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Barrie is getting a new rock climbing gym

Local climbing enthusiasts aim to create community hub

Jaclyn Kane is a married mother of two toddlers whose passion for rock climbing is becoming a business.

Kane, who works for the Simcoe County District School Board, and her husband Michael Moore, a high school teacher in York Region, are opening Alt. Rock, Barrie's first rock climbing gym.

"This was a big risk for us but we enjoy indoor climbing. We like going to the gym. We have two young kids, a 3 and 4-year-old. Right now if we want to do anything like this we have to get in the car and it's about an hour away," said Kane. 

"The time is right. Bouldering, which is the type of gym that we are, is going to be in the Olympics in 2020 so we thought it was a good business opportunity to set up shop and do something before the Olympic rush comes in."

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing without ropes or harnesses. Alt. Rock will have climbing shoes to rent and chalk to keep hands dry and provide a firmer grip.  Mats prevent injuries from falls

Kane started rock climbing 7 years ago and husband Moore has been scaling walls for 30.

Alt. Rock's 14,000 square feet space on Dunlop St. West is in the final stages of renovation. 

The gym will have 6,500 square feet of climbing walls, a fitness section for cross training, classes and an on-site personal trainer.

Kane and Moore are working with custom builder Rockwerx Canada to design and construct the facility with its electric green lines and massive grey structures. 

"This is a different design. For people who have been climbing for years, this is going to be exciting for them," said Kane. 

Alt. Rock will have standard gym packages, annual and monthly memberships, day passes, birthday party packages and more. 

It is part of the movement culture, a community of people interested in learning more about the body, health, wellness and human performance. 

Kanes says there are a lot of fitness benefits to rock climbing.

"You're using your body weight, your mind, your fingertips. You're using every piece of your body to climb and you're learning your centre of balance. People think it's arm strength but a lot of it is core and legs."

She noted that on the hit television show American Ninja Warriors, all of the top winners are climbers.

But Kane says anyone can do the sport - all ages and fitness levels. 

"You just need a mindset. It's intimidating to some people," she said, explaining the attraction to her. 

"For me it was a combination in that it's an individual sport but you have a community that supports you. You get to see your own progress. You're not compared to anybody else but then you're surrounded by people on the mats that support you."

Alt. Rock is keeping prices affordable with an adult day pass for $20, a family day pass for two adults and two children $60 and discounts for children, the military, seniors and students.

The couple is hoping to open for the Christmas break and everyone is welcome.

"We want this to be a community hub that's inclusive to all," said Kane. 

Alt. Rock is located at 445 Dunlop St. West, Unit A.

Watch for the gym's opening on its social media platforms including ALT. ROCK - Home | Facebook.