Climbers hang around at bouldering fest

Costa Rica and the Yukon have few things in common, but after Sunday one more thing can be added to the list.

Costa Rica and the Yukon have few things in common, but after Sunday one more thing can be added to the list.

Climbers of all levels witnessed and participated in the territory’s first-ever dyno competition held at the sixth annual Ibex Valley Bouldering Festival.

“It’s common fare at bouldering festivals these days,” said Ethan Allen, one of the festival organizers.

The Allen family, which hosts the festival each year, also travels to Costa Rica during the winter to host a bouldering festival there. With a successful dyno competition in Costa Rica, they decided to try one at the Ibex festival.

“The first time we did it was in Costa Rica, so we were like, ‘Let’s try it in the Yukon, see how it goes,’” said Sierra Allen.

Unlike the rest of the festival, in which rock-climbers scaled large boulders of varying degrees of difficulty, the dyno competition took place on an artificial climbing wall. In the dyno, climbers basically leap from one hold to another. In each round the second hold is incrementally moved farther from the starting hold.

Completing the largest “dynamic” move was Boris Kropaci, winning the competition in the men’s division. Kropaci was followed by Carlin Val and Robin Urquhart in third.

Taking first for the women was Debbie Ray, out-leaping second-place Annick Chasse. In the kids’ division, Allen Mark topped Cole Sinclair.

Although there were “oohs” and “aahs” from the spectators during the dyno, the festival’s organizers tried to emphasize a noncompetitive atmosphere at the festival.

“We’re trying to keep it as noncompetitive as possible,” said Sierra. “People just go around and climb what they can. Everybody is just out here having fun, climbing their hardest and hanging out with friends.

“Every year it gets better.”

Over 100 climbers came out for the event, but unfortunately, so did some rain clouds in the late afternoon, leading to the cancellation of the slacklining demonstration. However, some lucky spectators did get to see Matthias Wendling do a practice run earlier in the day, successfully walking across the slackline five metres off the ground between tall boulders. He was harnessed in, but it was still unnerving, said Wendling.

“I’m always scared at the beginning, but once you complete the line it’s such a good feeling of success, you just want to do it again,” said Wendling, who’s visiting from Germany. “It’s a good feeling.”

During last year’s slackline demonstration, no one successfully made it from one end to the other without falling.

“I’ve been doing it for a year—it usually takes two weeks of practise to walk on it,” said Wendling. “It’s pretty important that you have your arms above your head, to keep your weight in the centre, and don’t look at the rope—the rope is moving all the time and that confuses you. Have a look at the tree or rock you tie it to, that’s way easier.

“And just be relaxed on it. Get everything out of your brain and relax.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

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