumby or douche. The Game of SPEW is simple: You earn points by being rad (redpointing, onsighting, helping with clean-up projects, doing things that are fun), and you lose points when you’re a douche. At the end of the day, we add them up and see who wins the title of being the biggest SPEW Lord in Rifle.
CREDIT DISCLOSURE: The Game of SPEW admits to being a complete rip-off (well, adaptation) of the Game of GNAR, created by the late, great Shane McConkey at the skiing area Squaw Valley. We thank and honor Shane McConkey—we are not worthy!
How SPEW Works
Object: The Game of SPEW is officially held on the Saturday of the annual Rifle Clean-up, though climbers may play whenever they want. The object of the game is to acquire the most SPEW points between the hours of dawn and 8 P.M. on Saturday. Anyone can play as long as long as he/she accepts all responsibility for his/her own actions. Rock climbing is dangerous and you could DIE or KILL someone else and it will be no one’s fault but your own! The Town of Rifle, Rifle Mountain Park, the Rifle Climbers’ Coalition and any other company or entity present accepts absolutely no responsibility for any individual’s actions. Please learn how to keep yourself safe in the vertical world from trained experts before coming to Rifle.
- Donate $10 to the Rifle Climbers’ Coalition. This covers your food, beer and a bunch of other stuff that helps improve Rifle.
- Climbers gain SPEW points by sending routes, and by acquiring bonus points.
- Climbers lose SPEW points by racking up penalties.
- The climber at the end of the day with the highest total SPEW points is the best climber in Rifle and therefore he or she wins. In the event that there is a tie, a winner will be decided in a dance-off to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
- Each route is assigned a base number of SPEW points that corresponds to its YDS grade in the 2008 Rifle Mountain Park guidebook by Wolverine Publishing. These points assume a climber has redpointed the route. Onsighting/flashing a route is bonus points, which are added on to the route’s base number. Example: if you onsight Lost and Found (5.12b), you add: route base number  + onsight bonus  = 1,000 total SPEW points.
- It’s possible to lose SPEW points in various ways, including belaying badly and even without having sent a route. These points are recorded and tallied, then subtracted from the day’s total. Example, during the day you stick clip four times (SC) [-50 x 4 = -200], wear manpris (MP) [-200], give your partner a hard catch (HC) [-1,000], and you get a flapper (FL) [-500]. That’s -1,900 SPEW points.
- Certain routes have been assigned special challenge bonus points. For ease, these special challenges already include the route’s base number value. So, Climbing Debaser Naked (CDN) only earns you 3,000 points. You don’t get to add another 900 points for Debaser being a 5.12d.
- No cheating or lying allowed!
- Players are responsible for keeping their own scores and turning in their scorecards to an official designated by Rifle Climbers’ Coalition at the Community House before 8 p.m. on Saturday evening.
- Sent routes may only count once (no running laps on Choss Family, et al.)
- However, you can get penalties on the same route all day long. You can rack up an unlimited number of penalties.
- In many cases, it will be your duty to dole out penalty points to other climbers. For example, if a climber is taking too long to hangdog up a route, it’s up to the discretion of the belayer, or perhaps another climber waiting in line for the route, to penalize the climber with a PDS (Prolonged Dogging Sesh, -1,000 points).
- In the event that a climber disputes a penalty, majority rules. If three or more climbers that are at the crag agree with the penalty, then it sticks.
- To figure out the route base number, use the grade given in the 2008 Rifle Mountain Park guidebook, published by Wolverine. For all routes that aren’t included in the guidebook, use the consensus grade—if there is a disagreement over a route’s grade, take the lower grade.
