Although technically there is some competition involved, the seventh-annual Ibex Valley Bouldering Festival on Sunday will, once again, have the relaxed atmosphere climbers have come to expect from the event.
“This year is pretty much the same as last year, but there are a few differences,” said organizer Sierra Allen. “We’re trying to do a little bit more of a low key sort of thing, so we won’t have food and hopefully people will bring their own.”
Apart from the circuit of boulders that will be climbed, the festival will also offer slacklining, juggling, live music, tightrope walking – perhaps on a highline five metres off the ground from one boulder to the next – and other activities for people of all ages.
For the second year in a row organizers are also offering a dyno competition, which drew a large crowd last year. In the dyno, climbers basically leap – perform “dynamic” maneuvers – from one hold to another. In each round, the second hold is incrementally moved farther from the starting hold.
“Generally we’ve been focused on that part of the valley, but there are more boulders if you drive further down the road,” said Allen. “People, if they want and they have their own vehicle, can rive farther on and check out new stuff if they’ve climbed the boulders that are right there. If they are looking for something new and interesting.”
Sunday’s festival, held in the Ibex Valley, will begin at 10 a.m. To get there, take the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction, turn south onto the Old Alaska Highway, go past Scout Lake and follow signs from there. It is recommended those driving cars arrive early to catch rides from those with four-wheel-drive vehicles.
“The road is better now, so most people will be able to go in,” said Allen. “But if people need to get a ride they can come early and catch a ride with somebody else.
“I wouldn’t take my car in. Preferably a four-wheel drive vehicle for the last part.”
More than 100 climbers attended last year’s festival.
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