Lori, my climbing buddy (we were each other’s first climbing partnersâ€”19 years and going!) mentioned to me that she was heading down to Flatrock, a small town, minutes outside of St. John’s where she was going to be volunteering for the day and invited me. You know I had to go to that.
Flatrock Fest successfully finished up its third consecutive year of inviting regular climbers, folks who’ve never stepped foot on a climbing wall or rockface, and the others who have been itching to try outdoor climbing. For fifteen bucks you show up, get the gear supplied to you, sit in on sessions, and climb til your hearts content for a full day of climbing and rappelling, down at Flatrock.
Wallnuts Climbing Centre, amongst many more sponsors helped out in executing the event held by the Alpine Club of Canada. There were goodie bags handed out to the first 50 climbers who signed up. Inside the bags were a variety of prAna tee’s, chalk bags, Rock & Ice magazine, and a rock climbing DVD. I was not one of the lucky contenders to sign up in advance, plus I was volunteering so I didn’t think it was fair for me to grab one from a lucky attendee. I sure wanted one though! I did end up getting a sweet door prize (Evolve boulder brush) and a Black Diamond cam keychain.
It has rained continuously throughout my trip back home in Newfoundland, but we lucked out weather wise and had a fantastic day down on the rock with over 150 people in attendance. The guys from Wallnuts worked hard putting the event together, with more than 20 top ropes for people to get on and climb.
Leo (the owner of Wallnuts, who is like an older brother to me. My brother and him go “way back”) ended up staying overnight in a tent down at Flatrock the night before the fest, working hard putting everything together for a successful day. I was told he knew the tide wouldn’t be coming in throughout night, so he was safe and sound. Still wouldn’t be me down there, scary stuff!
Lori set up the rappelling stationÂ â€” which I had a go at multiple times. It scared the crap out of me, since I don’t regularly climb outdoors, if anything I boulder.Â But after a few tries I easily got over the fear of leaning bum back over a cliff and use an ATC to rappel down. That’s me getting ready to go!
There was a special guest this year, Black Diamond sponsored climber J.P Ouellet was there giving a few talks throughout the day on trad climbing. I sat in on one of his two sessions (can you spot me?), and asked a handful of questions. (photo from ACCNL)
I felt a bit silly at first when he asked everyone in the group how long they’ve been climbing. Some answered 5 days, a few months and up to a few years. He pointed at me and I squirmed, answering “ninteen years”Â â€” and here I am sitting in on a beginners session on how to use cams, nuts, and bolts. J.P was pretty great, funny and informative with his talk at Flatrock, so I’m glad I sat down to enjoy it.
I’ll leave you with a few more photos that I took throughout the day at Flatrock Fest:
I’m glad I was home at the perfect time for the Flatrock Fest, and hopefully I’ll be back next summer for the fourth year.