On a normal long weekend, over 1,000 rock climbers flock to the Skaha Bluffs Park.
However, this isn’t any normal long weekend as Penticton’s most popular climbing location is expected to have more for the Skaha Climbing Festival.
Lyndie Hill, festival co-ordinator, said there is a buzz amongst the rock climbing community for this event that is part of a 100-year celebration of adventure in the province.
“There is a lot more than just the climbing happening,” she said.
On Friday there will be a presentation by B.C. Parks and Mountain Equipment Co-op with a guest speaker and renowned climber Will Stanhope. There will also be exhibits and the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival. Saturday brings competitions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public can also see exhibits and demos from various sponsors. In the evening, three-time Olympian Steve Omischl will speak as well as local climber Howie Richardson and Beth Rodden. Sunday has competition finals with more exhibits and demos. Delhi 2 Dublin will perform near the gazebo at Skaha Lake. Monday will conclude with clinics at the bluffs with Rodden and Stanhope for competition winners.
“The competitions are just cool to watch for people too,” she said. “I’m sure it will be a good turnout. If people have never climbed before and they want to try it, it’s a great thing to do with your kids. A cheap way to let your kids try something like that out.”
Hill added they would like to do the festival again, but that will largely depend on the success of the weekend and how many people go see the speakers.
“We really need to get people out to those speakers,” she said, adding that fundraising efforts and sponsors have covered the other costs. “It’s the only thing that costs anything throughout the festival.”
The provincial celebrations are a promotion through B.C. Parks and its partnership with MEC.