André Mahé is hoping some visitors to Festival du Voyageur will scale new heights this weekend.
The Normand Park resident is president of the St. Boniface Section of the Alpine Club of Canada, which will hold Festiglace de Saint-Boniface 2013 between Fri., Feb. 15 and Sun., Feb. 17 on Messager Street near Fort Gibraltar.
The three-day event will take place at the site of the club’s floodlit 20-metre manmade ice tower, a focal point on the horizon that members love to climb.
Beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, there will be climbing, ice sculptures, a teepee, a bonfire and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Some individuals will also camp at the tower for the night.
Saturday events will include two ice climbing competitions — the North Face Difficulty Competition and the Mountain Equipment Co-op Speed Competition.
Mahé said while participants don’t need to be club members to participate in the events, individuals should register as soon as possible due to space restrictions.
"For the difficulty competition, we’ll set up routes on the ice depicted by red markings. The routes will be restricted by limited space and there will be features that could be difficult, which could include either natural features or no features to help the climber," Mahé said, noting there will competitions for both men and women.
Sunday festivities will include the Wilderness Supply Co. Alpine Tournament team event: "The tournament will be fun and include six events and challenges related to mountaineering, but they will all take place on the ground."
As well, there will be a chance for individuals to try ice climbing for $10 a shot. The club will supply all necessary equipment. "A lot of people want the chance to see what it’s like to climb vertically," Mahé said.
On both weekend days, there will also be the Great Axe Throw event — a fundraiser for the Nepalese Education Fund. Both days will end with awards and prizes.
The Club d’escalade de Saint-Boniface (CESB) was formed in January 1993 and later that year it joined the Alpine Club of Canada, changed to its current name and became the first francophone section of the ACC, Mahé said.
The volunteer-based club promotes different outdoor activities, such as wall, rock and ice climbing, hiking and an annual week-long trip to the Canadian Rockies.
"We have our roots here in St. Boniface and our goal is to promote climbing as an activity to be enjoyed by everyone we facilitate," Mahé said.
"We want to be an inclusive club. Our executive meets in French and includes people who aren’t French, but who can speak it."
Club member Rick Wood enjoys different aspects of ice climbing.
"I enjoy the activity, but mostly enjoy the people in the climbing community," said Wood, who lives in Osborne Village and has been climbing for six years.
"I also like the fact that it’s a personal challenge, rather than a competitive one."
For more information, visit www.cesb.net.