Learning to climb has always been an interest of mine and needless to say that growing up on the flat plains of North Dakota climbing is not a common activity. So on my recent trip to Toronto I was more than excited when I came across a climbing and bouldering gym within biking distance from my girlfriend’s house.
Having no real knowledge about climbing or bouldering, besides that you are harnessed and are going up various rock formations, Boulderz Climbing Center was the perfect starting point for me. This was a great opportunity to learn a new sport and help me rehab from my various travel injuries.
I was nervous starting out on my first day. This was a sport I had never tried before and hand no real knowledge about. Both climbing and bouldering are very technical sports and they require more skill than just physical strength. The staff at Boulderz were super friendly and helpful for me a newbie. On my first day they showed me around the gym and set me up on one of the auto-belays. After a brief fear stint as I looked down from the top of the wall, where I was expected to let go and plummet to the ground, I had an absolute blast. My first session was short and my muscles were sore. But I was hooked and went back the next 3 days in a row.
Those first two weeks I was at the gym as often as I could go, so much so that the girl that worked during the day asked me if I would ever take a day off to let my muscles heal. At the time I did not realize the necessity to take off days. Muscles can easily tear and climbing injuries are common, especially to those who are new and climb improperly, I was currently both, and did not yet know the extent of the wrong I was doing. But I was also cautious from my past injuries, overtly so, only going for a short time and never trying anything too intense.
Since I was in Canada for such a short time and I did not know if I would like the climbing, I did not want to buy gear right away or pay for a monthly membership. Which is a great thing about Boulderz Climbing Center. They offer three different, two week intro packages with all of the gear included, for almost the same price that a day pass with rentals would cost! These passes worked out perfect for me, time and price wise.
The first two weeks I learned on my own, switching between the auto-belay and bouldering routes, while watching real climbers (who are completely insane with their skill level and what they can do). The second set of two weeks Emma briefly joined me and we got our belaying certification so I could try other routes besides the auto-belays and I got more into bouldering. It wasn’t until my last two weeks that I felt comfortable and somewhat confident in the gym.
My last two-week pass was the Intro to Bouldering course. With this course I finally got an in-depth explanation about what it means to climb. My teacher explained to me the basics everyone should know. The names and types of hand holds, two styles of bouldering, how to position your body on the wall, how to rest on the wall, what muscles to use and how to use your feet correctly. This short 2 hour course changed my climbing style completely. I found out that I was doing a lot of things wrong and I was actually making it more difficult for myself. After this course my skill level improved, I started doing harder routes and climbing felt more natural to me.
The last few weeks I was limiting my days in the gym, not only busy doing other activities, but with the Intro to Bouldering course I learned about injury and the need to rest and heal. I did less climbing sessions but made those sessions count.
Boulderz Climbing Center is a rock climbing and bouldering gym with 2 locations in Toronto, Junction Triangle and Etobicoke areas. The Etobicoke gym is where I visited and it had plenty of space to specialize in both styles. During the day the gym was not busy at all, the staff were always cleaning and updating the walls for new challenges. At night bouldering walls filled up more than climbing routes, but there was always still some room to do a few problems and always plenty of room to climb routes.
Along with day passes and monthly memberships, Boulderz Climbing Center offers rental gear, gear for sale and plenty of intro programs, good for all ages. If you are new to the sport and want to see if you like it or you need a refresher, the intro classes are definitely the way to go. They save you a lot of money and you don’t need to invest in expensive gear right away.
Boulderz Climbing Center was the best way for me to break into the climbing world. The intro packages were cheap enough for my unemployed backpacking self and I gained much needed exposure and experience. Learning to climb made my time in Toronto and I can’t wait to continue on my journey in this awesome sport.
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