Prince Rupert’s rocky mountains may be a little too slippery to try climbing, but inside the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre this fall recreationalists can simulate that same experience with the Devil’s Crag Climbing Wall, which has been revived in part by Benjamin Punnett.
Two introduction to climbing courses have been arranged for Sept. 21 and Nov. 2 and Monday and Thursday sessions supervised by the Rupert Rock Climbers will run until Christmas.
“We’re really hoping to bring in people who may have never tried it or who may have tried it in the past and want to come back to it,” said Punnett last week.
“You can go at your own pace. It’s not dependent on a large group of people. Most climbing you just need yourself and a partner. … lots of communication and it’s social so there’s lots of time to talk … it’s a cooperative effort.”
Punnett and company have outfitted the climbing wall in the recreational centre with tape, signifying a certain route that climbers of all skill levels can attempt.
Users can learn how to belay in the introductory sessions.
“You don’t really have to have instruction all the time. [For me] after a beginner course, I just took it from there … it’s definitely beneficial to have good climbers around. Having someone at your level or higher is great, you really feed off each other.”
Punnett is hoping to develop a community that will regularly interact with each other and help out newcomers or existing members whenever it’s needed.
“I think the community is one of the things that really kept me with climbing. The actual activity drew me in initially but most of the gyms I’ve been to, have all had amazing communities and that’s something we’re really hoping to see develop,” said the organizer, who started rock climbing regularly four years ago in Victoria while attending school.
“You can have an expert climbing with a beginner and it doesn’t detract from one person’s experience which is quite unique, I think, compared to a lot of sports.”