Inukrock reaches new heights with climbing competition

Dozens of people in Inukjuak participate in series of puzzles and challenges

From left, Audrey Haché, Julien Pelletier, Samwillie Tullaugak and Sandy Williams prepare routes for their climbing competition in Inukjuak. (Photo courtesy of Audrey Haché)

By Cedric Gallant - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dozens of people in Inukjuak came together last month to take on rock climbing puzzles and challenges during a weeklong competition there.

Inukrock, the community’s rock-climbing group, hosted the event March 17 to March 22.

Samwillie Tullaugak is one of Inukrock’s first homegrown team leaders. He, alongside Inukrock co-founder Audrey Haché, organized the event and made sure the rock wall was fresh each day.

In total, the duo made 19 different climbing routes.

“Everything went well,” said Tullaugak, adding both the route setting and competition went according to plan.

According to Haché, 43 people from the community participated in the competition. From calculating their point system, they deduced the wall was climbed 1,173 times.

“Every time the participants were coming back, there were fresh routes on the wall,” said Haché.

“We really tried to teach something through the way we put the holes.”

She said some participants did not try for the fastest time. Rather, they focused on cracking the puzzle and finding an optimal path for each route.

Others competed for the win, racing for the best “flash climb,” which is when someone climbs the wall without stopping.

“What was nice … were the new faces,” said Haché. “There were a lot of girls, around 12 [years old], that were new and really into it.”

Both Haché and Tullaugak consider Inukjuak as the “climbing headquarters” of Nunavik. They have a project lined up this summer that would combine both recreational climbing and local tradition.

A common practice in Ivujivik is to travel to Digges Island and climb the hills there. On top are murre nests full of eggs, which are harvested by locals.

Tullaugak, along with a few other members of Inukrock, plans to travel to Digges Island to install climbing anchors on the rocks.

“It is a double objective,” said Haché.

“There is this recreational aspect, but there is this cultural goal, which is to make the egg harvesting practice safer.”

Alongside that project, Inukrock will continue its summer climbing season in Inukjuak as planned.

They are currently supporting climbers in Aupaluk as they develop their own climbing wall.

“It is a goal for Inukjuak to create a bridge between those climbing communities that are popping up in Nunavik, and to support that interest,” said Haché, adding her group is about more than rock climbing.

“It’s a sport that requires you to develop trust in yourself and others, it creates a community that supports each other.”


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