What: Chris Sharma poster/gear signing
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Prana Boulder, 1147 Pearl St.
What: Chris Sharma Unveiled
When: Climbing at 5 p.m. Saturday; food/drinks at 7; slideshow at 8
Where: Movement Climbing + Fitness, 2845 Valmont Road
Cost: $5 for Movement, Access Fund and AAC members; $10 GA; $15 at the door
More info: movementboulder.com
Maybe you’ve seen uber-famous rock climber Chris Sharma on the big screen at the Boulder Theater recently, climbing in Spain. This Saturday, you can see him in person.
Sharma will be in downtown Boulder on Saturday for a poster signing at the Prana store and then later climbing and participating in a signing and a slide show at Movement Climbing + Fitness. The slideshow is a benefit for the Access Fund and the American Alpine Club.
It’s a rare U.S. appearance for the climber, who as Jason Smith, of the Access Fund, puts it to his non-climbing relatives, “is like the Michael Jordan of technical rock climbing.”
“He’s the child prodigy turned superstar that’s been driving development and that portion of the industry for better than a decade now,” Smith said. “He’s been on the cutting edge since he was 15 years old.”
A lot of people climb at a high level for a long time, he added, but that Sharma has stayed on top for so long is impressive.
Since Sharma lives in Spain now and isn’t spending much time in the United States, the Saturday events present a unique opportunity to see him climb and meet him in person, Smith said.
“He’s very humble, and genuinely pleased to meet people and hear what their stories are,” said Anne-Worley Moelter, of Movement Climbing + Fitness.
Often, Moelter said, the only opportunity to see him climb would be at a competition, from afar. But for the event at Movement, Sharma will climb in the gym for awhile, starting at 5 p.m., before signing posters and gear and giving a slideshow.
“We are really excited, because it’s an environment where he’s very accessible to people,” Moelter said. “People can get a chance to climb alongside of him and even get to meet him.”
At 7 p.m., they’ll start serving food and beer, from Whole Foods and Avery Brewing, Moelter said.
The slideshow starts at 8 p.m.
“We’re hoping it’s going to be more of a party atmosphere,” Smith said.
For the slideshow, Sharma said he’d present pictures and stories about some of his latest projects, but he said he’d also talk about his whole life as a climber.
“Climbing is the way I view the world, it’s been my vehicle for traveling through the world, and seeing the world, and the people I meet,” he said.
Sharma said he does slideshows in Europe, but he’s not doing many while he’s visiting the United States.
Smith said part of the reason you see Sharma in movies (he’s been in several by Boulder’s Sender Films) but not in person, or on slideshow tours very often, is that he lives overseas now. But it’s also just his nature.
“He’s a quiet guy, he does what he does,” he said.
Sharma said he’s glad to be able to do events like this, where he can meet people face to face and help two nonprofit organizations.
“I feel like I’m in a very privileged position to be a professional rock climber,” he said, “and I’m happy to have the opportunity to give back in any way.”