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Recap – Kootenay Climbing Festival 2015

It’s amazing to think the Kootenay Climbing Festival has entered its fourth year. This past Sunday, September 20, the TAWKROC directors again returned to the natural rock climbing wall behind the Lions Head Pub in Robson, BC, and set up a zipline for the kids, slackline, door prize draw, 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 was the kid climbing wall (affectionately referred to as the route “Underage Drinking,” as well as the story-telling competition at the end of the night in which competitors told tales based on the theme “Epic” and were awarded prizes.

The Kootenay Climbing Festival 2015 also included an excellent presentation by guest speaker Ian Welsted who talked about his various mountaineering adventures around the world and described what it took to win the prestigious Piolet D’Or award.

Over 200 moms, dads, kids and climbers visited the festival that lasted from 2pm until 9pm. The event is hosted by TAWKROC, a chapter of the Access Society of BC, and its mandate is to promote outdoor climbing and raise funds for new route development in the region.

Huge thanks go out to this year’s sponsors: CASBC, Vpo Nelson, Powderhound, ROAM, Snowpack, High Country Sports, Summit Mountain Guides, Black Diamond and Kootenay Meadows.

Record Numbers Attend Kootenay Climbing Festival

I was happy to be involved with organizing TAWKROC’s third annual Kootenay Climbing Festival this past weekend.  A record number of kids came out and at one point there was a child on every single top rope on the wall. So awesome!  It was held at the Lion’s Head Pub in Robson and the events included a zipline, slackline, sport climbs on the crag behind the pub and the ever-popular “Tower of Power” crate stacking contest. Here’s a link that explains more about the event and below is a gallery of images taken throughout the day.

Ode to a 7 Year Old Riding a Bucking Bronco

There’s a black and white photograph in a prominent spot in my office because it’s one of the most inspiring I’ve ever seen. In it a blond-haired boy with large ears, who looks to be about seven, wears a striped T-shirt, baggy jeans, and the biggest shit-eating grin I’ve ever seen on a child.

And he’s riding an extremely agitated bucking bronco.

Although not a large horse, the beast is definitely bigger than a pony and it’s in mid-flight – head down, maw agape, all points off the ground. Meanwhile, the kid has one hand in the air and the other grasps a halter that’s wrapped around the horse’s snout. His limbs look like smooth pipe cleaners except for one vein popping out of his left forearm – a hint of strength to come. There isn’t a helmet in sight, nor is there evidence of kneepads, gloves, corral fences, safety nets or concerned-looking adults. It’s just a photograph of a happy child riding a pissed-off steed.

To say this is an incredible scene is an understatement. For one, I don’t know too many pre-pubescent boys who ride bucking broncos. And I certainly don’t know any who, while riding said bronco, have the audacity to stare directly into the photographer’s lens with a smile and gaze that say, “Yeah, I’m owning this.”

With that one look, this one scene, we get a glimpse at everything the seven-year-old is going to grow up to be: fearless, adventurous, cocky, fun, strong, confident, and, it goes without saying, one excellent horse wrangler.

I keep this photo nearby to remind me that this is exactly what life is about ­– it’s pure excitement, thrill and adventure. It is, quite literally, “unadulterated” – no adults, no dilution, just a sense of absolute joy.

Thank you, Monty, for being such an inspiration. This photo may have been taken over 60 years ago, but I still recognize in you an undiluted passion to experience anything and everything. You grab life by the reigns and even when things get rough and you get bucked around a little, we know you’re enjoying­­­ the ride.