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May 17

Time | Event


May 18

Time | Event


May 19

Time | Event

7:00 am -- all day | Registration Open

7:00 am -- all day | Registration & badge pick-up

7:00 am -- all day | Registration & badge pick-up

8:00 - 11:30 am | Coffee & Collaboration (pre-registration!)

7:00 - 8:00 am | Coffee & Collaboration (pre-registration required!)

7:00 - 8:00 am | Coffee & Collaboration (pre-registration required!)

12:00 - 8:00 pm | Expo Hall Open

1:00 - 2:00 pm | Lunch, provided by the CWA

5:00 - 7:00pm: Appetizers and Drinks

8:00 - 8:55 am | Product Presentations

8:00 - 8:55 am | Product Presentations

8:00pm - | CWA Opening Night Party!

Gorgeous rooftop views, apps, drinks, music, networking, and more!

9:00 -- 11:30 am | Education Sessions

9:00 - 12:00 pm | Expo Hall Open

Lunch provided by CWA

11:30 - 12:30 pm | Lunch in Atrium, provided by the CWA

12:15 - 5:00 pm | Education Sessions

12:30 - 2:30 pm | Education Sessions

5:30 pm | Closing Party, Hosted by ASCEND Point Breeze

2:30- 2:55 pm | Product Presentations

3:00 - 3:30 pm | CWA Introduction

3:30 - 4:30 pm | Keynote Address

4:30 - 8:00 pm | Expo Hall Open! Appetizers & drinks provided by the CWA

8:00 pm | Walltopia After Party, Hosted by Iron City Boulders & Rock Candy, featuring the Climbing Business Journal Grip Showcase!

CWA Summit Block Schedule


7:00 am - all day: Registration Opens

8:00 am - 11:30 am: Coffee & Collaborations (pre registration required!)

12:00 - 8:00 pm: Expo Hall Open

1:00 - 2:00 pm: Lunch, provided by the CWA

5:00 - 7:00 pm: Appetizers & drinks

CWA Opening Night Party!

Heads Up!

We change our schedule and add sessions frequently. Please check back often!

Last Updated: 3/21/2023

Certification & Pre Conference Sessions

*Sessions Subject To Change. Please check back often to see sessions.

8:00 am - 4:00 pm | May 15 - May 17

Work at Height Competent Certification

Location: ASCEND Point Breeze

Class Size: 10 participants

The Competent Climbing Wall Worker is certified in the training and immediate supervision of Authorized Climbing Wall Workers; implementation and monitoring of the employer’s managed fall protection program; implementation, supervision and monitoring of the employer’s Rescue Plan; and identifying, evaluating and controlling potential fall hazards and must have the authority to stop work-at-height operations immediately to mitigate potential fall hazards. Examples might include a routesetter or head routesetter.

The Competent Person course will take 3 days, all PPE will be provided and the participant only needs to supply a recreational climbing harness, climbing shoes, and closed-toed shoes.

May 16, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

CWI Provider Course

Location: ASCEND South Side

Class Size: 16 participants

This is a multi-day hybrid workshop put on by the Climbing Wall Association with both virtual and in-person elements. The CWI Provider Certification Program is designed to promote industry self-regulation and assist owners/operators of climbing facilities in training staff to a minimum, consistent standard of care. The curriculum can be easily integrated into existing staff training and professional development programs.

Register Now

8:00 am - 4:00 pm | May 15 - May 17

Work at Height Qualified Person

Location: ASCEND Point Breeze

Class Size: 10 participants

Description: The Qualified Work at Height Worker is certified to develop and administer a written fall protection plan for all work-at-height tasks in the climbing facility. Qualified Climbing Wall Workers are trained to supervise Competent Climbing Wall Workers in the selection of appropriate access, positioning, fall protection, and rescue methods for work-at-height operations in a commercial climbing facility.

The Qualified Person course will take 3 days, all PPE will be provided and the participant only needs to supply a recreational climbing harness, climbing shoes, and closed-toed shoes.

Full Conference Sessions

We invite and encourage you to explore different audience types. Many of these sessions are designed to be collaborative, so plan to attend sessions that are outside of your niche within the indoor climbing industry.

Community Culture

The Global Future of Climbing: Understanding the Evolution of Emerging Markets

Hosted by: Veronica Baker

With climbing’s rapid global expansion comes opportunities to invest and grow our sport in currently untapped markets. This panel will share the experiences of industry leaders currently taking the deep dive into new climbing infrastructure ventures around the world. Discussions and small group breakout discussions will reflect on how we as an industry can innovatively capture these markets.

Business Growth

Dr. Seuss presents: Financing for Your Gym

Hosted by: Spencer Richman

Part of Dr. Seuss' genius lies in presenting sophisticated ideas in very simple terms. Spencer Richman will educate you about all types of financing that you might need to open your new climbing gym, to expand an existing one, or to open an additional location. Take advantage of our unique blend of experience as the owner of a gym and the owner of an independent financing company for over 34 years!