Route Base Number of SPEW points
|YDS GRADE||SPEW POINTS|
|OS||Onsight||Sending a route on your first try with minimal beta. Note sliding scale for difficulty.||5.7-10d (50pts); 5.11a-12a (100pts) 5.12b-12d (200pts); 5.13a-13d (500pts); 5.14a-14c (1,000pts)|
|CUP||Clean-Up Project||Help with any organized clean-up project. Like minimum wage, points are hourly.||3,000pts/hour|
|HB||Hold Brush||Thoroughly brush every hold (removing tickmarks) on the way down.||300|
|RC||Rodeo Clip||Rodeo clip the first draw on any route||150|
|BR||Biner replacement||Replace bad biner with a good one||50|
|TB||Trash Bag||Pts given per bag of found trash||200|
|NPA||No Pad Ascent||Climb any “kneebar route” sans pad||100|
|SL||Safety Lid||Wear and climb in a helmet all day long.||1,000|
|UB||Unwanted Beta||Tell a dogging climber he is doing it wrong and offer him the right beta.||200|
|LS||Lunchtime Swim||Swim Harvey Gap.||1,000|
|SD||Student Driver||Be the first to spot a “Student Driver” vehicle and yell “Student Driver” at the top of your lungs.||1,000|
|PWP||Project Wall Parking||Get one of four parking spots at the Project Wall.||50|
|BF||Back Flip||Do a backflip from the anchors of Pumporama||800|
|PO||Photo-Op||Get tourist to take a photo of you.||500|
|ASS||Ass Slap||Slap your own ass mid-whipper. The only way to earn bonus points on a failed ascent.||100|
|ML||Mullet||Climbing with a mullet. Points count once per day.||300|
|PB||Project Brag||Tell a group of at least 5 people about what your project is, and brag about how hard and rad it is.||500|
|ED||Ego Declaration||Tell a group of strangers that you are Rifle’s best climber.||500|
|DT||Draw Thief||Catch any non-climber stealing a draw and make them put it back||5,000|
|LC||Line Cut||Convince another party to let you climb ahead of them by explaining that you’re “just warming up,” and you’ll “be quick,” etc.||300|
|SA||Sneaker Ascent||Send someone else’s project in front of them, wearing a pair of sneakers (can’t have sticky rubber).||1,000|
|AC||Avery Challenge||Complete an “Avery Challenge.” All challenges must be determined and assigned by an approved Avery team member.||2,000|
|DS||Draw Skip||Skip a draw while redpointing a line.||200|
|PU||Pull-ups||Doing pull-ups off of the anchor-clipping holds.||50 pts/pull-up|
|CTR||Calling The Redpoint||Loudly tell at least 5 people that you’re about to send your project (must be a route that you haven’t sent, but have worked on). Then send.||750|
|FA||First Ascent||Doing a first ascent (link-ups don’t count).||1,000|
|CP||Costume Party||Come to the Community House after-party dressed up as a Rifle route.||10,000|
Special Challenge Bonus Points
|DN||Debaser Naked||Send Debaser naked (climbing shoes and harness, obviously, are ok).||3,000|
|DNW||Debaser Naked with Watermelon||Send Debaser naked with watermelon hanging off of harness.||3,500|
|RN||Rumor Has It Naked||Send Rumor Has it naked.||3,000|
|OMB||Onsight Moroni Blows||Onsight Moroni Blows||3,000|
|MPTO||Multi-pitch top-out||Top out either of Rifle’s two multi-pitch routes.||5,000|
|TR||Top-roping||Top-roping any route||-300|
|DC||Daisy Chain||Wearing a daisy chain||-1,000|
|SK||Socks||Wear socks under climbing shoes||-50|
|PNT||Punting||Making a mistake that causes you to fall on a route that you ought to have sent.||-500|
|DA||Driving Around||After parking for the first time of the day, penalty points will be earned every time you move your car to a different parking lot.||-200/move|
|FL||Flapper||Getting a flapper on a route (must be bleeding to count)||-500|
|INJ||Injury||Getting injured while climbing (tweaked elbow, finger, shoulder, etc.)||-5,000|
|WB||Wobbler||Throwing a wobbler (F-bombs, screams of anger/despair, etc.)||-200|
|FOB||Fall off Bridge||Falling off a bridge into the creek||-1,000|
|CTRF||Calling the Redpoint Fail||Calling the redpoint, then failing to redpoint||-750|
|DG||Draw Grab||Grabbing a draw.||-50|
|PT||Parking Ticket||Getting a ticket on your windshield from the town of Rifle.||-2,500|
|SR||Short roping||Getting called out for short roping the climber.||-100|
|HC||Hard Catch||Getting called out for giving a climber a hard catch.||-1,000|
|BC||Belay Chatter||Getting called out for talking to other people (not paying attention) while belaying.||-100|
|DTC||Dropping the Climber||Dropping the climber while belaying.||-10,000|
|PDS||Prolonged Dogging Sesh||Take too much time working a route, as deemed by the belayer or climber waiting for route.||-1,000|
|MP||Manpris||Get caught wearing manpris.||-200|
|DOL||Dog Off Leash||Penalty to the owner of an off-the-leash dog that exhibits bad behavior.||-600|
|BY||Belayer Yell||Yelling at your belayer in a tone that suggests you are angry/upset.||-400|
|SC||Stick clipping||Using a stick clip.||-50|
|EKB||Excessive Knee-barring||Redpointing a route with an excessive number of kneebars, as determined by two or more peers.||-500|
|DB||Douche Bag||Being a douche bag (this may include, but is not limited to, arguing with your peers over being given a penalty).||-250|