Climbing Opportunities in Thunder Bay
By: Savanah Tillberg
As residents of Thunder Bay, we are all tremendously lucky to be surrounded by such beautiful landscapes, including lakes, rivers, and forests. However, our ‘mountain’ scenery is gaining popularity not only for its esthetics but also for its sport-functionality. Rock climbing has become increasingly popular amongst Thunder Bay residents and as a result, resources for climbers of all skill levels have been ‘creeping up’ all over the city.
One of the most popular and accessible local climbing establishments is Boulder Bear Climbing Center. The climbing gym opened their doors in the winter of 2016. In addition to their safe climbing facilities, they also have a more traditional gym area complete with weights and equipment.
Boulder Bear offers day passes, various membership packages, birthday parties, and equipment rentals. If you’re new to the sport of climbing and don’t feel comfortable ‘jumping’ in, Boulder Bear offers beginners classes, as well as certification courses and several other more advanced climbing courses. They also offer programs including Kid’s that Rock, which aims to introduce children to the sport, Ladies Only Climbing Nights, and Friday Night Climb Off, for the more competitive climbers.
The main benefit of their climbing facility is quite obvious: it’s indoors. You can enjoy all the thrills that rock climbing provides without the harsher chills that our North Western Ontario climate often brings. Although the company has a large indoor facility, Boulder Bear also offers outdoor climbing opportunities to transition climbers at various levels “from the gym to the rocks” through group or private instruction.
For those climbing enthusiasts who prefer executing their climb in the great outdoors, never fear, as there are additional resources for you as well. Outdoor Skills and Thrills (O.S.A.T.) is an outdoor-based-local rock climbing establishment, whose objective statement really says it all: “At Outdoor Skills and Thrills we strive to help grow a larger community of climbers and adventure seekers who are safe, skilled, knowledgeable, and passionate to share their love for the outdoors with others and to live life to the fullest!”
O.S.A.T. offers near daily activities in rock and ice climbing throughout the year for all levels. You can look up their calendar on their website and join a group for an excursion, or if you wish you can create your our open excursion or book private climbs for your group. O.S.A.T. also offers rock climbing and first aid courses for those who wish to take their climbing knowledge further.
If you consider yourself to be a climbing aficionado and wish to venture out on your own climbing adventure there are resources for you as well. The Crag Collaborative Climbing is a website which acts as a forum for climbers to share different climbing locations worldwide. This gives climbers access to navigational coordinates to climbing routes as well as comments about the routes, and a grading of difficulty. This is an excellent tool for climbing your local area as well as exploring other parts of the world.
Whether you’re a beginner climber or an expert in all areas of the sport, there are resources right here in Thunder Bay suitable for everyone! Regardless of whether you prefer being indoors, outdoors, or a combination of both, it is important that you respect the safety rules of the activity and take every precaution to ensure a safe and fun climbing experience.