Going up the wall

March 12th, 2014 by Martin Vernon

The main appeal of Victoria lies in the natural beauty of southern Vancouver Island. However there are several world class facilities here to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The Royal BC Museum, Saanich Commonealth Place and Elk Lake rowing centre come to mind. The most recent addition to this list is The Boulders Climbing Gym.

The Boulders hosted the World Junior Climbing Championships in 2013. It has over 13,000 square feet of climbing walls including lower walls of about 28′ height, the 18 metre (59′) high HIGH wall, and low walls to monkey around on and test ones strength and agility.

This probably sounds like something for the young and fit so I went to the gym at Stellys High School in Central Saanich just north of Victoria to try it out. I am neither young nor fit (appallingly unfit, to be honest) so am a good candidate for the test. I just celebrated my 60th birthday so wanted to, er, celebrate by attempting to climb 60 feet. I had two concerns which you may relate to: would the height be too alarming and would my body fail to meet the challenge?

I felt comfortable with the atmosphere upon arrival. It did not feel like an army survival course! There were some young guys having fun bouldering unroped on low walls trying short routes barely off the ground, a family group were going to the roped medium climbing walls, and two of us not-so-young-ones were at the high wall. My belayer was a student whose climbing coach is the world speed climbing champion. Apparently he can scale the daunting wall before me in 6 seconds; I was aiming for 6 minutes. Did I? …

Wall climbing at The Boulders

My verdict: it was satisfying fun. The height was not an issue since I was always looking up for the next handhold. Coming down, bouncing gently off the wall was especially enjoyable. Climbing walls may seem like an extreme sport but it is attainable for most people. I do think I would have enjoyed it more in a small group so suggest you plan to climb with a few other people.

2 Responses to “Going up the wall” Comments are currently closed.

  1. Kimanda says:

    Thank you for visiting, and for the kind words! We’d love to offer you and your friend a lesson so you can keep climbing :).

  2. Jeremy says:

    Great to read your article. I started climbing at Boulders in my early 40s. Now I’m closing in on 50, go climbing 3 or 4 times a week, and have made many new friends – including Kimanda. And my daughter, who started as an eight year old going to climbing birthday parties, is now a national champion in speed climbing.

    There are so many great things about climbing, and The Boulders gym. All I can say is – try it!


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