“Demand for More Bouldering” Leads to New Expansion Gym in Ontario

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J2 Bouldering gym
Junction has been taking full advantage of the bouldering boom, opening a second, bouldering-focused gym―J2 Bouldering―earlier this year in the same city as its full-service facility. (All images courtesy of J2 Bouldering)

J2 Bouldering
London, Ontario

Specs: Junction Climbing Centre opened its first expansion gym this past May, a bouldering-focused facility in London, Ontario, which complements Junction’s mixed-discipline facility in the city center. After working for years in the outdoor adventure industry, owner John Kudelka originally founded Junction in 2014 after deciding he wanted to provide something with “the same sense of exploration and accomplishment,” but with greater year-round sustainability. To create Junction, Kudelka collaborated with Dave Perozzo, owner of nearby Guelph Grotto―one of the province’s first climbing gyms, which completed an expansion of its own this year―after discovering Perozzo was looking for a new project. Although London, the place where Kudelka had grown up, is a “fairly isolated city in the middle of southern Ontario’s sprawling farmland,” it wasn’t long before work on an expansion facility in the area got underway.

 

“As the business grew, we quickly realized that there was a demand for more bouldering terrain,” said Kudelka. “We already knew that our boulder space at Junction was too small for the number of climbers, but Covid really emphasized just how much demand there was…and gave us time to work on finding and designing the [new] space.” The second Junction location, named J2 Bouldering, is a smaller gym that focuses on just that: bouldering. Described by Kudelka as a “place to hang out and throw yourself at problems,” J2 uses a circuit system with the goal of giving climbers exposure to a variety of climbing movement. “Our team puts a lot of effort into setting across different styles and hold types to ensure climbers are being challenged in engaging and original ways,” he said.

Bouldering problems at J2
Circuits are a big part of the bouldering culture J2 aims to foster. “We think it gives a better experience while avoiding too much obsessing over grades,” said Kudelka.

To go with 4,000 square feet of climbing surface, J2’s amenities will eventually include hangboards, weights, and a coffee machine. The gym also offers Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced youth programs and has a youth climbing team that splits their time training at Junction (for roped climbing) and J2 (for bouldering). Dual-membership options grant climbers access to both gyms as well as Guelph Grotto, their sister facility.

Walls: Walltopia
Flooring: Flashed
CRM Software: RGP
Website: www.j2bouldering.com
Instagram: @j2bouldering

In Their Words: “You will need more holds than you think.” – John Kudelka, owner