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If you’re already in the thick of the local climbing community—and have the bulked out forearms to prove it—these indoor rock climbing and bouldering spots will come as no surprise. More of a novice? There’s plenty of rock for beginners and casual climbers.
Most gyms cater to all skill levels, whether you’re itching to climb some real rock faces or just looking for a fun alternative to finger push-ups. And each of these Vancouver gyms offers courses with trained staff and drop-in admission, depending on your commitment to the climb. So, chalk up those hands and come hang around for a while.
The Hive is popular for its central location and array of bouldering terrain: 10,000 square feet of overhangs, slab walls, 12-foot top-outs, you name it. A quick walk from the Main Street Skytrain Station, this spot draws both beginners and die-hards and is busy at all hours. Seriously, it’s just as crowded as a downtown bar on Friday nights. New problems (a route of coloured holds to the top of the wall, if you don’t know) crop up a few times a week to keep it interesting for the regulars. The Hive also has a small fitness space to round out your training if you’re committed to a monthly membership.
Just down the road from The Hive, Cliffhanger Climbing is the go-to spot for top-roping. Tired of belaying your pals down the wall? Check out the bouldering routes in The Cave. Note: Don’t know the difference? Bouldering has shorter walls with no ropes, while top-roping is what you did at birthday parties as a child: harnesses and high walls. Plus, these guys offer courses for outdoor climbing as well if you want to get vertical in the elements.
Imagine all the vibes and variety of The Hive (the OG on Industrial Ave.), but with twice the size and fewer crowds. Complement your climb with a post-session stretch: the space is also home to the prAna Yoga Studio. Can’t decide which Hive is your favourite? Get yourself a pass that includes access to both facilities, fitness, and yoga classes.
Indoor rock climbing might not be an Olympic sport, but that hasn’t stopped the Olympic Oval in Richmond from offering a wall that can be set up with either rope anchors or crash pads. The wall holds up to 45 routes at a time and is split into three sections: a 22-foot beginner’s wall, 33-foot intermediate wall, and 44-foot overhanging corner section for experts. Harnesses and belays are also up for rent if you want to take on the grades with some gear.
Rising up in Coquitlam, this is Metro Vancouver’s biggest climbing gym. We’re talking 16,000 square feet of climbing terrain and a “Tsunami Wall” that offers 1,000 square feet for bouldering problems. Into the traditional climb but don’t have a buddy? Climb Base5 has a ton of auto-belay options for solo rope climbers.
Squamish is a hot spot for the outdoor rock climbers, but if you’re not ready to take on the Chief, you can practice your technique indoors at Ground Up Climbing Centre. These guys have 11,000 square feet of roped climbing and bouldering, world-class trainers, and an in-house cafe to keep those legs motoring up the wall. Hit the gym on Wednesday evenings for Boulders n’ Brews: new challenges and half-off local beers at Backcountry Brewing right around the corner.
Looking for some ascents in the Fraser Valley? Coastal Climbing Centre has got you covered with Saturday discounts for students on already affordable prices and free coffee every day. The facility has both rope climbing and over 100 bouldering problems covering the full range of grades from V0 to V10+ (the higher the number, the harder the route). “Social” climber? There are lots of options for those looking for courses to Learn The Ropes and bookings for groups and parties.
Challenge yourself at Clip ’N Climb, located in Richmond — where climbing is reinvented and the establishment is filled with climbing walls of various difficulty levels. Featuring automated belaying devices and a bunch of the friendliest staff, Clip ’N Climb is perfect for thrill-seekers who want to make an afternoon out of indoor climbing. Regardless of your physical abilities, you’ll be sure to walk out feeling proud of your achievements.
Previously where The Edge Climbing Centre stood, Climb Base5’s newer, second location features 15,000 square feet of holds, jutted walls, and friendly staff. Whether you are a beginner, novice, or advanced climber, you’ll find everything you are looking for at Climb Base5. Specialty courses include the CCC, which combines coffee, climbing, and conditioning by their certified personal trainers.
**Updated by Audrey Lim, November 2018