On Saturday, September 16 - less than a week away! - Alberta's greatest outdoor bouldering festival / competition, the Tour de Frank, will take place at Frank Slide in the Crowsnest Pass!
Whether you have only climbed outside a few times, just love climbing, or are a serious competitive boulderer, the Tour de Frank has something for you! It is a great opportunity to get outside and climb at Alberta's biggest bouldering area. You can find all the information about the event (including where it is located) in the Information Package here. If you are 17 or younger, your guardian/parent will have to fill out a long-form waiver, found here.
What Can You Expect at the Tour de Frank?
The Tour de Frank takes the form of a competitive event, but the focus is on fun, exploring the Slide, and climbing with your friends. While you can find more information on the Climbing Life Blog (here, where you can also find a link to the information sheet), the day of the Tour de Frank will run as follows...
- In the morning, participants will being to arrive from across Alberta and BC. The 'front desk' table will be set up in the boulders by about 9:30, with free coffee and pastries. There should be flagging to guide you from the highway parking lot to the 'front desk'.
- When you arrive at the front desk, we'll provide you with a registration slip (which doubles as your ticket for prizes), and a score sheet, which lists all of the problems (routes) that are included in this year's TdF. The problems range from 'incredibly easy' to 'brutally hard', but all have been selected to provide you with a great bouldering experience! Pick a category, and get ready!
- We'll start the orientation at 10:45. At 11:00 the horn will go off, and you will have 6 hours to climb all you want! We'll have mini-guidebooks to help you find the problems on the list, and there will be several volunteers to help participants find problems they want to try.
- At 5:00, the horn will go off, and you'll return to the 'front desk', add up the score for the hardest five problems you climbed during the day, and turn in your score sheet. While we determine the category winners, we'll have draw prizes for the competitors; we've got a stack of great prizes to give away.
- If you don't have a bouldering pad, don't worry; we will have some to loan out. You should definitely have climbing shoes, though, it can be hard to have fun on the boulders of Frank Slide without them.
- If you don't want to climb competitively, that's OK with us! You'll still need to sign in, but if you're new to climbing outdoors you might want to participate in our "Introduction to Outdoor Bouldering" seminar. If you just want to climb with your friends for the day, that's fine too!
Our Sponsors? Amazing!
This year we have 14 sponsors (!) supporting the event! Climbing gyms, retail outlets, and distributors from across Alberta and southern BC are sponsoring the event with a ton of prizes! So if you walk away with free swag after the 2017 TdF, you have them to thank! Awesome Adventures (Lethbridge), Flashed Climbing, Friction Labs, Trailhead (Red Deer), ARQ Mountain Center (Cranbrook), Outdoor Research, Static Climbing Bags, Osprey, Rock Jungle Fitness (Edmonton), Grand Wall Equipment, Bolder (Calgary), Outside All Day (bringing you not just prizes but the new Frank Slide Bouldering tees), Spry (Crowsnest Pass), and Calgary Climbing Center (Calgary) have all stepped up to support the event! Throw a little support back their way!
Cost of the Tour de Frank? Nothing!
Now in its fourth year, the Tour de Frank remains a free event! It has certainly grown over the years, however, and we do incur some costs (advertising, free coffee and pastries for competitors, etc.). If you'd like to donate a few dollars to help support the event just talk to the people at the sign-in table, or purchase one of our amazing new 'Frank Slide Bouldering' t-shirts (we'll have them for sale at the TdF). Thanks for your support!
A Word About Parking
As always, parking at the Tour de Frank is a concern. There is a fair bit of parking at the main parking lot on the highway at the eastern edge of the Slide on the south side of the road (about 500m west of the Fas Gas gas station and the A&W) be sure to angle park to save room. It seems likely that this parking lot will fill up this year, however!
The best option to avoid this is to carpool to the TdF! If you're driving from Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer, or SE BC, it makes sense to share a car and split the gas money.
If you arrive, and the parking lot is full, you have a couple of options.
First, there is a lot of street parking in the town of Frank (just 500m to the west). You could drop your pads (and passengers?) off at the parking lot, drive into Frank and park, and then walk back to the parking lot.
Second (and maybe even better) is to use the parking lot at the Frank Slide Interpretive Center above the Slide. It is a bit of a walk (about 1.5 km) between the Interpretive Center parking lot and the highway parking lot, though, so with a little planning it would make sense to drop your pads off at the lower parking lot, then get someone to help you shuttle your car up to the upper parking lot.
...And Finally, A Word About The Weather
The weather forecast for this Saturday is sunny and cool - perfect fall bouldering weather! If the weather somehow turns TERRIBLE (for example, rain all day) or the local wildfires get out of control (and close down the entire Crowsnest Valley), we may have to reschedule the event. Check the Facebook event page on Friday if you are concerned. But it seems that the weather forecast for the weekend is good, so far!
See you at the Tour de Frank!