Robert Patterson takes a practice technical climb at The Boulders. The Central-Saanich based facility is hosting a regional youth competition over the long weekend.

Central Saanich climbing gym hosts youth regionals

This Easter long weekend will see the world-class facility hosts its first major competition — Youth Western Regionals.

The Boulders Climbing Gym society said if you build it, they will come.

The promise was fulfilled as the gym announced it will host World Youth Climbing Championships in August, 2013.

This Easter long weekend will see a warm-up as the world-class facility hosts its first major competition — Youth Western Regionals.

What Kimanda Jarzebiak calls the “biggest outdoor stage in Victoria” will be filled with climbers for the weekend.

B.C. climber Sean McColl, who finished the world cup season second overall, will be coming from France to compete.

“It’s great for our climbers to see these top athletes in our facility,” said Jarzebiak, chair of the Boulders Climbing Gym Society.

Spectators are welcome to gather in the field at Stelly’s secondary to watch as climbers compete in two disciplines: speed and technical climbing.

Speed tends to be popular with spectators, Jarzebiak said. Two climbers tackle a 15-metre route with a four-degree overhang. The route is the same around the world, meaning it can create a world record, which currently sits at 6.26 seconds. The Boulders record is 10.54 seconds held by Robert Stewart Patterson who comes with sister Alison from Kamloops to train at the Central Saanich gym.

Students from across Greater Victoria and as far off as South Africa also made the move to the school this year as Stelly’s started its climbing academy in September.

The first climbing gym at Stelly’s was built in the mid 1990s, and the facility grew to its current 4,500 square feet of space in the summer of 2005. With demand far outweighing the space, Boulders broke ground last spring on the expansion.When it opened late last year, the total build cost turned out to be $3 million.

“We are still $352,000 short,” Jarzebiak said. But there are a couple of naming rights remaining, including one wall and the yoga-dance studio.

The old gym will still be used for classes and is mid-renovations to create more teaching space.

“We’ve got amazing bouldering, teaching space, and then when they progress, this is here for them,” Jarzebiak said.

The facility includes 5,000 square feet more of climbing space at a 60-foot height and more difficult terrain in a new hangar at the back of the old gym.

The entire south wall opens to provide an outdoor experience, allow for fresh air and accommodate crowds of spectators during competition.

Regionals run April 6 to 8 at the climbing wall at the Boulders Climbing Gym, 1627 Stelly’s Crossroad Rd. in Central Saanich.

See the competition schedule online at www.climbtheboulders.com.

 

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