Calgary’s Bouldering Community Climbing
Calgary had some top climbing gyms, but it was missing a bouldering-specific centre run by strong climbers focusing on world class problem setting. It took three strong Calgary climbers coming together to make Bolder Climbing the new base of hard Alberta bouldering sessions. The owners are Josh Muller, Zak McGurk and Craig Doram. We touched base with Muller and Doram shortly after they opened the doors for the f irst time.
Where did Bolder get started? Bolder first came up about a year and a half ago. Craig and I had been thinking about this project separately and one day our interest in the idea came out to one another. We both decided right there and then that we were going for it. We brought Zak in shortly after knowing we needed a third partner, someone with his skills and of course someone as awesome as Zak. Between April 2016 and December 2016 we did all the research, brand development and planning. In the three months from Jan. 6, when we took possession, to April 6 we built the entire gym. The building was originally all office space and had to be completely gutted before we could start building.
Where is the gym and why that location?
Bolder is in south/central Calgary. This part of Calgary is our home turf and we felt was in need of a new bouldering gym.
What was the biggest challenge in getting it built and open? We ran into a lot of challenges along the way. The whole construction process was difficult for all of us. We did the majority of the building (aside from the walls) ourselves, which was difficult. Concrete work sucks.
What is your goal with the facility? Our goal is to build a community of climbers of all abilities. We want people to feel welcome and at home in our space. Our goal is to be the best bouldering facility in North America. Our goals are to be progressive with and maintaining our major focus on community, selfimprovement and training/competitions.
Is it better or different than you thought it would be? There is a lot more cleaning than I expected. We clean all day every day.
How big is the space and how many problems do you usually have? We are just over 10,000 square feet total with about 5,500 of climbing. We have about 80 boulders up at any given time.
What’s the community response been like? Really positive. People love the space and enjoy our product. It has been unreal. People have been giving non-stop positive feedback that this is exactly what our city and local climbing community needed. The support and energy we have been receiving is far beyond what we expected to get this soon.