BY MARISSA CUDDY
There aren’t any mountains to climb in Kitchener, but there are lots of rocks.
“I want people to know that you don’t have to be an adrenaline junky or an experienced athlete to try rock climbing. It’s just as fun for couch potatoes as it is for adventure seekers,” said Scott Hamill, one of the owners of Grand River Rocks, an indoor climbing gym in Kitchener. “We have difficulty levels and training to suit everyone.”
The other owners of the business are Michal Cieplak, Christoff Le Roux and Josh Tuffin.
Grand River Rocks offers over 100 climbs with difficulties from beginner to seasoned climbers. They also offer lead climbing, bouldering, yoga classes, climbing camps and exercise equipment.
“I love to climb everything at Grand River Rocks,” Hamill said. “That’s one of the perks of owning a climbing gym.”
A discount day pass is available to students, seniors, EMS, firefighters and police, which cost $14 plus the rental of equipment ($5 for shoes and $5 for a harness). A discount membership costs $50 a month. The regular rate is $17 per day or $60 per month. Rates include access to the weight room and unlimited free fitness and yoga classes.
Climbers can also wear their own shoes if they don’t want to rent them from the gym. They recommend wearing clean, tight-fitting running shoes.
“It is a full body workout; you’re using your arms to pull you up and your legs and abs to sustain your balance at the angle you are at. You are also making a lot of your back muscles work,” said Genesis Rodriguez, a Conestoga first-year early childhood education student who has been to the gym a few times.
Hamill said they have a few different styles of climbing that require different levels of training. For a first timer, he recommends calling ahead to schedule a lesson or book a guided climb with one of their certified staff, but they do have climbing available for people who have no appointment or previous experience.
“The gym consists of many levels of rock climbing and each pattern up the wall brings a certain level of difficulty which then contributes to how much you use your body,” Rodriguez said.
Grand River Rocks hosts many events throughout the year including Climb for Cancer, Tour de Bloc, a Halloween climb and youth climbing contests.
Since opening in 2011 they have hosted the Tour de Bloc bouldering competition every year. Tour de Bloc is the biggest bouldering competition in Canada and will be hosted at 16 different climbing gyms this season.
The competition will be on February 20, 2016.
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing without the use of ropes or harnesses. However, most people wear climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry and mats to prevent injuries from falls.
Hamill said anyone who is looking for more information can visit the “first time” page on their website – www.grandriverrocks.com – call
519-742-1389 or email them at