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Granite B.C. Boulders Being Shipped to Calgary for Climbers

One of Canada's top boulderers and the ex-chair for the CEC weigh in. "Proof of the concept is going to come when it's seen what the community mandates regarding access, I suppose."

Photo by: Brandon Pullan of Noah Walker on a B.C. boulder (not one being shipped)

The City of Calgary are importing granite boulders from somewhere in B.C. to be placed at Shaw Millennium Park in Calgary. The park is known for its popular skateboarding park and gets over 35,000 visitors every year. The three B.C. boulders, which will stand around 4.2 metres tall, will be placed near the volleyball courts.

Local climbers will be able to head downtown with their crash pads for an evening session starting sometime in July. A 3D scan of the boulders will be added to an app that people will be able to download.

Alberta-based highball specialist and highly accomplished boulderer, Miles Adamson, said that he had thought about this before, “Why not just transport a bunch of boulders into a perfectly flat spot for an ‘outdoor’ bouldering park.” To which he continued, “I think the main issue is that they would probably be completely blank boulders that have no holds to break, and they chisel the problems in. At that point you might as well just go to the gym. If they could somehow dig up and transport Squamish-like boulders that felt natural and stuck then in Calgary I would definitely check it out though.”

Adamson added, “Another issue is that it’s probably super expensive to transport the boulders, so there’s probably going to be very few of them. So if they are any good at all they will be too busy anyways.”

Longtime Calgary climber and author, Dave Dornian, who once sat as the chair of the CEC, said, “Taking B.C. granite to Shaw Millennium Park seems somewhat, ah, indulgent. But you probably need something more durable than limestone for an application like that.”

Project manager James Papineau told CBC, “We see that there’s a need for these types of diverse structures in our parks. We’re always looking to make our parks attractive to people and accessible to all.”

Shaw Millennium Park in Calgary.

Dornian, who’s currently based in B.C., said, “Proof of the concept is going to come when it’s seen what the community mandates regarding access, I suppose. A four-metre-plus-high chunk of granite would make an awesome gallery for watching people skate. Just a matter of time – probably a race – until someone has sex up there. And there are already photogs from Thrasher on their way to shooting the first noseslide on the planned V4 arete.”

There are several climbing gyms in Calgary, including Bolder Climbing Community (which is soon to get a second location), and Calgary Climbing Centre’s four locations: Rocky Mountain, Stronghold, Hanger and Chinook. As of now, there are no concept illustrations for the new urban boulders.

Lead photo: Brandon Pullan of Noah Walker on a B.C. boulder (not one being shipped)