By David F. Rooney
A handful of local climbing enthusiasts are imagining ways to climb high in low human spaces and their vision may be about to become reality.
Incorporated just last year, the Revelstoke Climbers Coop is planning to build an indoor climbing facility in the warehouse and loading area in back of the old Wendy’s Plumbing at Second Street East and Orton Avenue in downtown Revelstoke.
“We have 48 members so you could say we’re in the ‘reaching-out’ phase,” said director Chris Bovard during a recent sit-down discussion between the board and The Revelstoke Current at Benoit’s Wine Bar.
That may be but the coop is certainly ambitious and hard working. Its members, like so many of the people who have moved here to enjoy a outdoor-oriented mountain lifestyle, enjoy climbing in the national parks and the in places like Begbie Bluffs south of the City. The board is, for the most part, relatively young and new to the city. Bovard is a programmer and web designer, Tina Godfrey is a registered nurse, Marek Gomolka is a “now-retired mining engineer,” Mark Harley roasts coffee (whatelse but Stoke Roasted) and Erik Olsen is a hotel employee.
“We are a community service (non profit) cooperative,” Hatley said, adding that it focuses “on access to, and development of, climbing areas,” as well as skills, safety, respect for the environment and social support and connections for climbers.
“Developing an indoor climbing gym is one of our major objectives.
The facility they envision would be a safe place where novices and experts can develop the skills and strengths required for technical competency and athletic excellence.
Their goal was recently given a major boost when they were approved for a $2,117 grant through the Columbia Basin Trust’s Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Program. They have also raised another $2,000 since incorporation. That puts them almost halfway to their total funding of $9,162. That should help them leverage the rest of the money they need. The materials they need are pretty simple: wood, plywood, power tools, those expensive holds you grad onto when you’re climbing a wall and, finally, a lot of volunteer labour.
The kind of climbing facility they are eager to build if a far cry from the climbing wall at the Aquatic Centre. And, judging by the experience of climbing centres in Nelson, Squamish and in Canmore, Alberta, they are certain it will have huge appeal to the men and women of Revelstoke who enjoy climbing and bouldering.
An indoor climbing centre like those in other mountain communities is an idea whose time has come. Not only will it likely see tremendous use by Revelstokians but it will fill a niche in our tourism landscape, too.
New members are always welcome and can join the coop with a $10 lifetime membership. All members are welcome to attend meetings and share in the energy needed to move the work of the coop forward. For information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.