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

This is the seventh year the Festival has been held at the Lion’s Head Pub, the only restaurant and bar in North America with a natural climbing cliff in its backyard.  Hosted by the Association of West Kootenay Rock Climbers (TAWKROC), this year’s event will feature family-friendly activities, presentations by Olson and Vockeroff, climbing clinics and the first-ever outdoor bouldering competition in the Kootenays.

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 and the world. 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.

The family-friendly event will take place 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!

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.