Valdez, AK – Local efforts to establish this rural Alaska community as a hub of ice and rock climbing have gotten a boost from the American Alpine Club. The AAC, this country’s leading authority and respected resource for all things climbing, is partnering with Valdez non-profit Levitation 49 to host events that both celebrate the ice climbing history and look toward the future of climbing development in Valdez.
The American Alpine Club is the new title sponsor of the venerable Valdez Ice Climbing Festival and the newly founded and fast-growing Valdez Rock Climbing Festival. Both events are productions of Levitation 49, a non-profit sports commission serving Valdez and the surrounding area.
“Denali, the Alaksa Range and Wrangells have long been pivotal springboards for cutting edge alpinism around the world. Levitation 49’s commitment to conservation and sustainable development as it builds the climbing reputation oaf Valdez aligns with American Alpine Club values,” said AAC Western States Manager Eddie Espinosa. “I’m sure other climbers, especially in the Northwest Region, will be as eager as I am to check out these events.”
The AAC Valdez Ice Climbing Festival is scheduled Feb. 12 – 15. Since it’s inception in 1983, the festival has attracted world-class ice climbers from around the globe. The legendary multi-pitch ice pillars of Keystone Canyon are the focal point of this four-day President’s Day weekend festival that features clinics, competitions, films, an epic bonfire and more.
Festival co-founder and Valdez climbing pioneer Brian Teale is pleased about the renewed interest in ice climbing in Valdez. “The rebirth of the ice festival is a welcome evolution that will help set the stage for greater visibility, awareness and success for climbing in and around Valdez,” Teale said. “It’s an honor to have the American Alpine Club shine a spotlight on the largely undiscovered gem that is Valdez.”
As the seasons turn, the AAC Valdez Rock Climbing Festival is a harbinger of summer. Thanks in large part to prolific route development by Levitation 49 founder and President Nick Weicht, Valdez is now the third most developed rock climbing destination in Alaska. Scheduled May 27 – 30, over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the event showcases more than 70 new routes and the incredible opportunity for future development around Valdez’s glacier-cut valleys. Camping and slacklining under the midnight sun on Thompson Pass kicks off the first night’s festivities followed by a weekend full of clinics, comps, climbing, music, L49’s signature bonfire celebration and more.
“I am completely humbled by the trust Eddie [Espinosa] and the American Alpine Club has put in Levitation 49,” Weicht said. “I can’t thank the AAC family enough for believing in us and sharing in our vision for making Valdez a five-star year-round climbing destination.”
About Levitation 49
Levitation 49 is dedicated to economic diversification through the promotion and development of events and projects that support the mountain sports lifestlye in Valdez, AK. In all its endeavors, the organization is committed to conservation, sustainability and responsible stewardship.
About The American Alpine Club
Founded in 1902, the American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community. The AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events and much more. The Club’s Northwest Region attracts climbing supporters from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and most of Idaho. Learn about all the Club’s programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org. Join the AAC’s online community at facebook.com/americanalpineclub.