Past winding roads, through the speckled forests of an imposing autumn, lies a horseshoe shaped canyon of pristine climbing, patiently waiting to be filled with rock-lovers from all corners of the nation.
Year round, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is a family owned and operated gem where visitors can tent or cabin camp amongst a quintessential Ozark Mountain landscape. Encompassed by sandstone rock on all sides, a pasture of wild-roaming goats and horses lie within the canyon's walls. This peaceful, Jasper, AR getaway is sought after by horseback riders, hikers, and rock-climbers alike.
However, once a year, in late September, this idyllic landscape opens it's arms to a new vibe. For one long weekend, Horseshoe Canyon is filled with a culture of fired up individuals ready to test their limits. Once a year, the heartbeat of Horseshoe Canyon Ranch moves in a quicker and more triumphant banter. Once a year, hundreds of rock climbers fill the walls to compete in one of the world's most epic and unique battles. The canyon becomes the home of Twenty Four Hours of Horseshoe Hell.
That's right, 24-hours. It's a competition that draws in famous climbers and passionate vagabonds alike. It has been described by Reel Rock as "the wildest event in the climbing world; a mash-up of ultramarathon and Burning Man where elite climbers and gumbies alike go for broke in a sun-up to sun-down orgy of lactic acid and beer."
The four day camping event will hold festivities that run from Wednesday night through Sunday morning, and the actual 24-hour climbing begins Friday at 10am and ends Saturday at 10am. There will be a 12-hour climbing competition as well.
"This was the first 24-hour competition of it's kind," said George Bieker, a local climber, and also the FC athlete's team captain. He said that ten years ago, when the climbing competition first debuted, no one had ever before done anything of the sort.
This event is highly sought after. When online registration for the event opens, slots are filled within 15 minutes. 350 people, entering in teams of two, get the bid to actually compete. However, non-competitors, volunteers, and cheerleaders alike are welcome in plenitude.
"The canyon is open for people to just show up and chill. They open the entire property for camping," said George. He emphasized that anyone interested in just spectating and drinking beer on the sidelines could join him at the Fayettechill sponsored boulder watch party.
George will be repping Fayettechill in hosting an epic (and free) couch-party, chalked full of beer, tunes, lights, banners, and giveaways at the Horseshoe Canyon Idaho Boulders. All can join him in watching the 24-hour extravaganza go down, and party / festival vibes should be expected. This ultimate watch party, officially gets rolling at 10pm on Friday night.
As mentioned, festival-like vibes will be rolling through the air. Apart from the boulder watch party, notables on the event agenda include the REEL Rock Rock Film Tour, free haircuts (last year specializing in rattails), a slip n slide, gear giveaways, a pancake breakfast, a pasta dinner (much needed, following the 24-hour climbing), and a spirited, post-competition party sponsored by Anthem Beer and American Alpine Club.
For more info on the festival, check out Two Four Hell's event website here. Whether on the rocks or on the sidelines, we hope to see you out there, enjoying the Ozarks amongst the best of community.