‘Fear of heights is not a thing’ for Inukjuak climbers

Starting as a small community club, climbers now branching out to hills across Quebec

The Inukrock group at its final afternoon climbing at the Allez-up gym in Montreal. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Haché)

By Cedric Gallant - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Samwillie Tullaugak is seen at the Lagoon Cliff in Inukjuak. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Haché)

Samwillie Tullaugak and Daniel Samisack found their passion for rock climbing during a class in Inukjuak. With fellow climber Audrey Haché, they convinced the municipality to provide funding to create a climbing cliff.

Within two years, in August 2022, Haché and her group created the Inukrock Climbers Club. Where Tullaugak and Samisack have become climbing animators, hosting climbing events in Inukjuak and at bigger hills down south.

“It’s really fun to see people improve,” said Samisack in a video interview with Tullaugak and fellow climbers Paulasi Qumaluk and Duami Aculiak.

All four are in their late teens, but people from all ages in the community come to climb either at the school’s gym or out on the land.

The Lagoon Cliff, northeast of Inukjuak, became their go-to spot for practice. Haché discovered it, even before Inukrock was founded.

ITK Job Opportunties, Senior Policy Advisor, MMIWG

Daniel Samisack on his 37-metre climb at the Allez-up gym in Montreal. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Haché)

Over the years, with the help of southern climbing professionals they’ve created 19 new paths for people to climb on that cliffside.

Earlier in July, they travelled to Val-David and Montagne d’argent, north of Montreal, and spent six days climbing cliffs on hills that were 40 metres high.

For Aculiak, this was a new and nerve-racking experience at first. “I had a scary experience with the self-pulleys earlier,” he said.

After climbing 37 metres high and coming down with no problems, “now, I trust them,” he added with a laugh.

Qumaluk said that with this recent trip, “you get to learn a lot on how to trust your body during climbing.”

Invitation for Applications – Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut

He said he has grown more confident in his body’s ability to do the work and in his strength since he started with Inukrock.

Duami Aculiak resting with a view of Montagne d’argent behind him. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Haché)

“This guy got pretty strong too,” he joked, pointing at Aculiak.

For many of them, it was their first time climbing a hill much bigger than those in Inukjuak. They had to learn to climb with anchors and ropes; most difficult was rappelling down from the cliff.

But, they note, Inukrock’s motto is “Fear of heights is not a thing.”

Program co-ordinator Julien Pelletier said the recent trip to the hills north of Montreal has given the group a new burst of ambition and desire for climbing.

“Things like eating together, taking care of equipment and even rallying to be safe from a tornado warning,” he said. “These group moments grew leadership amongst them.”

Paulusi Qumaluk is seen rappelling down a 40-metre cliff at the Montagne d’argent hill, north of Montreal. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Haché)

Pelletier said since their return both Samisack and Tullaugak have been devoted to updating the climbing wall inside the gym at the recreation center.

The standard for a climbing gym is to keep updating climbing paths on their walls to keep the activity fresh and new. The two young animators vowed to do the same with their wall.

Later this summer, Samisack will visit Salluit with equipment in hopes of finding boulders suitable for climbing. They want to hire a climbing professional to create new climbing paths there as well.

There are also plans to visit Ivujivik in August to seek climbing paths there.

“I want Inukrock all over the 14 Nunavik communities,” said Samisack.

Share This Story

(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by C Stephen on

    Now there is an excellent idea to grow the sport of rock climbing in the region and beyond. It is unnerving to be in a spot with no easy way down as once happened to me at Sapukait, I eventually returned the same way I got there taking the longer easier route back to camp.

Comments are closed.