2021 Frank Slide Cleanup Day was a Huge Success!

(all the good photos below thanks to Grzegorz Tos, follow him here: https://www.instagram.com/tosgrzegorz/)

The 2021 Frank Slide Cleanup Day was a huge success! SABA would like to thank every one of the nearly 100 climbers who came out on Saturday (June 5, 2021) to volunteer to pick up garbage and make Frank Slide a cleaner place!

This Cleanup Day initially was planned to be a garbage and litter cleanup of the climbing areas, but it became quickly apparent that there was already next to NO garbage in the actual climbing areas, so the efforts of volunteers were turned to cleaning up those areas of the Slide that see the most travelers and other visitors (the rocky areas adjacent to the highway parking lots, the hiking trails through the Slide, and gravel access roads in the southern part of the Slide).

As volunteers arrived, they were provided with a small map which showed them their ‘Designated Cleanup Area’ and then given an industrial-size garbage bag so they could quickly be on their way. The cleanup areas were assigned so that volunteers could stick only with the small group they had arrived with. This allowed us to minimize the size of the gathering and to follow COVID protocols for the event.

After the volunteers had combed through the areas near the Slide, the final tally of garbage that was removed was astounding: 61 bags of trash, 6 old mattresses, and two truckloads of assorted metal and tires! This included a huge number of disposable drink cups; Tim Hortons’ cups were certainly one of the most ubiquitous items found! After dropping off their collected trash, everyone headed out to enjoy a sunny afternoon of bouldering.

A couple of key takeways from this event:

  1. Despite the massive increase in climbers visiting the Slide in the last year or two, climbers are doing a great job of keeping the climbing areas we visit super clean and tidy. People are packing out what they pack in, and being good members of the community and stewards of this awesome place we all love to climb in.
  2. We can make a huge impact to help out the community! To our knowledge this was the largest volunteer “community cleanup” ever organized for the Slide area by a recreation group, and the amount of garbage we were able to remove speaks for itself.

SABA would like to extend huge thanks to Flashed Climbing of Calgary, who sponsored the Frank Slide Cleanup Day! They provided giveaways (brushes and bags of chalk) that made everyone’s day a lot brighter, and one lucky climber left with a custom Hueco Pad from Flashed!

We would also like to thank the staff of the Frank Slide Historic Site for helping us with the planning of the event, and the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass for waiving the landfill fees for the truckloads of trash that were picked up.The feedback from some local businesses and residents both in person and online was also very positive, thanking climbers for their efforts.

Thanks again to everyone who came out! This really set a great tone for future community stewardship events. We hope to see you in the Slide!

SABA AGM: Feb 12th, 2021 at 7pm

Due to COVID19, we’re doing a virtual AGM. If you are a member of SABA you should have received an email with the link and the agenda. If you didn’t get an email, but are a member of SABA and would like to attend, please send us an email at southernalbertabouldering@gmail.com and we’ll make sure you get the login information.

Hope to see you online on Feb 12th at 7pm!


Welcome to 2021: SABA Update

With the insanity of the summer and COVID19 travel / gathering restrictions, it was a regrettable necessity to not be able to run the 2020 Tour de Frank Climbing Festival. We hope that 2021 will bring calmer waters for everything, climbing included… and maybe the 2021 TdF will be able to run, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

In the intervening time, SABA will be announcing it’s “digitial / remote AGM” via zoom sometime soon. Stay tuned for a date, it’ll be posted here along with a link and on the Southern Alberta / Rockies Bouldering facebook page.

Stay healthy everyone, and happy climbing in 2021!


2020 Tour de Frank Announced!

Mark your calendars! After a highly successful 2019 Tour de Frank (being both the largest Tour de Frank festival to date, and the most number of climbers ever in the Frank Slide at one time!), SABA is very pleased to announce that the 2020 Tour de Frank has been scheduled for September 12th, 2020. More details will follow of course closer to the event date, but plan on throwing down on the best bouldering in Alberta on that weekend!

SABA is pleased to present this event with the ongoing co-operation and generous support of the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and the Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Heritage Division/Historic Sites and Museums Branch.

2019 Tour de Frank Recap

This post originally was authored by SABA exec Trent Hoover and appeared on his personal blog http://theclimbinglife.blogspot.com/

Several years ago, the Tour de Frank was conceived by fellow Frank Slide ‘local’ Mark Derksen and I during one of the long drives home from Frank Slide after a day of bouldering in the enormous field of limestone blocks.  Initially, we thought it would be fun to keep a running tally of the most difficult problems climbed by all the Frank Slide regulars in a season.  That idea, of course, was not particularly practical.  Fortunately for the climbers of Southern Alberta, the idea was  eventually reborn as the Tour de Frank Bouldering Festival – an inclusive event that celebrates bouldering in the Canadian Rockies.  Now in its fourth year (with one additional year cancelled due to wildfires in the area), the Tour de Frank has grown into a unique climbing festival showcasing the amazing limestone bouldering in the Crowsnest Pass.

This year’s TdF Poster (featuring Mark D. on Checkmate (V8); huge thanks to all the sponsors!