Embracing Vulnerability as a Strength

Hosted by: Sejal Lakhani

In the months after her husband’s death, Sejal Lakhani realized four truths that changed how she approaches life and can help other people make small, but critical changes. Sejal’s eye-opening journey will inspire you to be grateful, accept vulnerability, and surround yourself with people you trust implicitly. Leave feeling empowered with the ability to overcome any adversity.

Risk Management

Anatomy of a Claim: An Executives Guide to Claim Handling

Hosted by: Will  Jorgensen

The Monument Sports Group is the CWA’s insurance provider for members in the US. Monument has created a comprehensive insurance program that focuses on risk management and sustainability. This session will provide a better understanding of the claim process to Gym Owners and Executives by reviewing all stages of a claim: Accident response, first reporting, contacting injured parties, discovery, depositions, motions, and more.

Organizational Culture

Don’t Wait for Someone Else to Fix It

Hosted by: Chuck Wachendorfer

Eight Essentials to Enhance Your Leadership Impact at Work, Home, and Anywhere Else That Needs You.

Are you a leader at your job, home, or anywhere else in your life? The world needs positive and uplifting leadership more than ever. You’ll learn how to fill that role with evidence-based, real-world guidance that you can apply immediately at your job, at home, or anywhere else to further a meaningful purpose. This one-hour presentation will give you the skills to enhance the impact you have on the world around you.

Risk Management

The First 45 Minutes: How to Navigate a Crisis

Hosted by: Jessica Nunez

How you react at the onset of a crisis significantly impacts the result. Timing is everything, especially with how fast news spreads with social media and 24/7 coverage. Learn the importance of creating a first-mover advantage and how to mitigate risk as a crisis becomes public. An award-winning PR and Social Media expert offers you the steps needed to take in the most crucial first 45 minutes of a crisis.

Business Growth & Development

The Art of Offboarding

Hosted by: Michele Hecken

As leaders, we know we need to work ON our business, instead of IN it. The biggest hurdle for most leaders is that they don’t know how to work ON and they keep getting pulled back IN. “The Art of Offboarding” provides a clear roadmap for leaders with easy-to-follow steps, actionable takeaways, and resources to help scale and create more value, while working on what you love most.

Business Growth & Development

Business Expansion Panel: Lessons Learned from Multi-Gym Owners

Hosted by: Joel Graybeal

We will continue the conversation started in 2019 to provide a glimpse into the challenges, successes, and the future of multi-gym operations. Convene with some of the industry’s most respected multi-gym owners and executives who have successfully scaled one startup venture into several facilities. The discussion will touch on phasing, ground-up builds, acquisitions, competitive dynamics, and non-traditional facility types.

Business Growth & Devlopment

Gym Owner Roundtable

Moderated by: Alice Kao & Kenneth Cronin

The purpose of this informal round table discussion is to be a place for gym owners to share and connect to address common issues faced by climbing gym owners across the industry and how those issues get addressed. This session is well suited to those open to sharing information and providing feedback on their strengths, challenges, practices, and other concerns.

Community Culture

Climbing as a Tool for Developing Mental Health and Resilient Communities

Hosted by: Lor Sabourin

How can climbing gyms build spaces that support the mental health and well-being of employees and members? When we approach climbing intentionally and incorporate resiliency skills into training and programming, we can enhance opportunities for all members to learn and grow. We will address common pain points in managing risk, addressing stress and burnout, and approaching conflict and challenges.

Organizational Culture

Develop High Service HR

Hosted by: Mardi Roberts

Discover how HR/People Ops function is not just a cost-center and is more than compliance, payroll, and recruiting. It can be a key driver in culture, value, business results, and even customer experience. We will share how to build your organization's values into the day-to-day operations so that your mission and vision are tangible how to connect your teams' work to your mission.

Business Growth

Digital Marketing for Climbing Gyms

Hosted by: Ty Morrison-Heath

With over a decade of experience in digital advertising for climbing gyms, Ty Morrison-Heath from Adventure a Day Marketing shares how to design, execute, and maintain a powerful online presence. Discuss how to leverage customer data to create targeted and cost-effective advertising, social media strategies, and best practices for your gym's digital footprint to engage new and returning customers.


Technology's Place in the Modern Climbing Gym

Hosted by: Miura Hawkins

As Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and other technologies take the world by storm, we see a relative lack of technical innovation in the climbing gym industry. In this session we explore some of the ways existing technology can be implemented in our gyms, and explain some of the precautionary steps we should take to protect ourselves and our climbers from technological threats.

