The Skeena Climbing Society is aiming to make the sport easily available in the Terrace area.
From clearing new routes to hosting climbing nights and events, society director Sarah Knowles says they want to create a network of climbers as interest grows.
“We just want to make rock climbing accessible for everybody in the community, so anybody that wants to try… [we can make it] possible for them,” she says. “[We also have] beginner rock climbing days, so these are huge ways to get more people and certify them out on the rock.”
Officially established in 2017 and now registered under the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC (FMCBC), their society provides resources and information to encourage eager climbers of all levels to touch the sky. To date, they currently have 86 members — almost double compared to 58 from last year.
With an increase in numbers, Knowles says it’s important for them to have a collective source of knowledge in both technique and the local landscape to keep everybody in the loop.
“If you’re a rock climber already, or if you’re passing through, looking somewhere new to climb or even if you’ve never climbed before… our page comes up and it definitely makes it an easier way to find others and connect,” she says.
Knowles says members pay an annual fee that helps the Skeena Climbing Society run as an organization and includes insurance coverage in case of any accidents.
During the winter time, they host climbing nights at Caledonia Secondary School to hang onto their physique. Plans on extending the indoor rock wall at the school gymnasium or elsewhere are still in discussion.
As part of FMCBC, which also oversees other outdoor recreational clubs such as kayakers, skiers and mountain bikers, they’re responsible for protecting and maintaining access to the backcountry. In order to access certain rock faces, the society needs to establish access agreements with government and private landowners to let them through.
They also hope to produce a guidebook for the area which would include all the routes in the midst of being improved and established. Most recently, the society hosted their second annual Copper Mountain Cleanup where members cleared out trails and set up visible signage.
For Knowles, she says rock climbing is a great way to challenge yourself and although it can be intimidating at first, it’s a safe sport if done right.
“I really think that there’s something physically but also mentally [great], with a lot of emotion involved when you’re on the rock climbing wall, whether it would be indoor or outdoor,” she says.
“It’s a really good way for people to grow, to get stronger, but also to push themselves to the limit. I think if it’s done properly in a really safe environment, you’re attached to a really strong rope to not only a person who is belaying you, but is also there to assist you.”
The warmer months have been keeping the climbing society outdoors and busy with events such as their upcoming bouldering competition next month. An official date has yet to be announced.
An introduction to rock climbing course will also be taking place on July 6 to 7, instructed by Solstice Alpine Guides. Information about registration is available via Facebook.