Climb for FREE at Wallnuts!

Newfoundlanders, this post is for you b’ys.

In my twenty years of climbing history, first of all that makes me sound super old, Wallnuts has been the best climbing gym I have been to. Not just for the climbing. But the warm, friendly atmosphere from the staff, the climbers, the regulars. Back in the day, it was our high school hang out spot, our Halloween party gym. Anyone remember Rock The Power with my tee’s included? Hah. So many memories associated with Wallnuts I simply can’t sum it up into one tiny blog post.

Sure there have been enormous crazy cool looking gyms I’ve climbed at. But it doesn’t come remotely close to how I get all the warm feels from Wallnuts. Wallnuts is not only “just a climbing gym”. It’s a community. Perhaps it’s the fact I climbed since the beginning and it has and always will be my home-gym. Meeting friends while I’m in Newfoundland for a visit? Hit up Wallnuts for a climb to catch up. Mind you, when I return to the climbing gym in St. John’s now after living away for 10 years, I don’t know a soul. But that doesn’t mean they’re not welcoming. It’s just a younger generation, with new-to-me faces and everyone is still loving life and enjoying the gym. It’s fantastic. I’m glad they’re doing well and keeping the business running.

Enough about the reminiscing. Today I wanted to bring to your attention that if you’re in the St. John’s Newfoundland and surrounding areas, that you can climb for free at the gym on Saturday. This Saturday!

If I was home, I’d offer ya a drive even, just to check it out.


greglockephotos02Now I know what you’re thinking. Get those fears out of your head that it’s a scary thing to do, because truthfully after 20 years of climbing, I’m still terrified of heights, even if I free fall for fun, or jump down off the bouldering wall. I think fear is a good thing to have. Keeps me safe at least.

Climbing definitely a whole body workout and you will be having so much fun you won’t even consider it exercise. Don’t have strong arms or finger strength? Not to worry, it’s all in the balance and leg strength for the most part anyway. You don’t need to be strong, a pro, and I promise you that no one will make fun of you. In fact, believe me when I state that people will recognize that you may be a beginner, and will come over, introduce themselves and perhaps give you a bit of beta (tips on how to do a climb/route differently and more efficiently).

greglockephotos01I love climbers man. So please, if you’re free and have always wanted to try it out, print and sign the waiver and pop by the gym. You’ll have to sign up for the Saturday free climbing online or over the phone, and all that information will be in the bottom of the blog post.

Do me a favour b’ys, go’an and check it out. Say I sent you, all the way from California!

Happy 20th Birthday Wallnuts, wish I could be there to celebrate.


  • Free climbing to the public from 1pm–5pm on July 18
  • With their most experienced and knowlegable staff on hand to manage the safety equipment, all you have to do is sign up, show up, and give it a try!
  • Zero age restrictions (my nephew climbed at the age of 3) and climbs of varying difficulties to challenge everyone.

Wallnuts Climbing Centre
57 Old Pennywell Road
St. John’s, Newfoundland
709.579.9255 (is it awesome that I know this off by heart from dialling it so much as a kid?)
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photos provided by Wallnuts Climbing Centre

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How I became a rock climber

When I do the math, it’s almost impossible to believe myself when I remember that I’ve been climbing for nineteen years.

dyno at wallnutsDynoing. Circa 2002-2003.

I first heard about Wallnuts Climbing gym through my Brother, when it was being built in 1994-1995. My brother and Leo (now, the owner) were close friends all throughout High School. The roles were reversed. I thought my Brother would be more into the climbing than myself. But I was the one who kept at it. I didn’t think I’d be hooked on climbing after my first few times. I remember my Father having to hold my hips into the wall as I was terrified of moving upwards.

Fast forward a few more years and I had no fear. Dynoing high up in the air during competitions. The perfect spotters, and all the strength. I feel as if I was at my “peak” during this time. Then again, now that I’m climbing regularly — I’m stronger than I have ever been.

boulder comp wallnutsBouldering comp circa 2004.

Wallnuts back home in St. John’s Newfoundland was my home gym for many years. It’s the place where I spent 5-6 days a week at during high school. All of my friends back home are climbers. They’re my best friends, that I’ve created long term friendships with, that I cherish to this day, even though I don’t see as much of them now that we’ve all spread across the globe.

Climbing in Newfoundland left me with some amazing memories. One of which, I like to say I’m in a climbing film. In 2004, we drove across the province to boulder in a couple of places along the west coast to get filmed in various places. It was super cool.

trev archesHere’s one of my best buddies, Trev and I climbing in The Arches, Newfoundland. I felt like a bad ass, getting filmed.

Nancy archesBut to be honest with you I was definitely the worst climber there. I’m not used to climbing outdoors at all, and was falling off easy problems. Still a memorable experience, though.

From there, I climbed regularly until I moved out of the province in 2006, to Southern Ontario. The climbing gym had just closed and shut down their facility a few months upon my arrival. I didn’t climb at all for the first few years living in Ontario. I brought my gear back home with me the 3-4 times I flew to Newfoundland for visits. I missed it, but I had picked up other hobbies (soccer and CrossFit mainly) to keep me occupied.

GRR August 2011A few years later in August 2011, Grand River Rocks in Kitchener opened a gym. A 5 minute drive from my old work place, I joined immediately. I volunteered at that gym for kids birthday parties and a few boulder competitions. I wasn’t climbing as often as I originally was, due to the fact that I’ve been spending the majority of my time playing soccer, and doing CrossFit. boulder comp at grrI participated in a few competitions there, and made a couple of good friends along the way, but wasn’t a regular any more.

IFSC Bouldering World Cup 2013Last year, I watched the IFSC Bouldering World Cup at the Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario with a few climbing buds. I was stoked to finally see world class boulderers in person, for the first time in my life. It was an incredible — climbers came from all across the globe: Japan, USA, Russia, and China to name a few.

I’ve never taken climbing seriously enough to actually train on my weaknesses. I still like to avoid slopers at all costs, I’m working on pinchy holds and stemming moves. But I never go into the climbing gym to work on a campus board, or do multiple chinups for practice. I hop on the wall, find a climb that I can’t seem to top out on, and work on that for the afternoon. It’s what I like, keeps me in shape and doesn’t feel like exercise to me.

When I tell people I climb, they think I’m super strong, or powerful. I’m the opposite. I’m a thinker, I have great balance and technique, which I believe makes me a smart climber. Nothing bugs me more than climbers scrambling up the wall, ruining the rubber on their shoes and grasping for holds. You don’t need to do that to accomplish the route. Sit back, think about it and be sure about the holds you’re grabbing. There isn’t any need to readjust your hands on the holds, you’re wasting time and energy doing so.

This brings me to 2014.

climbing shoe selfieWhen we moved to California a few months into living here a blog reader now turned friend, e-mailed me asking to head into Planet Granite for a climb.

Planet Granite BoulderingI’m hooked all over again, and climbing on the regular — going 3-4 days a week. Right now it’s my primary source of exercise with a yoga class thrown in before I hit up the bouldering wall.

There you have it, that’s my history on how I became a rock climber: 19 years and counting.

I’m thinking of incorporating more climbing blog posts if you’re interested in reading about it? Let me know.

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