True North Climbing is excited to be hosting the Eastern Canadian Youth Regional Climbing Championships April 21st and 22nd. This roped climbing competition (Difficulty) for climbers under 20 is the last stop in the east before Youth Nationals, which will be held May 19-21 at Horizon Roc Climbing Centre in Montreal.
Following are the details for competitors; more details will be filled in here as available.
Registration for the comp is either in person at the gym or by phone (no online registration). The registration fee is $70 + HST = $79.10. The registration fee is not refundable. Registration can be done at the gym, or by phone: 416 398-7625. Please have the competitor’s name, category and CEC/FQME membership number available when registering. The best time to call is early in the day (between 10am and 5pm, before the gym gets very busy!). Please don’t wait until the last minute to register!
Final Schedule (updated Friday April 20th at 6:15pm):
Saturday, April 21st:
7:00 Registration and Lead Tests
8:45 Technical Meeting
9:00 Qualifying Route 1 Demonstration
12:30 Qualifying Round 1 Ends
13:00 Qualifying Round 2 Demonstration
16:30 Qualifying Round 2 Ends
Sunday, April 22nd:
8:00 Isolation Opens for Semi-Final Round
8:30 Isolation Closes for Semi-Final Round
8:30 Technical meeting for competitors inside Isolation Zone
8:45 Semi-final Round Starts
10:45: Semi-final Round Ends
12:30 Isolation Zone Opens for Finals
13:00 Isolation Zone Closes; Finals Start
15:00: Speed event (Demonstration)
Holiday Inn Express North York is offering discount rates for those attending the comp. You can use the link below, or call the hotel at 416 665-3500 and ask for the Sports Industry Special Rate. This offers a saving of $15-$20 per night, and includes a Full Breakfast Buffet and free parking.
True North Climbing celebrates its second anniversary today, so it’s time to take a look back at our first two years, and a little bit forward as well.
First some interesting numbers. In our first two years of business, we have reached the following milestones:
Evolving the Business
The focus of our gym has been to help grow the sport by being welcoming to new climbers, while providing a good range of climbing for everyone to enjoy. When we opened we kept things very simple, starting with day passes, 10-passes, memberships, Introductory Lessons and birthday parties, and not much else. As we figured out how to get the basics running smoothly, we gradually added more offerings:
As we reach our 2-year milestone we have to say farewell to former Head Instructor/Head Routesetter Dustin Curtis, who is moving to Vancouver to join a new bouldering gym there, The Hive. Dustin has made enormous contributions to True North Climbing in his 2+ years with us, and we have learned a lot from him during that time. We wish him well in his next adventure. Dustin will be back as Chief Routesetter for the Eastern Youth Regional Championship roped climbing competition that we are hosting April 21/22.
Our business is still growing, and we’re now making money! In addition to making the payments on the large loans that were required to build the gym, and starting to provide a return on investment, this also allows us to invest more in improving the gym.
One change that is underway and will be visible soon is our move to electronic digital waivers. Instead of having to print out, sign, manually transcribe and scan every waiver form, we’ll be able to make the entire process electronic. This will reduce the use of paper, save our staff countless hours spent transcribing customer information into our database, and ensure more accurate information. While this doesn’t matter directly to everyone who has already signed their waiver form, it means our staff will have more time to spend on other things that are more satisfying for them, and helpful to our customers. We’ll first deploy the online electronic digital waivers, and later install waiver kiosks for electronic waiver entry in the gym.
Another important initiative for us is Climbing Instructor Certification. Some of our instructors have been certified through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) – some at Level 1, some at Level 2. This is an excellent programme, though the logistics involved have made it a real challenge to get as many of our staff through the programme as we would like. The is now another alternative, in the form of the Climbing Wall Association (CWA) Climbing Instructor Certification programme. Gym Manager and Head Instructor Clint Searle has been certified by the CWA as a provider, and we are in the process of getting all of our instructors through that programme. When we have completed that (later this spring?), we’ll be ready to start offering the CWA certification course to the public as well. We feel both certification programmes set a good standard of skill, knowledge and professionalism, and we will continue to support both organizations.
Our goals for the coming months are to continue to grow our business, with a focus on:
We’re aware that we don’t always get everything perfect. For example, we have heard a lot of feedback about grading, and while it’s taking longer than we would like to address this, we are investing in more time forerunning routes and getting a better consensus among the routesetters on what the grades should be like. This is a hard problem to solve with the number of setters we have in our large gym, and it’s been complicated by a busy competition season that has made it hard to focus on this issue.
We welcome your feedback, and are committed to listening and understanding every concern, and doing what we can to respond. If you have a complaint, please make sure we hear it clearly; you can email me at john.gross <at> truenorthclimbing <dot> com if you’re not getting satisfaction. And if you are happy with our joint, please tell your friends! Word of mouth is by far our most effective form of marketing.
I want to give a huge thank you to two groups who have made our success this far possible:
We’re looking forward to many more years of fun and excitement!
John Gross, Owner
On Saturday March 10th we held our third annual Tour de Bloc bouldering competition. Once again it was the final Local comp on the tour circuit, leading up to Eastern Regionals March 24th at Altitude in Gatineau.
We had about 200 competitors climbing throughout the day, including Elise Sethna who joined us from Canmore, Alberta, and a group of 8 Youth climbers from St John’s Newfoundland and Labrador. We got an early start with the Youth categories at 8:30. The Open category (generally the strongest climbers) has their Qualifying round in the early afternoon, and the last group was the Recreational and Experienced categories. By 6pm we were done with the opening round. The top 8 men and women from the Open qualifiers advanced to finals. They were sequestered in the Isolation area while our routesetting team cleared some of the bouldering walls and put up the problems for finals, starting with the 4 women’s problems.
Finals was exciting, with a strong field for both the Men and Women. The Womens final round came down to the final climb. Iyma Lamarche, who had won the previous two Tour de Bloc events had a slim lead over Elise Sethna (who had won our event last year). On problem 4 Iyma wasn’t able to solve the problem, and Elise did, giving her 1st place. Ottawa’s Kerry Briggs took 3rd spot. On the Men’s side TNCI Competitive team member Florent Balsez took first place, with Mark Button second, and TNCI team member Eric Sethna in 3rd, in a close round.
Events like this take an enormous amount of work and preparation to pull off. Chief Routesetters Dustin Curtis and Shaun Hunter, along with Andreas Lerch, Max Lefevre, Gareth Ryan and guest setter Kaleb Thomas from Wallnuts in St John’s Newfoundland did a great job of setting 70 qualifier problems and 8 finals problems. Max and Gareth were back Saturday night after the comp, along with Lina Nikolova and Jonny Briggs, working through the night to restore almost all the qualifier problems to the wall after finals, and repairing the roped routes that had been disrupted by the comp. By Sunday morning the gym was pretty much back to normal again. Michael Jackson served as our Head Judge. We appreciate all the volunteers who acted as judges for the morning Youth session, and as Isolation judges during finals. And our Gym Manager Clint Searle took care of a lot of details behind the scenes, overseeing registration and acting as Scorekeeper.
And it takes more than manpower to make these events happen. There are many expenses that go into staging this event. We are looking for sponsors to work with us to support this event and the other things that go on year-round in the gym. Please contact us if you are interested in helping us continue to hold events like this, and make them bigger and better each time around.
Here are some articles, photos and videos that have been posted from the event (hopefully more to come!):