After months of patience, the indoor climbing community has returned to its favourite sport. On June 22, climbing facilities across Quebec reopened their doors and welcomed in their communities. Though gym reopenings has become common in Canada, the opening of a new facility during covid-19 restrictions was mostly unheard of. Enter, Le Crux Laval.
On July 1, Le Crux opened their second location in the city of Laval. We sat down with Co-owner Jean-francois Carrier to discuss the opening of their brand-new facility.
Though the facility is new, many of the staff have been around Le Crux for some time. Carrier said, “Our staff were really happy to return back to work. It was really fun to see our clients.” As with all of the gyms that are in the process of reopening, Le Crux has guidelines that reduce the threat of COVID transmission in the facility. The staff have accommodated this reality enthusiastically.
To kick off the opening of the facility, Le Crux decided to host one of Canada’s first bouldering competitions post-isolation. The competition ran according to what Carrier called, “the never stop format.” This format is unique. When they were planning the competition, co-owner Patrick Labelle said, “Let’s do something weird. Let’s do a comp for six days and you actually can come back and improve your points.” The reason for this style of competition was to allow athletes and members a chance to get back to climbing hard, take rest days, and give their best possible effort.
According to Carrier, around 270 people ended up participating in the competition. The event culminated in a 12 person finals round on July 7. Six women and six men competed for the podium. Due to COVID restrictions, only 50 spectators were allowed to watch the competition. Even still, such a number was more than enough to bring the psych. According to Carrier, “At one point I was wondering, ‘Are there 50 people in the place or are we a full crowd?’ The show was good. Yesterday, the boulder problems were beautiful. The spread was beautiful. The crowd was really into it and if wasn’t for the COVID-19 I think it would have been huge.”
The competition was exciting. The new facility is beautifully built and features the amenities a person might expect from a modern climbing gym. They wanted to use primarily Quebec-based companies, and, in doing so, built their walls with Délire and bought their volumes from Dimension.
The facility comes fully equipped with a competition wall, a training area, and both a Tension Board and a Kilter Board. Both boards were built by Délire, and, according to Carrier, the new Le Crux, “spent square feet on more wall.” Additionally, the facility comes with two other bouldering walls that boast a variety of angles.
The new Le Crux location also has space for students and professionals to get work done, a physical climbing boutique (as well as an online store), locker rooms, showers and more.
As the only gym in Laval, they wanted to create a space entirely its own. Carrier said, “We wanted to create a new community. We are climbers and we want to expand the climbing opportunity. Our goal is always to share the love of climbing, you can see Patrick Labelle, the coach of the Le Crux Climbing Team, always encouraging other climbers from other gyms because he likes to see people progress.”
They wanted a place with a lot of accessibility. As such, they built the new gym in Laval’s downtown area. Carrier said, “You can take a car, because there is huge parking. It’s a 10 minute walk from the subway and there are more than 10 bus connections with even a free bus that you can take when you get out of the subway.”
As far as the routesetting is concerned, CEC Technical Coach Patrick Labelle will head the team. Labelle’s experience coaching for Team Canada promises the setting to be exciting and modern.
Though opening a climbing gym amidst the pandemic is a difficult task, it speaks towards a strong future for indoor climbing. The Le Crux community is psyched and supportive of all climbers. Carrier said “One of our best qualities, besides our boulders, is our energy. Our spirit is really cool and friendly.”
Though indoor climbing is still far from what it once was, the excitement is there for its return. Carrier said, “I know there are going to be some other bumps in the road, but the first competition that we can all be together, drinking beer and sweating together, I will be really happy to be there, regardless of who is hosting it.”
View this post on Instagram
Felt weird to get back into competition mode, but we're getting there! 😁 Nice opening comp at @lecrux.escalade, making finals and taking 2nd place🥈 · First two videos are when I went back and the last two are actual comp attempts! ☑ · This is what I love about competing. It's not always about how strong you are, but rather if you can perform on command!🔥 Excited to push harder and see some progress!💛 · · · #blocshop#teamblocshop#dyno#running#climbing#bouldering#boulderinggirl#sportclimbing#climb_girls#climbingprn#bouldering_pictures_of_instagram#climbhard#climbingismypassion#climbinginspiration#climberlife#routesettingofinstagram#routesetter#routesettinglife#competition#athlete#ideasroutesetting#bouldering_videos_of_instagram
Featured photo of Seb Lazure by Joana Bezeau