The United States will get its first international sport climbing competition next month, and that means Snowbird has its first climbing wall.

The 115-foot, $155,000 wall, erected on the west end of the Cliff Lodge, will be the proving ground for 36 noted climbers who will gather at its base June 11 for this country's first world cup climbing competition.Climbers will start arriving on June 6. On June 8 and 9, 60 climbers will compete in an open qualifying round for a position in the weekend invitational. The top four male and top two female climbers during this competition will be selected to compete with at least 36 of the top sport climbers in the world.

Climbers from the United States, England, Austria, Germany, Australia, France, Belgium and the Soviet Union have been invited to compete for a share of the $17,400 purse.

Sport climbing competitions are popular in Europe, particularly in Eastern Bloc countries, said Jeff Wheeler, Snowbird's communications manager.

Climber Jeff Lowe watched several competitions in Europe and decided to bring one to Snowbird, Wheeler said.

An artificial wall was built for the competition to protect the environment. The competition could damage natural rock.

The wall was designed by FFKR Architects/Planners. It is made out of plywood reinforced with fiberglass resin. The climbing surface is made of fine garnet crystals to create the required surface friction.

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