Coffee Talk Spotlight-“Unveiling the Cutting Edge: Innovations in Climbing Gear”

Our popular AM Coffee Talk programs are an opportunity where we invite Ice Fest participants to come in and start their day with a delicious cup of coffee, at Gallery Coffee Company, and learn about hot topics and current issues in the climbing world. All of our presentations start at 8AM & 9AM and are finished by 9:45AM just in time for climbers to head on out to the ice!

Friday 9 AM – Unveiling the Cutting Edge: Gear Innovators

The “Unveiling the Cutting Edge: Innovations in Climbing Gear” panel will deep-dive into the recent advancements that are revolutionizing climbing experiences for beginners and veterans alike. We have assembled an esteemed panel of innovators, climbers, and industry experts to give attendees an insider’s perspective into climbing gear innovation. Our panelists will shed light on their products, how they got started, and the innovative features that are enhancing climbers’ safety and performance.
Grab a cup of joe and discover the latest gear that is transforming the climbing landscape. Witness how advancements in design and technology are raising the bar for safety, efficiency, and sustainability in the climbing industry.

Jeremy Steck – Black Diamond
Jeremy grew up in Western Pennsylvania and cut his teeth trad climbing in the nearby crags like Seneca Rocks and New River gorge while earning a BSME and MSIE from University of Pittsburgh.  13 years ago he moved West and started working as a design engineer for Black Diamond where he has worked on many projects including the X4, C4, and Z4 cams. When not designing incredible new climbing products he prefers to spend his time projecting sport routes and boulders around Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming and throws in a few ice climbs each year to round out his climbing portfolio.

Tim Bottger- Karry Krab
The KARRY KRAB is the world’s most compact, flexible gear clipper to organize ice screws on your climbing harness. Giving the climber the ability to comfortably put up to three KARRY KRABS on a single gear loop and adjust the position so it fits their individual climbing style. Offering maximum flexibility and quick access to your gear.

With 30 years of playing around in the Product Development and Design Engineering fields, Tim Bottger has had the opportunity to work on some cool projects.  As of late Tim has been spending his time trying to focus on developing products used in the outdoor industry.  That coupled with his love for adventure, and the help of many outside influencers, helped bring the Karry Krab to life.  When Tim is not working, you can find him hiking, climbing, or traveling with his family in the mountains somewhere.  Tim also volunteers his time with his local chapter of the American Alpine Club.  His passion for introducing new people to the amazing world of climbing has been a main focus of his the last few years.  His desire to share his love of the wonderful playgrounds we have around the Midwest trails, crags, and ice parks, is something he is driven to do.

Gokul Gopal- Skillzboard
Skillzboard is a portable, modular plywood device that allows you to teach and/or practice a number of roped-climbing techniques, from anchor building and cleaning, to rappel methods, rescue techniques and big-wall tricks like hauling and aiding. You can set it up outside, using a tree/post, or inside your house, off a pull-up bar or a door, and it’s been tested to safely hold bodyweight of two heavy people bouncing on it. And you can clip your phone to it and watch an instructional video while you practice.

David Ollila- Shophouse Park Marquette Michigan
A unique facility where the outdoor recreation industry hits the woods. A gateway to 8 million acres of forest land and 10,000 miles of trails, Shophouse Park will serve as a remote base for start-ups and corporations to innovate and a place for the outdoor community to gather. Shophouse Park is a home, shop and trailhead for teams to develop, tweak and introduce new products and experiences.  We are here to support those pursuing innovations in the outdoor recreation sector with logistical services, event support, network facilitation, and resource mapping.  Shophouse Park is a place to develop your products and experiences at the point of use while you connect to Michigan’s vast talent, engineering and manufacturing resources.

David Ollila is a systems thinker, serial entrepreneur, innovator and business leader, he holds 16 patent spanning hardware to technology, most of which are in the outdoor recreation sector. David excels in building new ventures, developing products and cultivating relationships across numerous industries.