Three years after the first Rock the Blocs took place and this festival just keeps getting bigger and better.
By Andy White – Rock the Blocs Founder and Organizer
It’s strange to think that just a few years back, this event was hatched as a way to get a few more people out enjoying the incredible bouldering in the Okanagan, and more specifically,the Bouderfields. And now, it’s safe to say that Rock the Blocs is one of Canada’s biggest bouldering festivals.
This event was born back in 2013 by a couple Okanagan locals, mainly as a way to pull local climbers off the sport routes and bring the climbing community together to experience the world-class bouldering in The Boulderfields, near Kelowna, BC, while also improving the area.
Now, two years later, this festival has grown into a full, two-day event that draws a significant number of people from all over the world.
In total, this year’s Rock the Blocs saw roughly 250 participants over the course of two days. Participants came from Mexico, Austria, Germany, France, USA, Ontario, and all across Alberta and B.C. to enjoy the event.
Day one of Rock the Blocs is always the big show with the bouldering competition, tons of prizes and development projects. This year, day one did not disappoint.
With over 110 competitors and about 55 spectators and volunteers, The Boulderfields were alive with movement and energy.
People sampled many of the over 135 terrific problems from V0-V12 (with projects above) on the scorecard and dedicated Okanagan boulderers guided climbers to tons of lines only previously seen by locals.
The atmosphere was electric and it was an overall blast. In the end, the open category titles were defended by Miles Adamson and Staci White for the men and women respectively. The category winners were as follows:
Men’s Open- Miles Adamson
Men’s Intermediate- Nikita Taylor
Men’s Beginner- Jonas Scheid
Women’s Open- Staci White
Women’s Intermediate- Kay Nguyen
Women’s Beginner- Aletha Rice
Youth- Evan Johaneson
The second day of Rock the Blocs is usually a lower-key day of bouldering and locals showing other climbers around The Fields. However, this year, Sunday at Rock the Blocs offered much more for participants.
Many experienced, local boulderers offered up their days to provide clinics and guided tours to the roughly 90 people who stayed for day two.
Clinics included Bouldering 101, Women’s Bouldering, The Process of Boulder Development, and several guided tours to problems rarely seen before.
This was the perfect chance for kids and less experienced climbers to connect with more experienced boulderers and for the all-too-often neglected climbing mentor role to be front and centre.
All told, the Rock the Blocs 2015 edition was another massive success. With statements such as “this is a world-class destination,” and “How has this place not blown up yet,” from an increasing number of visiting and local climbers, it seems like the festival is fulfilling its desired outcome.
It’s always amazing to organize and offer this event, but then watch the climbing community really come together, add their energy and make it an incredible experience.
So, if you missed the fest this year, maybe we’ll see you next year, and if you made it to the show this year, we hope to see you back. Who knows how big Rock the Blocs will be by then?
A massive thanks goes out to all the sponsors, local volunteers, and participants for making this festival what it has become!
Watch highlights from Rock the Blocs 2015: