On Sept. 9, Gavin Lake hosted their annual Fall Off the Wall modified bouldering competition.
Bouldering is a lower-risk, rope-free form of rock climbing, with short climbs or “problems” focussing on technique and strength. Climbers use technique and problem-solving to move up or across the feature.
Gavin Lake’s small bouldering wall had 20 unique boulder problems put up for the event that included some with a focus on balance, some focussed on technique, some on strength, and other were just downright fun routes put up by the event host Ben Tudor.
The wall was built by Ben and his dad Mike Tudor, camp manager of Gavin Lake Forestry Camp, with generous support from the community. Throughout the year the cabin is used by students throughout the Cariboo region attending the Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre: a not-for-profit camp that offers free outdoor education programs to local schools and school groups.
Participants for the bouldering event came from Williams Lake, Quesnel, and Kamloops to test their strength. Each route was given a grade, and the harder the grade the more points you would get for finishing it. There were also bonus points if you could “flash” the route which means get to the top on your first try without falling.
The three hardest routes became a focal point as everyone was trying to be the first to finish. One was a strong static route that required great body tension, one was a route that required extreme balance and slow movements, and one was a full body powerhouse climb with an extreme swing and jump known in climbing as a ”dyno.”
“The competition was full of super supportive people. You would get cheers for making hard moves and getting to the top, but you would also get cheers for trying your hardest and falling in the most ungraceful way possible. The whole atmosphere just made everyone want climb at their limits and try the hard stuff,” said Mae Frank, member of the Williams Lake Climbing Association.
After two hours of climbing, the competition ended, and everyone got together and had lunch in the warm September sun. In the end, the top three scorers were Tim Reeves (Quesnel), Christie Pudlas (Quesnel), and Keith Towers (Kamloops). They each received large chocolate bars that were eventually just shared amongst all the participants and hosts. Local Williams Lake Climbing Association members Mae Frank, and Kelsey Miller attended to show support and get some climbs in before the bouldering season starts in Williams Lake.
Williams Lake Secondary School is home to a similar small bouldering wall which will operate this winter from Oct. 3 – May 30 every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. It is run by volunteers from the Williams Lake Climbing Association and it is open for anyone to try and the first visit is free for people who have never tried bouldering before.
The club offers shoes, chalk, and coaching for all ages throughout the school year. They are also holding an Annual General Meeting on Oct. 16 at the climbing gym starting at 5 p.m. for people who are interested in getting involved with the club or have ideas about what the club could do this season.
In preparation for this upcoming season, the gym is getting a reset. All of the climbing holds are being taken down, the walls are being scrubbed, and the routes are being reset. With inspiration from Fall Off The Wall, the volunteers said they have some good ideas for routes everyone can do.
For more information on the Williams Lake Climbing Association, go to their website at wlclimbing.wordpress.com or on Instagram @wlclimbing. The Bouldering Club is located in Williams Lake Secondary School – WL campus. The climbing area is inside the small gym, using the outside stairs from the main parking lot to access the rear doors.