The Bow Valley is home to some of the most low-key crushers – climbers who climb hard – in Canada.
Five of those “crushers” came together to create Canmore’s newest and coolest gyms – Canmore Climbing Gym (CCG).
The five founders of Sonnie Trotter, Nick Rochacewich, Bart Ubanski, Ben Firth and Cameron Baty all have a passion for climbing, but also for the community that fosters climbers. Since Elevation Place often runs at maximum capacity and the closing of two other smaller co-op style gyms, there was a clear need for another gym.
CCG is located on Bow Valley Trail and is over 1000-square-feet with 40°, 30°, 20°, 10° and 0° walls. Unlike like larger climbing gyms, CCG only offers bouldering and some training machines. Because of the inclusive nature of bouldering, people tend to interact more and engage with each other.
"The idea behind Canmore Climbing Gym was to create a space for the climbing community to be able to boulder and train hard, but also a space where we could connect with each other to build and strengthen our community,” says manager Michele Pratt. "It’s a fun, social, and supportive vibe, with everyone wanting to share their love of climbing and movement. Seeing the energy in here on cold or rainy weekdays is so exciting. Everyone cheering each other on and feeding off each other’s stoke!”
Pratt, who has climbed all over the world, and the other employees are all crushers. They share the same passion as the founders and are already deeply involved with the Bow Valley climbing community. This is the key to CCG’s success – an excellent team.
"You’re just as likely to see the staff at the gym as you are out at the crag,” says Pratt. "All of the staff have been climbing for years and have so much experience to offer the community. They all happen to be crushers but are always stoked to share their love of climbing with everyone, beginners or experts. Also, they always have the secret beta for your proj (project), but they won't tell you unless you ask."
One thing that distinguishes CCG from other bigger gyms, is their ability to set new problems – bouldering equivalent of routes – quickly and often.
"We set new problems every single week, sometimes even twice a week,” says Pratt. "Our setting team is also super dedicated and mega talented!"
CCG isn’t just for crushers or even adults.
"Bringing kids into CCG is so much fun,” says Pratt. "To them, a bouldering wall is just a giant playground and they're naturals at it! Lots of climbers coming here are wanting to train and get stronger, and push their redpoint grade outside. There are also climbers that come just wanting to get some exercise and explore some movement and play."
However, Pratt encourages everyone to warm up before getting on that giant playground.
"The steep walls inside can mean your fingers have to work a bit harder,” says Pratt. "A proper warm-up can save you from finger injuries in the gym. Slowly and in a controlled way, loading your finger tendon at the beginning of a session helps. Also warming up your shoulders and rotator cuffs properly can help you avoid shoulder injury. Don't go 100 per cent your first session back, take it easy and ramp things up over a few sessions. Climbing inside over the summer – even just once a week – can really help to keep your fingers strong throughout the outdoor season."
To learn more about Canmore Climbing Gym, visit: www.canmoreclimbinggym.ca.