Risk Management

Industry Practices Committee: Update & Discussion

Moderated by: Garnet Moore

Members of the Industry Practices (IP) committee, with the CWA's Garnet Moore moderating, will host a panel providing updates on the latest changes to CWA's Industry Practices Document, discuss future updates, and more. This group is working to revise the current IP Document to provide better guidance to assist climbing wall operators in developing policies, procedures, and practices for the management of facilities.

The Economy in 2023 and Beyond

Hosted by: Matt Roberts

Between high inflation, the war in Ukraine, continuing fall out from COVID-19, and rapid shifts in population demographics, the economy is at its most unstable point in the lifetimes of most gym owners. Dr. Roberts will unpack the forces driving interest rates, consumer spending, labor costs, and inflation and provide advice on how to adapt your practices and decisions to best manage them.


Autobelay Roundtable

Moderated by: Garnet Moore

As the prevalence of auto belays in climbing facilities has grown, the industry’s approach to using them continues to evolve. Join this open roundtable discussion to share your thoughts, experiences, and approach to auto belays and hear from others. Walk away with information and ideas to guide how your facility thinks about and/or uses auto belay devices.

Organizational Culture

How to Get Full-Time Engagement from Your Part-Time Employees

Hosted by: Chris Stevenson

This session will provide practical strategies to help maximize engagement from part-time employees. Learn how to create an effective onboarding process, foster a positive team environment, and motivate staff to take ownership of their tasks. Discussions will focus on creating a job schedule that allows part-time employees to feel valued and respected and recognizing and rewarding them for their accomplishments.

Community Culture

Fostering Mentorship: Gym to Crag Programming

Hosted by: Jorge Maldonado

Mentorship is becoming distant in the climbing community, resulting in an increasing number of accidents associated with the gym-to-crag mentality. However, the lessons for how to shape an effective gym-to-crag program and promote a culture of mentorship and communication in the climbing industry are applicable worldwide. Learn from Marcus Garcia about his experience building a gym-to-crag mentorship program in Kenya.

Organizational Culture

Navigating Eating Disorders: Youth Climbing Teams

Hosted by: Jillian Yatsko

Eating disorders are on the rise across youth and adolescent athletes in the climbing world. We aim to explore the character traits of climbers that make them both exceptionally susceptible to experience an eating disorder and also powerfully able to overcome such challenges. Join us to learn about the nuanced ways that youth training programs can support young athletes having a positive connection to sport and self.

Business Growth & Development

Optimizing Youth Program Operations

Hosted by: Eliza Keegan

As the popularity of youth climbing continues to grow, climbing gyms press to keep up with the demand while balancing high member traffic, shared space and resources. In this interactive workshop, we assess the growth trajectory of youth climbing and Momentum Indoor Climbing Youth Program Director Eliza Keegan shares ways to optimize youth program operations and maintain a happy member base.

Business Growth & Development

Your Application Process Sucks, But It Doesn't Have To

Hosted by: Marisa Hoff

Learn how to improve the user experience of your application process. Examine how to make it more intuitive, streamlined, and informative for applicants. Look at the psychology behind why applicants might find the process off-putting, and how to address their concerns with design and messaging. Leave with actionable steps to make their application process more enjoyable and user-friendly, leading to higher engagement and more success.

Community Culture

AAC Town Hall: The Future of Climbing Inside and Out

Hosted by: Billy Dixon

The climbing community is changing, with 83% of the US population in urban areas and growing more diverse. Climbing gyms are often the entry point to climbing, and more climbers are discovering outdoor climbing from gyms. This leads to challenges with accessibility, ensuring proper education of new climbers, making sure that gyms and crags remain open, and fostering a welcoming and inclusive community.


Programming Roundtable

Hosted by: Nicole Brandt

A roundtable discussion on programming and how it continues to evolve, including the distinction between commercial programming and performance programming. Topics covered include the variety of progressions from a first-time participant to identifying as a climber, the development of the private sector and third-party resources, what support is missing at a national level, and how the popularity of climbing has impacted commercial programming.

Business Growth & Development

Case Study: Careers for Women in Climbing

Join the discussion as a panel of women from across the climbing industry share stories and learning from their careers in the climbing space. Hear from gym managers, routesetters, programmers, coaches, vendors, and more, as they answer questions about the unique challenges and opportunities for women in our industry.

Organizational Culture

Building Your Network

Hosted by: Bix Firer

In this co-created session, Headwall Group expert facilitators will help you engage with others who work in similar roles in the climbing industry and lead you through activities to help you brainstorm challenges, share best practices, and build your professional network.

Technology's Place in the Modern Climbing Gym

Hosted by: Miura Hawkins

As artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other technologies take the world by storm, we see a relative lack of technical innovation in the climbing gym industry. In this session we explore some of the ways existing technology can be implemented in our gyms, and explain some of the precautionary steps we should take to protect ourselves and our climbers from technological threats.

