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From left: NMU alumni Sara Pingel and Matt Kilgas; NMU student and McNair Scholar Allyssa VanHorn; faculty members Phil Watts, Lanae Joubert and Scott Drum; student Liz Drum; and alumnus Kevin Phillips. Courtesy Real Life Photographs.
From left: NMU alumni Sara Pingel and Matt Kilgas; NMU student and McNair Scholar Allyssa VanHorn; faculty members Phil Watts, Lanae Joubert and Scott Drum; student Liz Drum; and alumnus Kevin Phillips. Courtesy Real Life Photographs.Watts (courtesy Real Life Photographs, Telluride)
Watts (courtesy Real Life Photographs, Telluride)Joubert (courtesy Real Life Photographs)
Joubert (courtesy Real Life Photographs)Drum (courtesy Real Life Photographs)
Drum (courtesy Real Life Photographs)Watts peeking from behind his signed poster (courtesy Real Life Photographs)
Watts peeking from behind his signed poster (courtesy Real Life Photographs)

NMU School of Health and Human Performance faculty members Phil Watts, Lanae Joubert and Scott Drum co-directed the 3rd International Rock Climbing Research Association (IRCRA) Rock Congress held earlier this month in Telluride, Colo. They spent more than a year planning this installment of the biennial event—the first one held in the United States. Several attendees with NMU ties also gave presentations. Watts delivered the opening keynote titled “A Physiological Model for Rock Climbing: The First 2000 Years.” He also was honored in the conference program for his retirement and contributions to the field.

“It may be bold to state this, but Phil has the most cited works in rock climbing physiology research in the world,” said Joubert, who was on a panel addressing nutritional issues in rock climbing. “He was honored with a standing ovation from the international crowd attending the last night of the conference for his work in the field and his dedication to making this recent Rock Congress such a successful one. If we are fortunate to travel to the next one in Chamonix, France in 2018, we plan to follow through with our goal of creating a special ‘golden piton award’ to be dedicated to Phil’s legacy and awarded to the outstanding scholar at future congresses.”

Drum added, “Phil is the consummate, organized scholar and in particular has been recognized as one of the world's foremost researchers in rock climbing physiology. Despite representation from over 14 countries at the Rock Congress, Phil was undoubtedly the star of the party."

The congress highlighted the latest research on rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering. Drum gave a presentation on heart rate, perceived effort and anxiety during top-rope and lead rock climbing. He said the 2020 IRCA Rock Congress will be held in Tokyo, Japan, to coincide with rock climbing’s introduction as a new Olympic-sanctioned event.

The 31 scientific presentations and five keynote talks in Telluride included the following: “Hang board performance time across multiple hangs in normoxia and mormobaric hyposxia” by NMU student and McNair Scholar Allyssa VanHorn; “Magnesium carbonate increases hang time until failure in rock climbing,” by NMU alumnus Matt Kilgas; and “The effect of cold ambient temperatures on climbing-specific finger flexor performance" by NMU alumnus Kevin Phillips.

NMU student Liz Drum designed the conference poster and program. She also helped with registration, as did alumna Sara Pingel.

The IRCA Rock Congress was held in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains Aug. 5-7, following the Wilderness Medicine Society’s World Congress in the same location. The IRCA’s featured guest was American climbing legend Lynn Hill, one of only two people in the world to have succeeded in making an all-free, one-day ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

For more information, visit www.ircra.rocks



Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director
906-227-1015
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