The Canadian University Bouldering Series kicks off on Saturday, January 28th, in Guelph, Ontario. This friendly-format series came to fruition after months of discussions between the University of Guelph Climbing Club (UoGCC) and the city’s commercial climbing gym called the Grotto.
The goals of this project are to promote climbing and build a university based climbing community, which is something that the climbers at UoGCC understand. “The Club has been a starting block a lot of people,” says David Albert- Lebrun, one of the presidents of the UoGCC. Albert- Lebrun and his co president, Ali Sutherland, run the 200+ member club that occupies two old squash courts in the basement of the UoG Athletic Center. The $2 beginner lessons and co-op structure have made climbing an inexpensive alternative for students looking to unwind, try something new and exercise. “For a lot of people this will be their first competition, which is great,” says David.
It took only two days to fill up the roster. This forced Maxwell Summerlee, the manager of the Grotto, to extend the registration cap to 175 participants; the limits of the Grotto’s building code. “The response we had was incredible,” says Summerlee, who was expecting about 70 climbers at most. “There is clearly a want and a need for something like this.” There are currently 14 universities registered to compete from both Quebec and Ontario. “Now we can start fantasizing about climbing becoming recognized as a varsity sport, expanding across the country,” says Summerlee.
Lauren Watson is a regular contributor to Gripped