Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Guest Post: On the Rocks - Boulderz Climbing Centre

Ionatan Waisgluss has done it again with yet another guest blog post for TransitHub. You would think the guy loves us or something? In this article, Ionatan talks about his experience with bouldering. What's that, you ask? Well, see what he has to say, complete with pictures ...
- Neil Jain 

On the Rocks: Boulderz Climbing Centre

I've recently been spending a lot of time around #LansdowneDupont, enjoying an activity known as bouldering, a unique type of rock-climbing sport. Defining this activity is rather tricky, as it shares a significant overlap with parkour, buildering, and treeclimbing. While everyone’s idea of bouldering is undoubtedly different, it shares a common thread... or lack thereof, I should say—bouldering involves no ropes!

For obvious reasons, bouldering is generally limited to smaller climbs, and usually makes use of crash pads (thick mats placed below the routes). Bouldering can be done outdoors (in natural formations or man-made structures), or in rock climbing gyms. In this post, I’ll be talking about a particular gym I’ve been hitting up in the west end of Toronto—Boulderz Climbing Centre.

Boulderz is a unique rock climbing gym because it focuses on bouldering as its main attraction. As soon as you enter the place, the first thing you notice is the odd shape of the walls. The place is full of interesting angles, including some nice caves and overhangs. The padded flooring is also well-implemented, and makes for safe landing—as important in bouldering as it is in regular climbing. The place has a really interesting and adventuresome feel to it, but also feels safe, comfortable, and really well thought-out.

The amount and variety of different holds (the things you can grab) is completely incredible. By the end of the day, you’ll have held on to everything from alien faces to corn-on-the-cob. Routes are changed up weekly, so you’re always faced with new challenges, and the climbs never get old!

Beyond being interesting from an aesthetic perspective, the astounding variety of holds forces you to use your hands in interesting ways, making use of all sorts of different techniques. Here are three very basic ones:

A jug  is an easy hold, where the climber is able to use all of their fingers and forearm strength.

A crimp is a bit harder, relying mostly on the first joints of the fingers.

A pinch is even harder than that, and requires the climber to use the thumb and fingers to pinch the sides of a hold.

... and these are just the basics! The way you use your feet is equally as important, and has its own terminology, as does the way you transfer from one hold to the next!

Boulderz has routes for all ages and abilities, with features such as topout routes, a workout & stretching area, free-climbing, a mini-bouldering wall for kids, and even a climbing treadmill! All of the essentials are taken care of: water fountains, changerooms, washrooms, lockers, and so on are all available and well-maintained; snacks, drinks, and even some climbing equipment are available for purchase at their kiosk. On top of all of this, Boulderz hosts various programs, along with birthday parties, competitions, and private bookings.

Here it is! The climbing treadmill!

Everyone I’ve met here has been friendly and helpful, and the staff is fantastic! Their hours are great, and it’s easy to get there—even the music is lively and has a tribal sort of groove that’s perfect for climbing. Boulderz really is a great place to get a workout, and it’s quite a bit more fun than mindlessly pumping iron at the gym. Maybe I’ll see you there!

If you’d like to read more about why bouldering is a rock-solid activity, check out this article I wrote on the Top 10 Reasons to Go Bouldering!


Other goodies at #LansdowneDupont

Bouldering burns a lot of calories, and you’re going to be pretty hungry by the time you’re done. Luckily, Thai Lime (just across the street) offers some of the best Thai food in Toronto. The menu is great, and the meals come in big portions; if you feel like you’ve ordered way too much, eat it anyways— you can always digest by walking west along Dupont and linking up to the West Toronto RailPath, which I explore in this article.

1 comment:

  1. Like this article? You can find more of my musings on People, Plants and Place, by visiting my home page: