What can I say about our little gym?
It is the best. Not “state of the art” best, and certainly not “spacious and roomy” best. But what it lacks in modernity it compensates greatly for in community. The community here is the best.
The UNB Rock and Ice club has been around since the 80s, but became a gym in the 90s in the L. B. Gym basement at the University of New Brunswick. Though located on campus and having a university name, most of its members are from the community (albeit, most are UNB alumni).
Picture two squash courts side by side. That is the space we have for our gym because it literally used to be two squash courts. Needless to say, bouldering is our one and only specialty. Setting is a free for all, meaning routes are put up and torn down by volunteers. Anyone can set a problem, but they are subjected to public ridicule if it turns out to be a mess. Many fall victim to this. However, this “quality control” ensures we always have really cool problems.
Our yearly membership is 50$. You heard me correctly. Because we have no overhead costs and we operate as a non-profit gym, we can keep costs low. We are open 6-9 every night except for Saturday, and nightly monitors are all volunteers. A perk to being a monitor is a free membership (yay!) and your name added to the key list which equates to being able to climb whenever you feel like it.
If you are a member, you can benefit from our annual club trip! Our club chooses a location and pays for a portion of the trip (either the camping, the access fee, etc.). People who have never climbed outdoors take this opportunity to meet new friends and try something different. The rest of us like saving money. It is a great bonding experience and I remember my first club trip like it was yesterday.
In terms of money, we do quite well for ourselves. The money we get from drop ins and memberships are put towards mat repair, wall repair, wall re-painting, holds (many, many holds), rental shoes, and other expenses that pop up. We also have a HUGE variety of sport, trad, and ice gear that members can rent out for free! We put on the occasional movie night too, but our biggest fundraiser is hosting the (sold out) Banff Film Festival World Tour every year at the Playhouse.
If you plan on visiting, make sure you do so before September. The university has made the fateful decision to tear down the building in which our gym is housed, with no plans of including a new wall in their new building. We are all scrambling to find something so Fredericton does not go without a gym. There are a couple of options looming about, but nothing definite. Time will tell. On a personal note, I am already pricing out a Moonboard because there is no way I can go without climbing (like I need another reason to purchase a Moonboard).
So, if you’re ever in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada (ha!), come give us a spin! Your first time is free and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Everyone who visits is surprised at the quality of our gym, despite how it looks. Trust me, it is well worth the visit.
Climb on xx
Written by: Allezgirl
Editors Note: Allezgirl runs one of our favorite blogs, if you are looking for information on all things climbing this must be one of your first stops. In addition to being a bomb climber, she has a compassion for the sport, the people, and words she writes that consumes her readers in the most remarkable way. We hope you will stop by her site, and enjoy some her stories, her tips, and featured columns. Allezgirl.com
– The Dihedral