The great stereotype about climbing is that its participants are all young adrenaline junkies with massively jacked arms.
While this may describe some participants in one of the fastest growing sports in North America, the people I climb with range in age from the very young (three years old) to moderately young (60+).
While everyone has a different reason for pursuing climbing, there are common elements that keep us all hooked. First, a climbing workout doesn’t feel like a workout. It is not only hugely fun, but it keeps your mind engaged the whole time.
Climbing requires plenty of problem solving. You can do the problem solving on your own, or with other people. Climbing is a collaborative endeavor. From beginner to the very elite, literally hanging out with other climbers is a huge part of the fun.
Then there are all the health benefits. It really is a total-body workout, from your heart muscle to your abs. You don’t need to have abs of steel or a toned upper body to start climbing, but they are natural side effects.
The greater Victoria area is lucky to have two great climbing facilities that are open to the public. The commercial facility, Crag-X, is convenient to downtown (urbancliffculture.com) and The Boulders (climbtheboulders.com), is a not-for-profit society that runs in partnership with School District 63 and Stelly’s Secondary school that offers a range of programs, from recreational and competitive youth programs to adaptive recreation and climbing therapy programs.
Kimanda Jarzebiak is the chair of the Boulders Climbing Gym Society, a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and an examiner in the Canadian Mountain and Ski Guide program at Thompson Rivers University. Oddly, she has a healthy fear of heights.