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Kitsap County, it’s time to on belay

Climbers of all skill levels are invited to participate in Vertical World’s Climb-a-thon to benefit the American Red Cross. - Courtesy photo
Climbers of all skill levels are invited to participate in Vertical World’s Climb-a-thon to benefit the American Red Cross.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Exploring new heights, residents of Kitsap County will take to climbing the walls, literally.

To benefit the King and Kitsap County chapters of the American Red Cross, Vertical World staff are hosting their first-ever climb-a-thon. The event will last from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, at Vertical World, located at 5934 State Highway 303 in Bremerton.

“Anyone can participate, we’ll assign routes that are easy so anyone can climb,” said Vertical World Program Director Erynne von Olnhausen. “We’ll be keeping track of each climber’s vertical feet ... sponsors can either donate a flat amount or cents per foot.”

Climbing walls inside the facility vary in height, and climbers can complete full or partial routes. The climbers who raise the most money and climb the most feet will win prizes at the event. Drinks and snacks also will be provided, including Starbucks coffee.

Von Olnhausen added that Kitsap Physical Therapy and Sports Clinic will be providing 10 minute massages during the climb-a-thon beginning at 4 p.m. All donations for the massages also will go toward the American Red Cross.

“A lot of people in Kitsap County are very willing to help out for disaster response,” she added with a smile. “People are willing to help out with that.”

Interested climbers and community members can participate by seeking sponsors to pledge their support and coming to the event to rack up vertical feet while taking advantage of a free day pass and equipment rental.

The climb-a-thon event originated in Dayton, Ohio at the Urban Krag Climbing Gym in 2005 when locals and gym employees decided to take their passion for making a difference in others’ lives to the next level. This event has now spread to include three gyms across the nation, including Vertical World in Bremerton.

“The climbing community as a whole is very generous,” von Olnhausen said. “Aside from knowing they’re actually making a difference, this is a place where families can come, it’s a family event.”

For more information about the climb-a-thon, visit www.verticalworld.com and click on the Bremerton link, or call von Olnhausen at (360) 373-6676.

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