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Top Rock is Brampton’s First Climbing Gym and it’s Awesome

Within minutes of being issued their occupancy permit by the city, Kevin Allen and Trevor Davis opened the doors to Brampton’s first climbing gym.

On March 29, at 4:30 p.m., Top Rock Climbing got its official start. Long-time friends Allen and Davis are the driving force behind the new facility, a centre for Brampton’s climbing community.

In 2014, the pair, who are sometimes refereed to by friends as “Trev-in” (a clever fusion of their first names) began seriously considering the idea of opening a gym while on a bouldering trip. A couple of short years later and they’ve landed: the gym is up and running.

New BLUE climbs to match this crazy rain today! Come in and get it! #toprock #Brampton #climbing

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The dynamic duo met while studying at the University of Guelph and found friendship through climbing. They’ve since partaken on many climbing ventures together worldwide. Top Rock Climbing is the latest chapter in their shared passion for climbing.

Davis thinks back to the inception, “It was December, 2014 when we decided, ‘Hey let’s open a climbing gym!’” Kevin and I were on a New Year’s climbing trip in Chattanooga. It was then, with a beer in hand discussing the boulder problems of the day, that we decided to make climbing the centre of our lives and open our own climbing gym. Over the past two-plus years we were putting all the pieces together.”

And the pieces have come together quite nicely. It’s a primarily bouldering facility, with the addition of a couple of auto belays. The community-building thread is key for Allen and Davis. They like to climb alongside members and are putting a concerted effort helping newcomers learn the ropes and experienced climbers to reach the next rung.

Climbers doing what they do best. #toprock #Brampton #climbing

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“We are different because we are investing in the members every day, and we know it is going to create an epic community,” says Allen of what sets Top Rock apart from other climbing facilities.

“The gym itself is laid back and we want Top Rock to be people’s second home,” adds Davis. “As for setting styles, Kevin loves slopers and static movements, while I love crimps and dynamic movements. Put the two of us together and we set a wide variety of climbs for everyone.”

Climbing is new to Brampton and as such, the climbing community at Top Rock is comprised of two sets of people; those who are brand new to rock climbing, and passionate climbers who have been commuting upwards of an hour to get to the closest gym in an adjacent city (Guelph, Etobicoke, North York).

“Brampton has a young growing population. We’re finding this to be reflected in members,” says Davis. “Any given day you might find a couple in their 20s testing their strength on some hard climbs, alongside a young family all trying out rock climbing for the first time. We are building the climbing community in Brampton by focusing on the individual, and helping them improve as climbers and reach their full climbing potential.”

Davis and Allen met in residence at the University of Guelph. Allen began volunteering at the University of Guelph Climbing Club, and subsequently convinced Davis to come check it out as well. Their first few outdoors trips were to the sandstone slopers in Horse Pens 40, Alabama.

Together they’ve climbed in New, Chattanooga, Fontainebleau, El Chorro, Albaracin, Mallorca, Slovenia and through North America, their friendship strengthening along the way.

“Our most recent trip was to El Potrero Chico in Mexico and of course, we’ve climbed all over Ontario — from the Glen to Lion’s Head,” says Allen.

Allen says the among the challenges of opening a gym with your climbing partner is knowing that it will be a lot harder to take trips together in the future. Despite this obstacle, they maintain a commitment to continue getting outside to climb at least a couple of times a year. Opening a new climbing facility certainly isn’t void of challenges.

“Acting as the project manager during construction was the biggest challenge to open the doors. It was a balancing act to coordinate contractor’s schedules, inspections while trying to meet timelines,” explains Davis.

But, the friends have persevered. Things are up and running. They’re adding programs, helping members, and eking out the odd bit of climbing time, too. All said, it makes Top Rock Climbing a rad place to be.

– Written by West Coaster writer and climber Drew Copeland. Follow Copeland on Instagram here.