Rock climbers in the Shuswap will be able to keep up their hobby year-round – minus the commute – when the Gym of Rock, Salmon Arm’s first indoor rock-climbing facility, opens its doors.
Currently, the closest rock climbing gym is located in Vernon, with others in Kelowna and Kamloops. Under construction at the Westgate Public Market, the Gym of Rock aims to offer something for all ages and experience levels when the facility is complete.
“It is going to be an all-ages, all-abilities climbing gym. It will have bouldering, hook climbing and a kids’ section, but the focus is really that there is something for everybody,” says Rebecca Scott, part of the husband-and-wife duo opening the gym. “We know Salmon Arm has a fairly large outdoor climbing community, and we know a lot of those people go to Vernon and Kamloops and Kelowna to climb. The community in general is quite outdoors- and activity oriented.”
While the pair aren’t exactly rock-climbing fanatics, their kids are – and this is primarily what inspired them to go down this path when thinking about starting up business as a family.
“We’re not huge climbers, but our kids love climbing,” says Sean Scott. “When we travel we always take them to the local climbing gyms and they love it, so that was a big push. We just wanted to do something that families could do in Salmon Arm because we have three boys, and sometimes it’s challenging to find something the whole family all enjoys.”
The Gym of Rock is hoping to offer lessons once they are open for a while and can hire certified instructors.
“Sean will be getting an instructor’s licence and we will be hiring people. For the first year, probably, we are not going to be offering lessons; we are going to stick to climbing and bouldering, birthday parties and drop-in stuff,” Rebecca says. “And then we’ll work our way into lessons and camps and all that kind of stuff.”
Setting up any business requires some leg work, but in the case of a climbing gym it has called for plenty of consultation and design work.
“We went to every climbing wall from the Kootenays all the way down to the Coast; we have been speaking with a guy who put a huge one up in Regina, who has given us a lot of info,” Rebecca says.
“We are in the design phase right now so we have our funding, we are through all of that and we are into the second stage of design.
After design there is pre-fabrication and then they come here.”
The Scotts are working with a company called HPCW (High-Performance Climbing Walls), a Canadian company based out of Cowichan on Vancouver Island, to design and build the walls for the Gym of Rock.
“One thing we are really trying to push too is that everything we need to start up, we are trying to keep it in Canada or as local as possible,” says Sean.
“HPCW is on the Island, there are tons of options in the U.S. but we really wanted to keep it as local as possible.
“We were happy to find one in B.C. that was rated so highly.”
While the couple have big plans for Salmon Arm’s first indoor climbing wall, their biggest limitation is space.
The facility will be about 2,500 square feet in total, but they are looking to be creative and use the space efficiently to offer the best possible experience to their customers.