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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Throwback Thursday: Climbing edition

If it wasn’t for my brother and Leo, his high school buddy, I would have never become a climber. 19 years ago, Leo and his family opened the climbing gym back home in Newfoundland Canada. From the beginning, when they recruited their friends to help build Wallnuts, I watched. I don’t recall much of it, but I do remember the warehouse transforming into the unknown. I didn’t have any interest in it back then, but I went to scope it out a few times.

My brother didn’t bother to climb much, but I went in for their daily kids camp and climbed til my hearts content. While I was visiting Newfoundland for five weeks this summer, I looked back on a few old photo albums I had as a kid and came across this oldie.

Wallnuts1995Shoes, chalk bag, and a harness — all rentals. This was me at the kids camp in 1995, the first year the climbing gym was opened. Umbro shorts and all, I am about to top out on my favourite wall in the gym: the roof. Wallnuts has since renovated their walls, including eliminating my favourite roof and looking at expanding to another location, all signs of growth.

My first pair of climbing shoes were the 5.10 MoccAsym’s. But the one’s to write home about were my second pair of climbing shoes, the La Sportiva (now men’s) Miura lace-up’s. An aggressive shoe with the perfect heel cup, amazing for heel hooking, and having fun at comp’s ;)RockFall05



frontpageThroughout the years I had a few one-on-one coaching sessions with the guys, where I began to climb harder routes, how to climb quietly, when to chalk up on a route, and make the routes more efficient on my body to not tire myself out too much. Years later, I got the guts to get my lead climbing course done. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to lock out the figure 8 belay devices, and ATC’s. I got used to it, I did the course and from there I started climbing lead confidently.

After 19 years of climbing, can you believe I am still afraid of heights? I suppose, that’s a good thing. I don’t want to be too daring or bold—it’s not in my personality. I like to play it safe. When I boulder at my new climbing gym here in California, I often down climb the boulder problems because falling is simply too spooky for me. The bonus side of that is that I’m perfecting my technique each down climb, gaining more endurance with the static moves I do.

I have a many awesome memories of climbing at Wallnuts, and I’m so happy for the experiences I had while I lived in Newfoundland.

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Flatrock Fest, Newfoundland

HeaderDuring my visit home in Newfoundland, I’m bound to meet up with my friends who, conveniently enough, are all rock climbers like myself.

Lori, my climbing buddy (we were each other’s first climbing partners—19 years and going!) mentioned to me that she was heading down to Flatrock, a small town, minutes outside of St. John’s where she was going to be volunteering for the day and invited me. You know I had to go to that.

Flatrock Fest successfully finished up its third consecutive year of inviting regular climbers, folks who’ve never stepped foot on a climbing wall or rockface, and the others who have been itching to try outdoor climbing. For fifteen bucks you show up, get the gear supplied to you, sit in on sessions, and climb til your hearts content for a full day of climbing and rappelling, down at Flatrock.

Wallnuts Climbing Centre, amongst many more sponsors helped out in executing the event held by the Alpine Club of Canada. There were goodie bags handed out to the first 50 climbers who signed up. Inside the bags were a variety of prAna tee’s, chalk bags, Rock & Ice magazine, and a rock climbing DVD. I was not one of the lucky contenders to sign up in advance, plus I was volunteering so I didn’t think it was fair for me to grab one from a lucky attendee. I sure wanted one though! I did end up getting a sweet door prize (Evolve boulder brush) and a Black Diamond cam keychain.


It has rained continuously throughout my trip back home in Newfoundland, but we lucked out weather wise and had a fantastic day down on the rock with over 150 people in attendance. The guys from Wallnuts worked hard putting the event together, with more than 20 top ropes for people to get on and climb.

Leo (the owner of Wallnuts, who is like an older brother to me. My brother and him go “way back”) ended up staying overnight in a tent down at Flatrock the night before the fest, working hard putting everything together for a successful day. I was told he knew the tide wouldn’t be coming in throughout night, so he was safe and sound. Still wouldn’t be me down there, scary stuff!Tent-in-Flatrock

Lori set up the rappelling station — which I had a go at multiple times. It scared the crap out of me, since I don’t regularly climb outdoors, if anything I boulder.  But after a few tries I easily got over the fear of leaning bum back over a cliff and use an ATC to rappel down. That’s me getting ready to go! About-to-rappel

There was a special guest this year, Black Diamond sponsored climber J.P Ouellet was there giving a few talks throughout the day on trad climbing. I sat in on one of his two sessions (can you spot me?), and asked a handful of questions. Flatrock2014-BlackDiamond_GSL-6055(photo from ACCNL)

I felt a bit silly at first when he asked everyone in the group how long they’ve been climbing. Some answered 5 days, a few months and up to a few years. He pointed at me and I squirmed, answering “ninteen years” — and here I am sitting in on a beginners session on how to use cams, nuts, and bolts. J.P was pretty great, funny and informative with his talk at Flatrock, so I’m glad I sat down to enjoy it.

I’ll leave you with a few more photos that I took throughout the day at Flatrock Fest:

Leo-and-JoostLeo’s a Dad!

Flatrock-FestI’m the queen of inappropriate footwear, so I had to borrow Lori’s 5.10 accents for the day trip.
















I’m glad I was home at the perfect time for the Flatrock Fest, and hopefully I’ll be back next summer for the fourth year.

Sponsors of Flatrock Fest 2014: Wallnuts Climbing Centre, The Outfitters, Black Diamond, Metolius, Rock – Ice, Flashed.

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