Five climbing enthusiasts- and a lot of supporters- are pushing to build a new climbing facility in Rossland.
And if things go as they hope, it could be open by the fall.
“It will be a bouldering wall, not something that’s very high to climb, not rope climbing,” says Oliver Brayshaw, one of the founders of the Rossland Climbing Society.
“It will be a training facility, great for kids and people just getting into climbing, you only need shoes and chalk and you can get going.”
Brayshaw thinks the bouldering wall could bring a popular new activity to the Rossland area.
“We’re not blessed with amazing climbing around Rossland,” he says. “We have one small crag, but most bouldering and climbing is done around Castlegar and on the way to Nelson.”
Brayshaw and the rest of the society held a meeting earlier this year to see what kind of support was out there for such a wall. He says since then they’ve had more than 150 people say they’d be willing to pay to use such a facility.
Brayshaw’s not surprised by the interest that’s out there.
“The reason is the ease to get into the sport. You don’t have to be a mountaineer,” he says. “It has really taken off. It appeals to all kinds of people- people with kids, people who do yoga- it’s almost like yoga, with the movements you do.
“It’s for people who don’t know anything about climbing outside. Many have only climbed on plastic, and they’re totally happy with that. It’ a kind of a city sport.”
It’s the location they have to figure out now. Brayshaw says the group is eyeing several facilities- including industrial space on the edge of town, an old City storage building on the Emcon lot, and even the arena. Where they end up will have a lot of effect on the group’s budget, and how they go about raising the funds they need.
“It’s going to be largely dependent on what the city can do for us,” he says. “We have started discussion with the new recreation officer in town. She said we have to come up with a formal proposal to submit to the city.
“We would really prefer if the City would step up in some way, perhaps with space.”
That proposal is being worked on now, but Brayshaw is hopeful the facility could launch in just a few months.
“I would like it to happen today, but I think realistically we might see something by the fall. It would take some time to build it.”