My kids are climbers. Especially my daughter. I've been wanting to check out the Clip'n'Climb gym in Gatineau ever since my daughter scaled their wall in rubber boots at Kidfest this Fall and the experience did not disappoint.
The Clip'n'Climb is a part of Altitude Climbing Gym which is what you would think of more traditionally as a climbing gym. Located at 35 Boulevard Saint-Raymond in an old church (the high ceilings work well for them!) less than 5 minutes off the highway near the Casino, it was easy to get to and find.
How it works
What's different about the Clip'n'Climb is that anyone can do it without any kind of formal training. When you arrive a staff person gives you all the information on putting on your harness and shows you how everything works. As opposed to more traditional climbing you don't need someone to spot you at the bottom because the pulley system does all the work.
You clip yourself in to the wall, wait for a staff person to ok you to climb, climb, and when you're done you simply push back from the wall slowly lower down.
The sessions are an hour and fifteen minutes, cost $15 and you need to book ahead of time. They're only open evenings and weekends as they keep full during week days with special groups and their own camp kids.
Climbing the walls
There are almost 30 walls (I think, I can't find the exact number) of all different levels of difficulty. All of my kids started out by trying the jungle wall and the bubble walls which we were told were the easiest.
Once they were comfortable on those walls they really got going, trying every different kind of wall possible and pushing themselves to (literally) new heights. Several of the walls have a button to push at the top. A couple of times my guys got nervous almost at the top and wanting to push the button is what got them all the way there.
I also liked that they aren't all traditional walls. These green posts were the most popular climb in the gym for my kids - they all tried it several times over.
What else do they do?
My daughter is such a natural climber I had several people come up to me and comment on it and ask how old she was. That started a good conversation with the staff about climbing programs in the other side of the gym and if they were a bit closer to us I would definitely sign her up.
I put together a short video of our time at the gym. I'm so glad we had a chance to check it out. It's been on our list for a long time and instead of crossing it off we're just planning to leave it there because we want to go back soon!
Disclosure: We were given free passes to try out the Clip'n'Climb. All thoughts and opinions are my own.