After a long absence, the Lillooet area will be the location for an Ice Climbing Festival later this month, ice and weather permitting.
The Festival is scheduled to begin Friday, Jan. 18 with an opening social at Abundance Artisan Bakery from 7 to 10 p.m.
After early morning coffee at Abundance on Saturday, Jan. 19, the climbers will hit the ice at Marble Canyon from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The climbing is open to all.
That will be followed by an evening “Beers and Slide shows” social Saturday night at the Royal Canadian Legion starting at 7 p.m. Emcees for the gathering are Paul McSorley and former Lillooet resident Lyle Knight, who wrote a seminal and comprehensive book on climbing in B.C., “Central BC Rock: The Rockclimber’s Guide to Central British Columbia,” published in 1996.
Sunday, Jan. 20 will be climbing the ice at Bridge River Canyon at the “Old Dogs/New Picks” area where a warming station will be set up. Climbing in the canyon is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.
Lillooet is one of the main centres for ice climbing in B.C. and Marble Canyon Provincial Park has one of the best and most accessible ice falls in the region. So far, more than 50 climbers have indicated they will participate in the event.
After climbing in the Marble Canyon, climber/blogger Brooke Warren wrote, “Climbing the wall fully equipped with ice tools and crampons looks like an easy feat. Yet once you are balanced on steel tips from each limb of your body, the difficulty of scaling a waterfall becomes apparent. Maybe the challenge arises from the fact that climbing up waterfalls is a completely unnatural place for humans to be. Why on earth would someone think about climbing frozen water? Well, because it's fun, and probably the hardest aspect of climbing you can encounter.”
The Festival is organized by The Vertical Life.