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.

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