Having lived in Squamish (or Squampton as locals affectionately call it) for 2.5 years, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that yesterday was the first time I’ve been to the Squamish Boulder Co-op. But, better late than never, right? A lot of my friends go there regularly because there is no commercial climbing gym here. “What” you say? How can that be? Well, Squamish has a population of around 17,000 people which is not very big. Also, there is a lot of climbing plus many other activities like mountain biking, trail running, hiking, kite boarding, skiing, snowboarding, etc. to be had outside. Finally, many hardcore climbers have their own climbing wall in their garages, cellars, etc. For me personally, most of my training is on my home wall which has served me very well.
How does it work if it’s not a commercial gym? Well, all members become shareholders for $5.00, then membership dues to use the gym are used to cover rent, heating and new holds. The facility has no staff so to my knowledge, and the labour is all done on a volunteer basis by the founders and members. Very groovy and utopian, right?
I went their finally as my good friend Jamie Finlayson had been urging me to go for quite some time. I was pleasantly surprised with the size of the facility and variety of holds and angles. Also, the are a lot of holds made from wood, as one of the founders has a woodworking shop and some pretty impressive skills (in woodworking and climbing). There is even a skateboard deck bolted to the wall! I’m a big fan of wood holds because they make you work much harder than most plastic resin holds, and don’t wear out your skin as much.
Jamie showed me some of the classic problems which are not marked with tape or anything, they are either logged in a binder at the front, or, in the memories of the members. I could do a few of them at least. We made up a few more together. Fortunately all my training on my home wall over the last few months has started to pay dividends!
After a few hours of bouldering we did some campusing – they have a very tall campus board, which I love! Then we did some gymnastic ring exercises, which are always a good way to finish a workout, strengthening the core and stabilizers.
Below are some photos of our gymnastic ring training with some great exercises for climbers!
Reverse Flye (Jamie)
Shoulder Flexion (Andrew)