“You are adventurers, you are people who have love for the earth, and so we have more common ground than we would think” – words of Gaisheda Kheawok from Whispering Song Teaching Lodge during the Beaver Valley Climbing Festival’s opening ceremony at Metcalfe Rock. “The earth has a consciousness, and it is talking to you, which is why you came here. It speaks to you and soothes your soul in every way that is right for you. That is really the alchemy of the earth’s consciousness and your consciousness. It is a conversation.” Kheawok’s blessing left everyone feeling high-spirited and gallant for the day’s journey.
The festival, now in its second year, had a large turnout of climbers, curious non-climbers, families and friends. Envisioned and organized by local companies, Free Spirit Tours and On The Rocks, the festival was an amazing success, raising over $6000 to support current and upcoming OAC projects, such as a proposed climber’s parking lot at Devil’s Glen. An even greater success of the event was uniting climbers with land managers and local businesses – a rare opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the Beaver Valley together.
Rock climbing may have been the reason we all gathered together, but it was not the only activity featured in the festival. Throughout the day, alternative activities such as caving, rappelling, and slack-lining were popular, as were the yoga sessions led by Two the Core and the bike demos by Ride Guides. The family-friendly festival offered lots of fun for the young adventurers in attendance with a scavenger hunt, a Kids Survival Camp, and face painting. Of course, being a climbing festival there was plenty of climbing happening – beginner clinics, a training and nutrition session by At Last Adventures, climbing comps, and the Women’s Rock Star clinic put on by festival organizer Leslie Timms.
Metcalfe’s bridge area acted as the central hub for the day’s events. Participants gathered here before venturing out for their clinics. Representatives from the OAC and the Alpine Club of Canada answered questions about climbing and access.
The bridge’s most popular spot was with Sonya Lee Reimer, the massage therapist from Living in Balance. Offering massages at just a dollar a minute it is easy to see why she was fully booked all day, with all the proceeds being donated to the OAC!
The festival volunteers were easy to approach and very personable; the whole atmosphere of the event was warm and welcoming. And the day ran without a hitch, which is a testament to the great organization, energy and commitment put in by everyone involved.
The aerial silk performance by Aerial Silks Collingwood wowed the audience, and wrapped up the activities at Metcalfe Rock. The festival continued at Rob Roy Dogsled Farm with live music and food catered by The Flying Chestnut (a very climber friendly establishment located in Eugenia). Activities continued into the night with the G6 Rock Climbing pull-up competition, and the Canadian National Ice Climbing Team’s figure-4 challenge, which not only raised $155 for the OAC but also created awareness for competition climbing in Canada. It is safe to say that everyone who participated had a great time!
Thank you On The Rocks Climbing and Free Spirit Tours for organizing such a wonderful event in support of the OAC. Thank you to all the sponsors and to those who have put a lot of time and energy into making this amazing festival a reality.
–written by Elli Levene and Justin Dwyer
–photos by Elli Levene and Dennis Barnes