Tag Archives: bouldering

The first-time climb at The Edge Climbing Centre

15 Feb

Difficulty: Low to never ever, never ever ever

Enjoyment-factor: As fun as it gets

Cost: $$ Medium to muchos

Not for the weak-willed, or armed

For my first ever vertical foray, I went to The Edge Climbing Centre in North Vancouver, which from the outside looks like the perfect abandoned warehouse to dump a body. Inside, however, is a multi-platform climbing paradise. It’s a thrilling sight for anyone who is a tree-climbing child at heart.

To get you warmed up there is a practice wall, and after about five  minutes on it I had the impression that climbing might be super easy. Ha!

Bouldering vs. Top Rope/Lead Climbing

Lead climbing and top rope climbing are the conventional harness and rope system, where a trusted (and certified) partner belays you from below while you ascend fake indoor mountains.

Bouldering (what I did) is done without a harness, and instead of scaling large neck-breaking walls, they have shorter walls up to about 10 ft high. Below them are large gymnasium mats for when you fall or jump down after reaching the top. All of the walls are covered in putty-like molds, called climbing holds, that are marked with colourful tape to show you different routes of varying difficulty. There are about six-ish main walls for bouldering at The Edge, so these climbing holds are constantly being moved around to create new routes for frequent guests.

















The practice wall at The Edge















Climbing can look a lot like watching

My lack of technique, arm strength and height was a bit of a challenge and meant that I did more looking at walls than climbing them. You’re not alone though, a lot of people are constantly standing around watching each other, taking a breather or waiting for their turn.

Grading the workout


In truth, I did a lot of standing around, and at the end of it I wasn’t sure if I had actually done anything I could call exercise. For me, there were super easy routes or impossible ones, including some that were like climbing the underside of a table.

The next day I didn’t feel any soreness, but then suddenly on day two I found myself in a world of hurt. My muscles still ache in the most bizarre areas of my body, particularly my hands. It’s been three days and I’m still having difficulty brushing my hair.

Back to class


Staff at The Edge highly recommended taking a class instead of just winging it, because there is a lot of lingo and technique to learn.

Besides their week-long courses, they suggest to take their novice movement class that is free with your drop-in fee. It runs every two weeks.

Climbing costs and accoutrements

At The Edge:

  • Drop-in fee: for unlimited climbing fun: $16.80
  • Shoes (they feel two sizes too small on purpose): $6
  • Harness for route climbing/belaying: $3
  • Chalk and bag for chalk. (This stuff will end up all over you.)
  • Wear loose clothing you can bend in easily. Girls, this is the last place you want to wear black tights that are actually a bit see through.

Hurt me baby, one more time

This was not the easiest exercise to try and I am too poor to go on a regular basis, but I do plan to go again. There was nothing more satisfying than reaching the top, and even though I’m terrified of heights, dropping down from a safe distance onto a gym mat was pretty fun too.

Where to climb

The Edge is located in North Vancouver and the other local climbing outfit, Cliffhanger Climbing, has three locations in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Richmond.

Next week

To offset the expensive nature of this activity, next week I’m going to see what exercise deals I can get with my student card.