The climbers of Vancouver Island have a new playground.
“We’re beyond psyched, it’s gonna be awesome,” said Lena Laitinen, a national-level climber from Victoria.
After nearly a year of hanging on through many COVID-19-caused delays, BoulderHouse Langford is officially open for business.
“Super exciting, yeah, it’s been a big leadup to it,” said co-owner Rob Somogy, who also operates the BoulderHouse climbing gym in Victoria. “[It was] a lot of work to get here and still a lot of work left to do but definitely really excited.”
The facility features a 150-foot linear wall for bouldering — a free-form, ropeless type of technical climbing discipline on a shorter wall. There’s also a 6,000-square-foot area on the second floor called the ‘treehouse’, intended for small children.
The opening of BoulderHouse Langford marks the fifth climbing gym to open on southern Vancouver Island, joining The Boulders Climbing Gym in Saanichton, Crag X Indoor Climbing Centre in downtown Victoria, CARSA at the University of Victoria and BoulderHouse’s Victoria location. There’s also indoor facilities located in Duncan, Nanaimo and Campbell River.
“It’s crazy,” said Laitinen, who grew up climbing at Stelly’s Secondary School which is attached to The Boulders Climbing Gym. “We actually have a lot of strong climbers here per capita as well.”
“Honestly, it’s Canada and climbing,” said fellow climbing enthusiast Spencer Percy. “Like, you see how many climbing gyms are across the country and it’s just so well loved here.”
With the sport set to make its Olympic Games debut this summer, climbing is expected to see even more growth in the near future.
“It’s definitely surging,” said Somogy.
“It’s definitely got a lot of places to go,” added Percy.
“To see how much it’s expanded in just the past eight years, I’m like wow this is incredible,” said Laitinen. “We have the infrastructure to, like, raise kids in climbing and show them climbing as a sport for their physical literacy and development and community building.”
Greater Victoria is already currently home to six Olympic national team programs including BoulderHouse’s neighbor, Rugby Canada, who train at the adjacent Starlight Stadium. Somogy says the City of Langford and the southern Vancouver Island climbing community are already discussing the concept of hosting national and international competitions.
“We can definitely, easily host training camps and things like that, that’s definitely going be in the future.”
BoulderHouse Langford is located at 1109 Langford Pkwy.