Organizational Culture

Bootcamp for your Frontline

Hosted by: Marisa Hoff

Your Welcome Desk staff makes the first and last impression with everyone in your club, often they are the ONLY staff with which a member might engage. Learn how to hire, onboard and regularly train your reception staff to help enhance the member experience at your gym. Attendees will come away with tangible practices to implement in their facilities.

Business Growth & Development

Why Certification

Hosted by: Heather Reynolds, CWA

Join representatives of certification programs, insurance providers, and regulators to discuss the pros and cons of certification. While all may agree better trained staff are better, there are expenses to consider. This discussion will delve into the cost benefit of providing a certification pathway for staff and how to make it make the most financial sense.

Business Growth & Development

Ways to Grow Your Membership Revenue

Hosted by: Samantha Wallin

Membership growth has the most immediate impact on your revenue, not just in membership fees, but increasing the number of ways that you can connect with an engaged customer. Learn some effective ways to grow your member base, keep your members engaged, provide value through additional sales touchpoints, and track your results to maximize customer satisfaction and interest.

Organizational Culture

Use Your Outside Voice: Telling Stories to Foster Community

Hosted by: Rachel Hailey

We all have a story to tell! In this session, we will allow the participant to explore their own personal narrative as it relates to the climbing space and discover how sharing their story powerfully and with intention can make a difference in their community and world. BIPOC & folks from the LGBTQ+ community are strongly encouraged to attend!

Business Growth & Development

Lifelong Lessons in Leadership

Hosted by: Chris Stevenson

Leadership is not about making people do things that they don’t want to do; it’s about providing inspiration and tools to do things that they never thought they could. Leadership is not about getting people to do things to avoid punishment; it's about motivating them to do their best for a greater purpose. Learn the keys to effective leadership and receive tangible tips you can implement immediately. Be inspired to become the best leader you can possibly be!

Risk Management

Insurance 101: Front Line Risk Management, Indemnity Agreements, COIs, Accident Response, and more

Hosted by Will Jorgenson, Monument Sports Group

Identifying and analyzing loss exposures, and minimizing the financial impact of these risks, is the basis of a risk management program. Often a gym will focus on risks inherent to climbing, however, a comprehensive strategy uses principles of risk management as a framework to analyze risk holistically. This session is intended to review the principles of risk management as a framework for comprehensive policies and procedures in a climbing gym.

Organizational Culture

Managing Up, Down, and Sideways

Hosted by: Vanessa Brias

How many of us have done our org chart and it looks more like an eco sketch? As a climbing gym operator, we wear lots of hats and have lots of lines/responsibilities on the org chart. In this discussion we will talk about managing all the lines, even the hard ones that go up, the lessons learned through COVID, and how we can do more with the “right” less.

Risk Management

How To Finance Your Business

Description coming soon!

Community Culture

Build & Strengthen Your Climbing Community with Creativity

Hosted by: Leslie Kim

Every climbing gym is unique, and any gym can leverage creativity to build its own tightly-knit community that markets itself. For the past seven years, the climbing brand Dynamite Starfish has used art and creativity to nurture a loyal community of climbers who live and breathe the brand. Learn actionable steps to find your brand and lean into what sets your community apart from the rest.

Membership Growth

Modern Event Chiefing as Professional Development

Hosted by: Blake Green

This interactive session is designed for all levels of routesetter to focus on all things besides placing holds: communication, crew assignments and organization, and ongoing professional development. Attendees will be divided into mock "Crews" and run through everything needed to plan an event, including crew selecting, planning routes assignments, skill development.

Programming Routesetting

Siege the Southeast: Planning a Collaborative Competition Series Across Multiple Gyms

Hosted by: Hayley Moran

Siege the Southeast was a four gym competition series held for and set exclusively by women and non-binary climbers, with a focus on routesetter mentorship and community engagement. Learn how three routesetters collaborated with sponsors, gym owners, programmers and marketing teams to create a cohesive series, the impact made on participating routesetters, and why women and non-binary programs are vital to every gym community.


Routesetting Committee Update

Hosted by: Garnet Moore, CWA

Hosted by members of the Routesetting Committee and moderated by the CWA's Garnet Moore. Receive updates on the latest work of the CWA Routesetting committee to include. Topics covered include updated standards and best practices, along with updates for certifications and training opportunities.

Business Growth & Development

Growing a Routesetting Program: Just Add Water

Hosted by: Justin Wright

Whether you are building a routesetting program from scratch, or moving to a multi-gym operation, the questions are the same. What do you need? Where do you start? Join two routesetters of varied background and experience levels to discuss developing programs for two very different gym ecosystems. Learn the complexities of meeting the needs of their communities as they build programs designed to support multiple aspects of climbing gym culture..