Wednesday was Fitness Day in the 2018 Search for Miss World Canada, and it’s a pretty big deal. On that 25th July morning our little army boarded the bus to go… around the corner? Yes. The fitness gym we selected for this year’s event was located very close to the hotel.
Hub Climbing at 165 McIntosh Drive in Markham is more than a climbing gym, it’s a rock climber’s paradise with hundreds of challenges that are always-changing to keep it fresh for members. This giant 18,000 square ft structure has an unlikely entrance facing the foliage at McIntosh and Woodbine. Hub Climbing is the largest climbing gym in Ontario and the largest bouldering facility in Canada. The main entrance faces north-west, as you can see above.
Everyone who walks in the door must watch a safety video and sign waivers, even if they are just watching.
What is Miss World Canada Fitness Day?
Every year there is a Fitness Day. That’s because to comply with the parameters set out by the international Miss World organization license agreement, the Miss World Canada pageant has to test the fitness of all entrants and add those values to their scores on Saturday night. Also worth noting, the winner of the Fitness Day mini competition is fast-tracked into the Top 20. With that in mind, we asked the staff at Hub Fitness to create a measurable physical fitness exam and rank the participants accordingly.
Brandon Rowland – Assistant Facility Manager at Hub Climbing really went above and beyond. He rose to the challenge and designed, organized and staffed a five-part ordeal that involved top-rope climbing, bouldering and a solo climb against ‘The Dragon’. The high scorers were:
By now readers who don’t know are probably wondering, what the heck is bouldering anyway?
Bouldering at Hub Climbing in Markham
Although Hub Climbing offers yoga, dance classes and fitness boot camps, those folks who go here know its really all about the bouldering. Hub Climbing specializes in offering climbers’ puzzles.
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses. While its meant to be done without any special equipment at all, our people did use climbing shoes provided by Hub to help secure footholds. The ladies also applied chalk to their hands to keep them dry and provide a firm grip, and there was some comfort knowing that thick foamy bouldering mats were laid out below to prevent any serious injuries from falls.
Unlike free solo climbing, which is also performed without ropes, bouldering problems are the sequence of moves that a climber performs to complete the climb. To be clear, this could mean moving in any direction, horizontal, diagonal or vertical; its the puzzle and the solution that comprises bouldering, not simply the act of maneuvering around a boulder as you see so magnificently illustrated in these photos.
One of the team challenges performed on Fitness Day was a relay race across the traverse you see above. Traverse is also the technical name for this form of boulder problem solving. The fitness test here designed by Hub required four climbers from two competing teams to race against the clock, and each other, and climb horizontally from one end to other. Each girl had to do it twice; they had to go from one end to the other, and then back again. Bouldering relies on problem solving, planning and physical fitness. Getting a good score here felt great.
Autobelays at Hub Climbing Change The Game
Autobelays have replaced the belayer in Top Roping. Rock climbing used to requires the climber tie themselves onto a rope, and then ascend a wall while a belayer would stand nearby and tend to the rope as a counterweight. But now, in this age of modern marvels we have autobelays which can catch a falling climber better than a human belayer. This evolution required some explanation, but the takeaway was ‘its safe’, and ‘you won’t fall too hard’.
These automatic rope minding devices didn’t make it any easier for the delegates to climb the wall. The device is a supervisor of sorts, although in truth there was always Staff watching the ascents. This is something Hub calls supervised climbing. It’s the most common style of climbing used in indoor climbing walls. Top rope climbing with autobelayers offers the rock climbing experience with all of the rewards, less risks and more freedom to experiment and try new things.
If climbers fall, they will usually only fall a few feet until the rope catches them. The only risk of injury is that they might descend too fast at some point and bang the wall and the boulders therein on the way down, and so each climber was instructed to ‘fall’ facing the wall.
Hub Climbing offers autobelays as an alternative to having a belayer manage the ropes for you. When a climber reaches the top or falls, they simply push back and the autobelay mechanism will catch them and slowly lower them to the ground. Every delegate participated – no excuses.
Even those with bejeweled handicaps attempted the rope climb and bouldering exercises.
In the south west corner of the facility, the organizers placed a speed climb challenge which was a race to the top of the wall to punch a button and stop a clock. The best time was just over ten seconds.
Hub Climbing boasts 18,000 square feet of fitness space with more than 200 boulder problems ranging from easy, hand-over-hand problems to exhausting, complex full-body-workout type problems. Fitness Day is easily the most physically demanding ordeal for all participants. But it is also among the most rewarding, and confidence building days. Every time a contestant succeeds in their climb, they find it immensely gratifying to look down from atop the wall.
Scaling The Dragon at Hub Climbing
The centerpiece of Hub Climbing facility is a 23 ft high boulder shaped like a dragon.
One by one each delegate took her turn and attempted to climb her way up the chest toward the neck and then up towards the chin of the beast. Every rock touched by the climber adds to her score. Our best climber managed to score 50 points. Below is Natasha attempting the Dragon.
Lunch on Fitness Day was provided by Johnny’s Schwarma
Lunch was provided by Johnny’s Schwarma at 1904 Kennedy Rd in Scarborough. The very generous local caterer sent two hundred or more beef, chicken and vegetarian wraps. The wraps were a great choice for Fitness Day as the ladies could eat anywhere and several took their lunch outside to sit at nearby picnic tables under shade trees.
Below is a Johnny’s Schwarma party platter pita warp tray for twelve people. There were ten or more such trays delivered along with drinks.
Hub Climbing is a huge social space. Climbing is already well known for being a friendly and inviting sport but this place is over the top. At Hub there’s always someone hanging around willing to help you out, and encourage new climbers and veterans taking on difficult climbs. The Hub staff cultivate a special sense of camaraderie that even die-hard soloists appreciate when it helps them ascend new heights.
Beyond the very open-concept layout of the gym area, there’s also plenty of space to sit, chill, eat and drink while you recharge between missions. After their teams competed and got their final scores, the ladies relaxed and explored the space finding the tube descent seen below.
This slide down is a lot easier than the climb up.