Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

Aspire Climbing – A new Ontario climbing gym in the centre of Milton.

Based in Milton, Aspire Climbing is one Ontario's newest climbing gyms. We recently caught up with the folks at Aspire Climbing and asked them a few questions including what it's like to operate a climbing gym in the centre of Ontario's oldest and most popular climbing regions.
How long has Aspire Climbing been open?
Aspire Climbing: Six months in October.
Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Why did you choose to open in the Milton region? After all, you're just minutes away from such well-established outdoor climbing areas like Mount Nemo, Rattlesnake Point, Buffalo Crag and Kelso.
Aspire Climbing: Milton has a long history of climbing in Ontario. Being one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, it was an ideal location to offer a full service climbing facility. There's also the benefit of being relatively central to Halton region and eastern Peel, allowing us to draw from surrounding communities like Cambridge, Georgetown, Brampton, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and even Hamilton.

Aspire Climbing Location

Tell us a little bit about the gym? In particular the physical space, wall height, and training opportunities.
Aspire Climbing: Aspire Climbing is a state of the art facility with over 10,000sq/ft of climbing surface. Our space was specifically designed to cater to different climbing groups with a dedicated kids climbing space which includes 10ft bouldering walls and 25ft top rope walls with kids themed climbing; perfect for hosting parties and events. Our bouldering area consists of 16ft walls with varying angles including 45° and roof with over 60 boulder problems. Our main climbing space features 30ft top rope/lead walls with a lead-only cave. We have over 80 individual routes, most of which are leadable.
 
The first phase of our training area is currently under construction and will completed in October. It will feature 2 structures; the first will offer varying campus board (rungs, balls and volumes) and a peg board, the second will offer various pull-up apparatus' and campus ladder.
 
Also this fall, we will be opening a retail segment to our business, offering a wide selection of gear and merchandise. To kick this off, we are hosting a Gear Demo Night on Sunday, November 13th from 6pm to 9pm. Brands like Scarpa, LaSportiva, FiveTen, Butora and Petzl will be on hand with demo fleets so customers can try all their latest products and make side-by-side comparisons. Look out for special deals on this night so mark your calendar!
Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

You also have a "Ninja" course in the gym. I think that you're the only gym in Ontario (Canada?) with this type of apparatus. Can you describe the course and how it fits in with the rest of the gym? 
Aspire Climbing: We are the first and only full service climbing gym offering a Ninja Warrior course in Canada. The challenging course features quad steps, salmon ladder, sea-of-discs/balls, jungle swings, cargo nets and warped walls. It's a great attraction for our facility and a seamless compliment to climbing. It's a lot of fun!
Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Ok, let's talk route setting. Is there a particular style of routes or problems that you would say embodies the Aspire ideals?
Aspire Climbing: Route setting is the fundamental product in any climbing facility, and we take a lot of pride in our products! We aim for 5 star climbing. The setting at Aspire can be described and fun, aesthetic, intelligent climbing at any grade. From 5.4 to 5.14, we do not set ladders. With over 60 boulder problems and 80 routes, we have a lot of variety. Boulder problems are set with a mix of style guidelines (risk, intensity, complexity, flow and aesthetics) in addition to difficulty. This ensures a good variety for our customers, while keeping our setting team well rounded in their skills. Our routes also follow a similar guideline, with a priority of flow and aesthetics. When you walk into our facility, the climbing immediately looks fun, with some of the best holds and volumes in the industry.
Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Who built the facility?
Aspire Climbing: Aspire Climbing is the showroom facility for Rockwerx Canada. Located under the same roof, Rockwerx is the construction side of our business, Aspire is the entertainment. It's our in-house R&D facility allowing us to test new products and construction methods. What we learn through the customer facing side of our business with Aspire, gives us additional insight for our Rockwerx clients, when designing and building new climbing gyms, walls and structures.
What's been the response from Milton-based climbers?
Aspire Climbing: Milton based climbers are thrilled that this community finally has an indoor home base to compliment the nearby escarpment. But the overall response from surrounding communities has been incredible.
Do you folks offer any special clinics or promos that might be of interest to climbers?
Aspire Climbing: Programming is a very important part of our business and we start at a very young age. Our School of Hard Rock is our youth development program for kids aged 3 to 12. The Vanguards is the advanced development stream of our program for kids showing exceptional climbing talent and potential. Team Grip Aspire is our youth competitive program with some off the most talented youth climbers in Ontario. For adults, we will be launching Crave Climbing in November. This group training program will be focused on developing and feeling good climbing movement through kinaesthetic learning of solid climbing technique. It's a fun and social way to improve your climbing and make friends along the way. 
Aspire Climbing

Aspire Climbing

Who's the typical Aspire customer?
Aspire Climbing: We don't have a typical customer because our facility was designed from the ground up to appeal to all customer types, including birthday parties, ninja's, new and experienced boulderers and route climbers. Each area is separate allowing all customers to enjoy their chosen activity.
What do you think Aspire does that sets it apart from other climbing gyms?
Aspire Climbing: We have an amazing, carefully selected team of passionate individuals inspired to give our customers the opportunity to experience more. From our products to our programs, it shows in everything that we do. 
 
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk about Aspire Climbing! 
You can find out more about Aspire Climbing at http://www.aspireclimbing.ca/
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 25 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid 80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.