2016 Kootenay Climbing Festival Recap

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Peter Rowat, festival guest speaker and pioneer of key routes in the Valhallas, attempts the Tower of Power competition…in socks!

For the first time in its four-year history the Kootenay Climbing Festival expanded to a two-day format and was one of the best attended events ever for rock climbers in the region. It was also a financial success as TAWKROC raised about $2,000 to put towards the $15,000 debt incurred when Kinnaird Bluffs was purchased.

The first day of the festival, Saturday September 17th, was divided into two parts: family activities were offered during the day and two prominent guest speakers gave presentations in the evening. The second day (Sunday the 18th) featured rock climbing clinics. As with all festivals in the past, the venue was the Lions Head Pub in Robson, just East of Castlegar. The rain was falling everywhere but Robson that day, which kept a few families away but there were still dozens of people on hand to enjoy the various activities set up in the parking lot behind the bar. They included:

  • top ropes on routes for climbers of all abilities
  • a kids/beginners climbing wall
  • slackline
  • zipline
  • silent auction and raffle draws
  • and the ever-popular Tower of Power crate-stacking competition

At 7:30pm the event moved inside the bar and for the first year ever rock climbers completely filled the Lions Head! There were only 2 tables in the balcony seating area that held non-climbers and the rest of the bar were excited for the prizes and presentations. TAWKROC directors gave away five $100 shopping sprees at Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Nelson and a new climbing rope compliments of Powderhound in Rossland.

One of the great photos from Jasmin Caton’s slideshow.

Then Hills native and sponsored climber Jasmin Caton gave a presentation about the various adventures she’s been on recently, including those in the East and West Kootenays and you can see some of the photographs from her presentation here: Jasmin Caton Presentation Photographs.

After her inspiring presentation it was Peter Rowat’s turn to wow the audience with photographs from his pioneering trips into the Valhalla Mountain Range in the early 1970s. You can see all of the photographs from his presentation here: Peter Rowat Presentation Photographs.

Sunday Rock Climbing Clinics

The following day ACMG guides and TAWKROC directors David Lussier and Bob Sawyer offered a rock rescue course while Jasmin Caton, also an ACMG guide, oversaw an all-female climbing clinic. It was obvious by the feedback comments from the participants that the clinics were a success and we’ll definitely be offering something similar next year.

Below are some photographs from the two-day event. If you missed the fun and would like to help TAWKROC pay down the debt incurred when purchasing Kinnaird Rocks earlier this year to ensure it remained a rock climbing destination in perpetuity, please log on to our donation page.

A special shout-out to the volunteers including Rik, Sonja, Grace, Yann and Kevin as well as the TAWKROC directors who put a ton of time into the organization of the weekend: Dave, Shawn, Khaled, Craig, Vince and Bob.

Also, thanks to our sponsors who supplied items for the raffles and silent auction including VPO Nelson for the five $100 shopping sprees, Powderhound for the rope donation, ROAM, Snowpack, Whitewater Resort, the Cube, Summit Mountain Guides, Mountain Equipment Co-op for $200 worth of gift certificates, Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine, Stellar Heli-skiing, Save-On Foods, Douglas Noblet, Adrian Wagner, Selkirk College, Columbia Brewery and Kootenay Meadows Dairy.