"Indoor climbing can offer so many benefits," says Henry Wang, owner of The Edge Climbing Centre in North Vancouver. "You're getting a cardio workout, developing muscles when you use your entire body to climb up, and you're also solving a puzzle, which keeps you mentally active as well."
Henry and his team at The Edge Climbing Centre offer a number of climbing programs and sets for both the novice and experienced climber.
A three-hour introductory course teaches newcomers to the sport how to climb and belay in a safe environment. This popular course covers all aspects of climbing safety and includes one week of free climbing time after the class is finished to practice what you've learned.
"Our Beyond the Basics course is the next step," Henry says. "Participants take a weekly class for five weeks and learn movement techniques along with climbing on different terrains."
While taking these beginner courses, Henry finds that many people develop the social bonds that are common between climbers.
"People often set up times to climb together after a course," Henry notes.
A popular climbing course that's guaranteed to give a good physical workout is the Coffee, Climbing, and Conditioning (CCC) class run by experienced climber and coach, Ean Kramer. Starting at 6 a.m., CCC offers a way to grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee from Bean Around the World and get a physical and mental workout before heading off to the office.
"Ean has a following of loyal climbers who really enjoy and thrive on his workout programs," Henry explains. "He has a holistic approach that combines climbing skill with a bit of life coaching."
If you're a more experienced climber, you'll enjoy the new World Class bouldering routes set by The Edge Climbing Centre’s Simon Parton.
"Simon is British Columbia's only World Cup certified route setter," Henry says. "Bouldering is climbing lower walls without ropes and the World Cup routes are quite different from the day-to-day settings. The moves are more intricate, more difficult and they also challenge Simon because he has to be more creative and careful of route placement."
The Edge Climbing Centre recently went through renovations to add a wall dedicated to world-class bouldering climbs.
"It's definitely not for beginners," says Henry, "but you don't have to be an advanced level climber either. Once you're comfortable with climbing technique and safety, there's a route to fit your level."