Squamish Mountain Festival 2013
With the Stawamus Chief – an impressive wall of rock that dominates the Squamish, BC landscape – as a backdrop, the climbing world is set to gather for the 8th annual Squamish Mountain Festival from July 17th to the 21st. The festival is a celebration of climbing culture and community for enthusiasts of all abilities. There will be clinics, films, demonstrations, presentations, and competitions.
Squamish is a world-renowned spot for climbers seeking to test their skills and explore routes, but the festival will also appeal to armchair athletes, with international adventure films and guest speakers. One of those speakers is Arc'athlete Craig DeMartino, an accomplished climber who experienced a horrific fall and serious personal challenges in its aftermath. He believes that climbing is hardwired within him, "If I don't climb, I feel like I'm not doing what I was made to do." With a first ascent of El Cap in Yosemite on a team of all disabled climbers under his belt, he thinks that although others may perceive what he does as scary, for him it's quite the opposite. "The higher the better! I love that airy feeling you get on a wall, with the birds flying past and just air round."
DeMartino will be attending Squamish Mountain Festival to share his inspirational stories, meet people, and be a part of something that brings an opportunity to try something new, "The event is not just about climbing; it's about exploration and adventure. Two things I feel like people are really missing in our over connected, fast–paced world. It will inspire you to get out and experience life for yourself!"
With any luck, DeMartino will meet climbing visionary Wayne Merry, part of the climbing team credited with the first ascent of the Nose of El Cap in 1958, a time when it was considered un-climbable. Merry will present a slideshow on how he and partner Wayne Harding made it to the top in 12 days, using rudimentary gear, without energy bars or fleece. Merry carried his water in a large paint-thinner can, "and it tasted like hell." Now that's adventure!
But there are also lower-elevation aspects to climbing. Hailing from the UK, Arc'athlete Mina Leslie-Wujastyk is a rising star in the world of bouldering who feels that she would be lost without the sport. "It gives me focus, inspiration, motivation, and of course, great happiness. I have met my closest friends, seen amazing places, and had my most moving experiences through climbing." Leslie-Wujastyk will be bringing along her love for the simplicity of bouldering when she presents at this year's festival.
Films are another aspect that truly embrace the community as a whole and make the Squamish event unique. Corey Rich's film "Deep North" tells the story of a first ascent in Alaska's Arrigetch Peaks, where the filmmaker, videographer, and four climbers document their expedition for the Discovery Channel.
Organizer Ivan Hughes sums it up this way, "Climbing is about adventure, the outdoors, and community. Climbing allows you to live an adventure at whatever level you're comfortable with, it gets you outside in the fresh air in some of the most stunning situations that you would never find yourself in otherwise. The community is supportive and climbers really want to help others take up the sport."
The Squamish Mountain Festival runs July 17-21 in Squamish, British Columbia. A complete schedule and tickets for the events, clinics, and films are available at SquamishMountainFestival.com.