Canmore Getting New Climbing Gym – Gananoque Reporter



(Pictured) Pete Glanzig lead rock climbs, with Rob Price on belay, at Elevation Place Canmore on October 14. Face masks are required while not actively climbing and belaying. Currently only thirty people are allowed in the climbing gym at any one time. Access to Elevation Place amenities is permitted to individuals participating in a scheduled time slot for one activity only. Photo Marie Conboy/ Postmedia. jpg, BA

Canmore is one of Canada’s top climbing towns, with world-class ice, alpine and sport routes spread across dozens of ranges. Over 20 years ago, The Vsion bouldering gym opened thanks to climber and owner Dung Nguyen’s vision of having a core training facility. The Vsion closed when Elevation Place’s climbing gym opened. However, a bouldering gym co-op started at the same time with some of The Vsion’s old walls and pads. That co-op closed and reopened in a new location, which closed earlier this year.

The Vsion was in business for 12 years. When the climbing community supported a climbing gym at Elevation Place, many believed Nguyen would run it. However, the town decided to run the operation itself and Nguyen moved back to his hometown of Montreal. It was a sad loss for the area.

Nguyen and his sister were adopted as children in the late 1970s at the end of the Vietnam War. The boat they were on sunk, which resulted in them being stranded on an island for a year before being picked up and brought to Canada. He moved to Canmore in 1996 to become a mountain guide. He built a small six-foot wide, 12-foot tall climbing wall in his condo, which became the Canmore climber’s hub.

A couple from Saskatchewan had opened a climbing gym around the same time, but decided to sell it. Nguyen was in a bidding war with other climbers in town but ended up with the space, which he called The V’sion. “I was 28 and went into business a little blind,” Nguyen told me. “We gave it a facelift and it became the Vsion. We were one of the first bouldering gyms in Canada.” Nguyen coached one of the strongest Canadian youth teams over the past 20 years, and brought the first World Cup to town in 2011.

This fall, top climber and Bow Valley resident, Sonnie Trotter, teamed up with a few other local climbers to open the Canmore Climbing Gym. The new facility will be close to Vertical Addiction, Canmore’s climb and ski shop, and the Canmore Brewery. The panels will be 12 feet wide, will be flat and will be divided into five sections: zero degrees, 10, 20, 30 and two MoonBoards. There will be bathrooms and a small weight training area.

Unlike the two bouldering co-ops, ice tools will not be allowed, which many climbers are happy about. It will also provide a space for the local climbing teams to train. The gym is a much-needed space, as Elevation Place, which often had waitlists before the pandemic, fills to capacity daily during covid. When it’s busy, bouldering is dangerous as there are people walking below climbers. There have been more than a few times where a climber has fallen onto someone.

Indoor bouldering is one of the best ways to train for outdoor climbing and having a modern space run by strong climbers will make many climbers happy campers. Be sure to follow them on social media for regular updates.