The “Tiny” Gym That Does Big Things


The Boulders Climbing Gym is a not-for-profit climbing facility in a small town near Victoria, BC which lies on the western edge of Canada. The all volunteer facility has a mandate for making climbing accessible for everyone, regardless of physical ability or ability to pay.

Over the years, the gym has gone through several changes and expansions and with over 13,000 square feet (1,208 square meters) of climbing space, the gym has become not only a community facility, but a unique social enterprise, providing adaptive recreation and rehabilitation programs, youth recreational and competitive programs, as well as facilitating a climbing academy. takes us inside to see what the little gym has become.

“It all started with Stellys Secondary School’ teacher who liked to climb, and saw climbing as a valuable teaching tool. In 1995, Peter Mason took his enthusiasm and some perseverance, and built a small climbing wall on the outside of the school gym. Twenty years later, the Boulders is now home to a high school academy, youth teams, climbing groups and of course regular folks.

“Our competition facility (costing about $3m, raised through grants and donations) opened in late 2011. It includes a certified 15m speed wall (a new women’s world record was set on it in May 2015 at the kick-off to the IFSC Speed World Cup series), and is over 18 meters tall. It is indoor/outdoor thanks to a large 15.5m by 15.5m “door” that opens and closes,” Kimanda describes the gym’s most recent expansion.”

The Boulders is a one of a kind facility in North America and arguably the premier training ground for Canadian and even US athletes looking to gain an advantage on the comp circuit. The facility also has hosted the IFSC Youth World Championships in 2013 as well as World Cup training camps attended by the like of Adam Ondra and others.

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