Bouldering gains popularity in B.C.

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Michelle Nguyen bouldering at the Hive Indoor Climbing Gym. Photo: Niall Shannon
Michelle Nguyen bouldering at the Hive Indoor Climbing Gym. Photo: Niall Shannon

Fred Villarosa grips onto the wall high in the air. He has no gear, no rope or harness to keep him secure so high above. With the utmost concentration, Villarosa looks left and right and gingerly reaches out for the nearest ledge.

Villarosa is in the middle of bouldering, a high action sport that involves rock climbing without a harness or ropes. While bouldering can be done outside, the sport is growing with a number of indoor climbing gyms, where boulderers climb with the luxury of safety pads.

“[Bouldering] is a lot of fun, you get to meet new people and get a good workout too. After an hour I’m exhausted,” said Villarosa, who has been bouldering for over a year alongside friend and spotting partner Michelle Nguyen.

Learning to fall an important skill 

Villarosa and Nguyen got into bouldering after a mutual friend who was into climbing told them about the thrill of bouldering. The pair frequent the Hive indoor climbing gym, which is the only bouldering gym in Vancouver. The Hive was started last March and is already at its 2,000 member limit.

“It can be dangerous, you know, you have nothing to secure you,” said Nguyen. “You need to know how to fall properly because otherwise you could pop out your shoulder.”

Though there is an element of risk, Nguyen said the benefits far outweigh the dangers. These include a good, fun workout with the chance to meet new people, according to Nguyen.

Climbers getting ready to boulder at the Hive Indoor Climbing Gym, Thursday April 6, 2013. Photo: Niall Shannon
Climbers getting ready to boulder at the Hive Indoor Climbing Gym, Thursday April 6, 2013. Photo: Niall Shannon

Bouldering the best workout possible

“If I was single, I would go here to pick up people,” said Nguyen with a grin.

Scott Zacharias, a business consultant, loves the chance to do a sport with his daughter Brielle, and said it is the best kind of workout possible.

Zacharias is a decade-long fan of bouldering and climbs four to six hours a week at the Coastal Climbing Centre in Surrey.

Veteran climber and former member of the national bouldering team Celeste Wall said with bouldering gyms open in both Surrey and Vancouver, the sport is becoming more and more popular in B.C.

Reported by Niall Shannon

In this  video, a climber in The Hive showcases how to boulder at a charity event on Feb. 5, 2013

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