Work is progressing on the new Boulders Climbing Gym next to Stelly’s secondary, but already it has earned worldwide attention.
When the doors formally open on Dec. 10, top competitive climbing athletes such as Canada’s Sean McColl and Mathilde Becerra from France will be among those first tackling the four-storey wall.
The facility is expected to be substantially complete by late November.
There are already a number of competitive events scheduled for the gym.
About 400 people are expected to gather next April when Boulders hosts the Western Canadian Climbing Championships.
“The World Youth Climbing Championships are coming here (in 2013), and we already have international students registered to train here,” said Kimanda Jarzebiak, Boulders Climbing Gym Society chair.
“We have a South African student coming in February.”
And the International Olympic Committee has announced that climbing will be a sport contested at the 2020 Games.
The main wall makes the new Boulders one of the top two training facilities in North America, and is unique in Canada.
Once the climbing complex is complete, it will offer space for everyone from beginners to world-class champions to practice and compete.
It will be distinct for how it combines areas for sport as well as adaptive recreation and dance — the Aeriosa Dance Society is relocating to the Saanich Peninsula to be able to use the centre.
It will be a cross-training facility as well, offering yoga, Pilates and dance.
Jarzebiak said the ability for the public to access the climbing wall will depend on the construction schedule.
Meanwhile, the society got a major financial shot in the arm last week when Peninsula Co-op announced it was giving a $50,000 donation to help fund the gym’s expansion.
That means just over $2.3 million of the total $2.8-million project costs has been raised.
Watch for details at www.climbtheboulders.com.