Idaho Mountain Festival

This year marks my 3rd year attending the Idaho Mountain Festival in as many years as it has been going on. Located in Castle Rock SP and City of Rocks SP, the festival offers plenty to do for climbers, trail runners, and Mountain Bikers alike. It typically takes place on the 3rd week of September each year and runs from Thursday through Sunday morning.

campThis year I arrived on Thursday early to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful vistas. The place was already a buzz with people setting up their tents in the “tent city” and the vendors displaying their products. Each year vendors will bring out their latest product to showcase and demo. Many people take advantage of this by demo’ing headlamps for night climbs and runs and shoes for climbing and running.

By Thursday evening, the place was filling up. With 300 in attendance, there was plenty of conversation to be had. Professional climbers mingled through and gave others the opportunity to learn some tips and tricks.

imageI began my Friday morning with a trail run lead by my teammate. Our group was large and had a variety of ability levels. Some were climbers, some new runners, and some seasoned trail runners. We split the group up and I took the faster runners. We headed out and took a moment near the top of the trail to take in the gorgeous morning sunrise. As we finished our run, the some of the climbing workshops were beginning. Attendance was high at each and afterwards, people took to the rocks to practice what they just learned.

roadWeather thoughout the day on Friday was nice and perfect for climbing and running, however, the late afternoon brought some threatening clouds. By dusk, the rain began. In between the breaks of the rain, several games were played from, bucket tug-o-war to Ice Ax pullups. As the sun dropped, the heavy rain began. Fortunately, the park had just built a new covered picnic area where we all gathered to watch Valley Uprising; a movie documenting the rise of climbing in Yosemite.

rainbowSaturday morning brought us the King of the Castle 10K trail race. It was dry and the weather was perfect for running. We set out and enjoyed the views of Castle Rock as we ran the trails around it. I was happy to finish first and the rain was just beginning again as I crossed the finish line.

The remainder of Saturday saw mostly rain. That did not stop some from heading out to get a climb in. Those who decided not to headed to the Hot Springs in Almo or Rock City to have pizza and beer. Nothing could have put a damper on the fun all had. Saturday evening’s festivities went on even with the rain and included a live band. A lot of raffle prizes were given out by the generous sponsors. (Mountain Khakis was a big hit!)

It was another successful year for the Idaho Mountain Festival. Everyone always enjoys mingling and learning from the nation’s top climbers and trail runners. It is always a great group of people in attendance and one I hope to be able to attend next year.