WINNIPEG – The introduction of climbing to the Olympics gives a boost to the Hive, a local climbing gym.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase with the Olympics, both in climbers and in general conversations and questions,” said Garrett Fache, a supervisor at Hive.
“A lot of people come up to speed to see what a climbing hall looks like, what training facilities all these athletes use.”
Olympic climbing consists of three disciplines: speed, bouldering and lead. The athletes compete against each other in each discipline to collect total points.
Climbers race up a 45 meter long wall at high speed, which is littered with standardized grips. As a controversial addition to the Olympics, it will be a separate event at the Paris Games in 2024.
Lead is very similar to what people see on indoor play walls, only a lot tougher. The evaluation is simple: the climbers have six minutes to see who can make it on the 45 meter high wall. All connections are interrupted by whoever made it the fastest.
Bouldering, which is the focus at the Hive, consists of four “problems” that climbers have to solve in four minutes each. Climbers get points for reaching each peak and partial points for reaching different zones on the walls.
“It’s a boulder-specific gym, so there are no ropes, harnesses and helmets. It climbs up and comes back down to the mats, ”said Fache.
“Although all climbing is kind of similar and based on the same idea. Bouldering will be a bit different in some ways, but it focuses on the strength through all movements. It tends to be shorter and is really just strength, strength and problem solving.”
Fache said bouldering is a full-body workout, including the brain.
“It takes a lot of body tension in all of your movements. It’s also good mental exercise. They don’t call it bouldering for no reason. You have to find your way through your route.”
According to Fache, sport is also a great way to get to know people.
“It’s very, very fun. It’s a social activity,” he said. “It’s a really easy way to meet people. We could both work on promotion so we’d talk each other through.”
While no Canadian has managed to win a climbing medal this year, Fache said it still inspires Winnipeggers.
“The Olympic Games showed us that you don’t have to have mountains to be a really good climber.
-With files from Associated Press