Sunday evening bought an end to what many say was the best Squamish Mountain Festival on record. Perfect weather and great attendance made this year’s annual five-day celebration of climbing culture a huge success. The 2010 Festival, running from July 14th - 18th, included three nights of climbing films and speakers, climbing clinics with guides and pros, the “Steep Shot Photo Contest”, a trade fair including demo gear, a “West is Best” cowboy-themed party and several other fun free events.
Day 1 of the Fest, “Oh, Canada Night” was kicked off with fantastic slideshows and storytelling by Barry Blanchard and Five Ten climber Jason Kruk. Also screening that evening was the highly entertaining film “Hey, Presto”, featuring Five Ten climber Sonnie Trotter and “professional” belayer Cory Richards, who team up for a bold traditional ascent of Presto, a difficult local route.
After a perfect day of climbing, Day 2 of the Fest brought the much-anticipated Steep Shot Photo Contest, hosted by the Howe Sound Brewing Company. The event, MC’d by Five Ten’s own Scott Milton, featured six professional adventure photographers, including John Walsh, Phil Tifo, Andy Mann, John Dickey, Paul Bride and last year’s winner Andrew Burr. The photos were amazing, sending the crowd into loud fits of cheering and jeering. When the dust settled, it was local Paul Bride who took top spot.
Day 3 featured more stellar weather and found most participants out at the crags by day, and rolling into the Eagle Eye Theatre by night. With live presentations by Royal Robbins and Tommy Caldwell, as well as films featuring groundbreaking ascents by Alex Honnold and Dean Potter, the “Big Wall Climbing Night” was sold out and packed with climbers fresh from the rock.
Day 4 kicked off with an early start for volunteers, who took on several trail and crag projects with the help of MEC and the Climbers’ Access Society of BC. People also gathered early to participate in climbing clinics with certified guides and pros. The lively vendor trade fair at the Squamish Adventure Centre allowed the public to check out the newest gear and demo some new Five Ten Footwear. It also acted as a rallying point for the afternoon’s activities. First up was the Maxim Tug o’ War, which pitted teams of four against each other in a battle to win a rope for each member. Our team, “Team BEEFCAKE!!!” (the name says it all), easily slayed all players.
Next up was yoga in the park which was well attended and and provided sharp contrast to the “Five Ten is the New Four Twenty” dodgeball game. Five Ten reps Dave Kassel and Ronnie Jenkins as well as Scott Milton and myself organized a riotous game of Dodgeball, which saw Team Milton take the title from Team Fieldhouse in the best of seven battles. All participants had a great time and walked away with Five Ten T-shirts from the event.
Later that night climbers again filled the theatre to watch films and gut-busting multi-media presentations by Five Ten climber Cedar Wright and Rob Pizem. The night ended with the sold out “West is Best” party which whipped the crowd into a frenzy with great music and exciting draw prizes and shwag tosses.
Day 5, the final day of the festival, was once again beautiful and participants rallied at the vendor trade fair for their clinics. Later that afternoon there was more yoga in the park and a volunteer BBQ to say thanks to those who gave their time to help make this year’s festival such a success. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.