OGDEN -- With crimping and sloping hand-grabs, 31 competitive climbers crawled their way Saturday up boulders with names like "Lobster" and "Tooth."
The competition at the 27th Street boulder field was one of the activities scheduled during the three-day fifth annual Ogden Climbing Festival.
Participants got points based on the climbing difficulty and amount achieved in two hours.
Other activities included a climbing clinic, instructed by professional climber Peter Croft, and a kid's clinic. More than 60 people participated in the two events.
"Kids are natural climbers, and they love it," said Daniel Turner, a festival event organizer and longtime climber.
Parents often find their children using cupboards or drawers while trying to get to something that is supposed to be out of their reach, he said.
The festival, coordinated by the Weber State University Campus Recreation Outdoor Program, concludes today with a 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. cleanup and restoration of the boulder field.
Despite the morning chill -- which favors climbers because it makes the rock surface sticky -- the mountainside park was speckled with contestants and spotters, some packing their own "crash pad" in case the climb didn't go well.
Participation in the festival is growing significantly, Turner said.
Having four climbing gyms in the Top of Utah increases interest in the sport, he said. Having mountains nearby also helps.
"We have climbing within minutes of our home," Turner said. "Ogden is poised for outdoor recreation in general."
During the first year of the event, Turner said, about 200 people watched or participated. This year's event is expected to bring in 600 to 900 people.
"We are gaining traction," said the 30-year-old Turner, who has been rock climbing about half of his life.
"As Ogden has become an outdoor recreation destination and climbing hot spot, festival attendance has increased, drawing climbers from along the Wasatch Front and southern Idaho areas."
Now all the festival needs, he said, is additional sponsorship.
Two new climbers in the competition were Kristine Lee, 19, of North Ogden, and Echo Ferrin, 20, of Salt Lake City.
Lee has been climbing for five months and enjoys the challenges. Not only has it made her biceps stronger, she said, but it also forces her to physically adapt when going "from point A to point B" when making a difficult climb.
"I love the technicality (of climbing)," said Ferrin, who has been climbing for four months.
"You're really just going against yourself," she said of being a competitive climber.
But one climber said it isn't how many years people have climbed that defines whether they are advanced or a beginner.
"It's about how often you climb," said Gabriel Diarte, 20, of Ogden.
What he enjoys most about climbing is being outdoors. "I like being out in nature. (Climbing) is something you can do by yourself or with friends."
No one was climbing Saturday without a spotter.
"Safety first," said Sayla Buehler, a festival spokeswoman.