Kootenay Climbing Festival 2018: Olympic Climber Jen Olson & Legend Don Vockeroth

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The Kootenay Rock Climbing Festival returns September 22-23, 2018, and will feature Olympic climber Jen Olson and Canadian mountaineering legend Don Vockeroth.

The Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers (TAWKROC) has announced that Canadian Olympic climbing athlete Jen Olson and mountaineering legend Don Vockeroff will be guest speaking at the Kootenay Rock Climbing Festival being held on Saturday, September 22nd in Robson, British Columbia, near Castlegar.

Jen Olson went to the Sochi Olympics to compete in mixed climbing.

Olson, who’s originally from Canmore, competed in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic games in Russia for mixed climbing and placed fourth in a strong field of international climbers. She’ll be talking about her experiences there as well as her work as an ACMG guide and her new routing projects around the province. As an added bonus, Olson will be teaching a female climbing clinic on Sunday, Sept 23rd at Kinnaird Bluffs.

Joining Olson is Don Vockeroth, who now lives in Rossland, BC, and who is responsible for some of the most iconic and classic mountaineering routes in the country. For example, he did “Forbidden Corner” and “The Bowl” on Yamnuska and the spectacular northeast buttress of Howse Peak. As an alpinist, his finest achievement was the first ascent of the northeast buttress of Howse Peak in 1967. Vockeroth also made first ascents of the north face of Mount Biddle and the north face of the south tower of Mount Goodsir.

poster for kootenay climbing festival 2018

Organized by TAWKROC, the Kootenay Climbing Festival is now entering its sixth year and features four components: the evening presentation with Olson and Vockeroth and the daytime, family-friendly event between 2:00 and 7:00pm by the natural rock climbing wall behind the Lions Head Pub. It includes:

  • zipline for the kids
  • slackline
  • door prize draw
  • top-ropes on the 11 rock climbing routes located on the natural rock wall
  • silent auction
  • and the always popular Tower of Power competition, which sees competitors try to stack the most number of milk crates while standing on them!

New for this year is the “Battle of the Beach” Bouldering Competition that will take place during the day on Saturday. Pre-registration for that event can be done here.

The fourth component of the festival occurs on Sunday the 24th and features clinics taught by ACMG-registered rock climbing guides. There will be a women’s climbing clinic taught by Jen Olson, an intro to lead climbing course and a rock rescue clinic. And there will also be an organized bouldering tour that will showcase the many areas between The Lion’s Head pub and Syringa Provincial Park.

The Lion’s Head has a family dining license, which allows children to come and go from the restaurant any time before 10:00pm. (They must be accompanied by an adult.) Everyone young and old are welcome at the festival and there is no coverage charge for the daytime event, although, as this is a fundraiser to help pay down the debt that was incurred when TAWKROC purchased Kinnaird Bluffs, donations are welcome. Please note, there will be a $5 cover charge for the evening presentations at the Lion’s Head.