The first ever outdoor bouldering competition in the Kootenays is happening in Castlegar on September 22, 2018. Called the “Battle of the Beach,” the event is being hosted by the Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers and is part of the weekend-long Kootenay Climbing Festival, which has taken place in the city for the past eight years.

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing in which participants scale large boulders, usually no more than six metres or 2o feet high, and protect any falls that may occur using a large foam-filled pad that’s laid on the ground underneath them. It’s an easy sport to get into because all you need is a pair of climbing-specific shoes and a safety pad as opposed to other forms of rock climbing which requires ropes, helmets and other safety gear.

Castlegar is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to rock climbing in British Columbia and that can also be said for the sport of bouldering. There are over 700 problems in the region and most of those are found near Lower Arrow Lake, a short drive west of the city. The three areas that will be a part of the “Battle of the Beach” competition are located on Broadwater Road, just west of the Hugh Keenlyside Dam and include: the Keenlyside Boulders, the Syringa Boulders and the Ponderosa Boulders.

The categories for the “Battle of the Beach” bouldering competition will include the following and all will be co-ed except for Intermediate:

  • Youth
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate Mens & Womens
  • Advanced
  • Expert

There will be a cash entry fee of $15 that helps cover the cost of the event insurance and plenty of prizes. The way it works is there will be a wide variety of boulder problems to choose from at different levels of difficulty and each contestant will receive a scorecard with 125 problems listed by grade and name. Final scores will be tallied by the five best problems, judged on their difficulty level and problems that are very high will earn the competitor an extra point. The meeting spot for the competition will be at 9am on Saturday, September 22nd behind the Lion’s Head Pub in Robson, a five-minute drive from downtown Castlegar. At 10am competitors will then go to the designated boulder areas, climb all day and then return at 5pm to have their scores tallied and prizes awarded.

Click here to register for the event.

The “Battle of the Beach” bouldering event is one in a series of 3 such competitions across British Columbia that happen annually. The first is in Kelowna in June, the second is in Squamish in August and this event in Castelgar in September. Competitors from across the province and neighbouring states and provinces are expected to attend.