Local Climbers Go From Garage Wall to Bouldering Gym, Open British Columbia Town’s First Climbing Gym

0
495
Patrick O'Neill and Leah Poirier standing in front of Quartzite Climbing Gym
Patrick O’Neill (right) and Leah Poirier (left)—pictured outside the newly opened Quartzite Climbing Gym—decided it was time for the climbing community around Revelstoke, British Columbia, to finally have a larger climbing space. (All images courtesy of Quartzite Climbing Gym)

Quartzite Climbing Gym LTD.
Revelstoke, British Columbia

Specs: Quartzite Climbing Gym, a bouldering-focused facility owned by Patrick O’Neill and Leah Poirier, opened May 19th in Revelstoke, British Columbia. According to Poirier, she and O’Neill “are very passionate climbers in Revelstoke and have always wanted to bring a climbing gym to their town.” While Quartzite is the first commercial climbing facility in the town, there had been prior attempts to start a climbing gym in the area, Poirier noted, “but for one reason or another they never came to fruition.” In the meantime, O’Neill’s garage training wall served as “a climbing hub for a lot of the community for over ten years!” Poirier said, providing a place for local climbers to train during the colder winter months especially. But there was still “a desire to create a bigger space for Revelstoke climbers,” she continued, so they started dreaming one up.

OnSite

About six years ago, Poirier and O’Neill began to formalize their business plan and look for a suitable location for a larger climbing space. “Revelstoke is not a large town and there are not many options for a space that checks all of the boxes for a bouldering gym (parking, zoning, size, cost, etc.),” Poirier explained. After “getting a little creative” and rallying the community for support, the pair eventually secured a spot for Quartzite and started the construction process.

O'Neill and Poirier ahead of the gym's opening set
The co-owners of Quartzite—pictured ahead of the gym’s opening set—have been “calling Revelstoke home for over a decade” and value “community, inclusivity, and the environment that provides us with our ultimate playground,” per the gym’s website.

During the buildout, the preexisting building underwent extensive renovations, including the demolition of an exterior wall and extension of the warehouse into a covered outdoor portion of the building that’s now enclosed. Despite needing extra work, Poirier and O’Neill felt the chosen location—the first one they had found that could accommodate their vision—was worth it. “Other places in Revelstoke either don’t allow indoor recreation because of zoning issues or do not have suitable parking available,” she said. “[O’Neill] also has a professional relationship with the property owner that has allowed for this creative solution to work well for all involved.”

Elevate Climbing Walls

The completed Quartzite Climbing Gym—named after “the main type of rock found in and around Revelstoke,” according to the gym’s website—is a 2,500-square-foot space with 1,100 square feet of climbing wall surface on 15-foot bouldering walls. Other amenities inside the facility are a training area with weightlifting equipment, a stationary bike, and hangboards. The team also purchased climbing-specific training tools from Lattice, such as the Tindeq Progressor 200, flex blocks, and flex mats. Additionally, Quartzite plans to offer various events and youth programming options. “Being a teacher myself, I love kid programming and facilitating in general,” Poirier said. “We also want to have a youth competitive team and are in the works of arranging a few different events with other businesses/companies in town.”

The bouldering walls at Quartzite after the opening set
Some of the holds on Quartzite’s bouldering walls (pictured) were first used on the owners’ garage wall, before getting a new home in the commercial climbing facility.

Walls: Onsite
Flooring: Onsite
CRM Software: RhinoFit
Website: www.quartziteclimbing.com
Instagram: @Quartzite_Climbing_Gym

In Their Words: “Ask for advice or help from other gym owners! We have been blown away by the support from climbing gyms in other communities. The help and guidance have been crucial to our success in getting the space open.” – Leah Poirier, Co-Owner of Quartzite Climbing Gym LTD.

Climbing Gym Management Series