The Tour de Frank (TdF) Bouldering Festival is structured like an outdoor climbing competition, with several categories (Youth (ages 11 and under), Junior (12-16), Beginner, Experienced, and Open) that competitors can enter.  However, the real focus of the TdF is to get people out to enjoy the excellent climbing in Canada’s largest limestone bouldering area (although, of course, competition among groups of friends can get pretty fierce, and there is a certain amount of prestige associated with capturing one of the Open titles).  This year’s TdF ran on September 7, with a scorecard that featured a selected list of 131 problems (from V0- to V12) in the House, Wild West, Frictionary, Heart of Frank, City of Giants, and Commodore sectors of the Slide.  Many new problems were included on this year’s card, including Mark Derksen’s Checkmate (V8), and the fantastic new moderate line 12 Hours to Squamish (V3/4).  

Climbers heading out into the boulderfield: undoubtedly the most people climbing in Frank Slide in a single day in history!

On Saturday morning climbers arriving at the Frank Slide Interpretive Center (used as the staging area for this year’s TdF) were greeted by free coffee and pastries, ask to sign a waiver, and given a scorecard.  At 11:00, the rules of the event were explained to the growing throng of climbers, and then after a blast of an air horn everyone headed out into the boulders for six hours of climbing!  With a record number of competitors (over 150!) from across the region, this year’s TdF was a huge success.  Several volunteer guides were on site in the boulder field, helping climbers find problems of any style and difficulty they wanted to attempt. As the day warmed up, climbers scrambled through the area to fill their scorecards.  The Aftermath, Ninja Turtles, and Railway boulders were predictably busy, but climbers spread throughout the area finding gems to climb.  For those new to outdoor bouldering, there was also an “Introduction to Outdoor Bouldering” clinic (run by Kyle Marco) to demonstrate proper pad usage, spotting, and climbing technique. 
This year the TdF was coordinated by the Southern Alberta Bouldering Association (SABA), a newly formed non-profit society whose mandate is to facilitate access to bouldering areas across the region.  For more information on SABA (including information on how to become a member of the society), you can check out their website HERE.  We also worked closely with the Frank Slide Interpretive Center, to whom we extend huge thanks for their help, patience, and use of their facility (click HERE to read more about the FSIC and the programs they offer). 

Kennedy M. sending the hardest problem on the Ninja Turtles Boulder on her way to second place in her category!

The TdF is a free event, supported both by donations from climbers and our many amazing sponsors, including Flashed Climbing, Bolder Climbing Gym, Rock Jungle Fitness, Coulee Climbing Gym and Fitness, Spry, Westcomb, Awesome Adventures, Outdoor Research, Chaco, Object Climbing, Crowsnest Coffee, MadRock, Outside All Day, and Grandwall Equipment.  Without support from individuals and companies like these, the TdF would not be the festival it is.  The next time you want to go to one of these gyms or buy gear (or coffee!), throw your support behind these companies and mention you’re appreciative of their efforts!
As the day warmed up, and people scrambled to fill their scorecards, sends of some of Frank Slide’s most classic lines came fast and furious.  Cartel (V9) and Checkmate (V8) saw several ascents, and Andrew Funk’s sends of Undertow (V10) and Dragon Fire (V9/10) was especially impressive.  With relatively windless conditions, the warm and sunny weather made sticking to holds a little harder than usual!  Once the final horn had blown and the climbers had made their way out of the boulders, the 2019 Open Category winners were Kaylee Tse (female) and Andrew Funk (male).  Andrew is now the only two-time winner of the Tour de Frank, and we’re hoping to see him – and all the rest of the participants – back for the fifth Tour de Frank next year!

More than 150 participants in this years TdF, a record!

Huge thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors of the event!  Without them, the TdF would not have emerged as the best outdoor bouldering festival in the province.  We’re looking forward to a great TdF 2020!

2019 TdF WINNERS (1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category)
Mens Open: Andrew Funk, Loic Fujinaga, Matt HendsbeeWomens Open: Kaylee Tse, Marin BonkMens Experienced: Jordan Heuvy, Joel Freund, Liam McBeanWomens Experienced: Amy Korina, Kennedy Moland, Holly KalynMens Beginner: Nick Baggaley, Christien Pepin, Jesse KearlWomens Beginner: Valerie Talbot, Lacey Brummelhuis, Aileen DavidsonJunior Men: n/aJunior Women: Mari Wilson, Alba LuengoYouth Men: Finn Donnelly, Rowan HooverYouth Female: Julia Marks, Sylvie Donnelly, Clara Trepander

Sends on the Wild West Boulder!  Congrats to all the TdF participants!

Tour de Frank is back for 2019!

Alberta’s premier outdoor bouldering festival is back! On Saturday, September 7, 2019 head down to Frank Slide to sample Canada’s finest limestone bouldering! A selected list of Frank Slide’s best problems (routes) will keep anyone – from novice to crusher – entertained for a day of climbing in the boulder field.

Held at the Frank Slide in in the Crowsnest Pass, follow the event on facebook for all the latest details:

TOUR DE FRANK 2019 Event

SABA would like to thank the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre for the their co-operation and generous support helping us mount this event.