Providing a high-quality, challenging, and ever-changing climbing + boulder experience.
SQ FT OF
SQ FT BOULDERING
MEET THE TEAM
Our team is made up of passionate rock climbers and certified guides, fostering an engaging and encouraging learning environment for climbers of all experiences.
Chris' love for climbing started at the Cumberland climbing gym where he first learnt how to belay. He was immediately hooked on the adventure and possibilities that exploring the vertical word had to offer.
Chris got involved in the local outdoor industry in 1996 while operating Strathcona Outfitters, an outdoor sporting goods store in Campbell River. This is where he formed his lifelong relationships with both, Ahren and Bill. Strathcona Outfitters brought forth the opportunity to develop On The Rocks. It’s been roughly 20 years from what was once an idea, into planning and finally realizing the facility. Looking forward, it’s become more for our community than he had ever imagined was possible.
Chris shares “returning to On The Rocks after so many years, to work alongside Ahren, Bill, Ian and our dedicated staff, our ‘climbing family’, to take On The Rocks into the future and, become more than we imagined, has been my privilege”.
Operations Manager, Instructor
Ahren is well known for his wealth of local climbing knowledge, in fact he’s written the book on it.
Ahren describes his first climbing experience as “a life changing moment, leading me down a path that I had never envisioned for myself” - the very next day he bought his first pair of rock shoes.
On his never-ending quest to become a more competent climber, he spent as much time as he could outdoors learning from his more experienced friends. During this time, he became involved in developing the Crest Creek climbing area, located in Strathcona Provincial Park, developing many new climbs as the area grew over the years.
Ahren is a wealth of local knowledge, and we are so fortunate to have his expertise and passion in our climbing community.
Events + Program Manager
Bill has been working in the outdoor & climbing industry for over 30 years.
After pursuing a teaching degree, centering around geography and physical education, he began teaching the COLT program at Strathcona Park Lodge, which specializes in training climbing and mountaineering guides.
COLT training is seasonal, so to complement 17 summers teaching, Bill’s winters saw him working as an avalanche forecaster and ski patrolling at Mount Washington, teaching avalanche course for Island Alpine Guides, as a field tech for Avalanche Canada and avalanche forecaster/author for the Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin and as a heli & cat ski guide.
Bill brings that passion and experience to On the Rocks and is cultivating the climbing community through the development of new courses and events at the gym. He loves to share his climbing stoke, and see folks experience the joy of climbing. He looks forward to making you feel welcome in our facility.
Facilities Maintenance Supervisor, Instructor + Legend
Ian’s first exposure to climbing was while he was serving in the Royal Marine Commandos/Special Forces over in the UK. Climbing, rope techniques, and abseiling (rappelling), were taught and these abilities were used during various aspects of his career depending on the role he was deployed at that time.
He got his first taste of recreational climbing/mountaineering and spent some memorable moments climbing in Wales, Scotland and the coastal cliffs of Sennan Cove in Cornwall.
Fast forward to the mid 90’s. Ian took part in the C.O.L.T program based at Strathcona Park Lodge. His aim was to learn new skills and hone old ones, and plan to work in the adventure/outdoor recreation industry. On The Rocks Climbing Gym opened its doors in the late fall of 2004 and as he was seeking winter employment, Ian submitted his resume to Chris. It was, fortunately, accepted and he took on a Managerial position and then in 2008, he fulfilled a lifetime dream and became owner.
As a Climbing Gym Instructor (ACMG), M.S.I (Military Ski-Instructor) and Certified Sea-Kayak Guide, Ian has been involved with coaching and assisting individuals in a number of diverse and demanding environments and one of the most rewarding aspects of his present job, is introducing new climbers to the sport. “There are few things more gratifying than helping a beginner reach their objective”.
In the spring of 2022, after 18 years, He came ‘off belay’ and handed over the ropes back to Chris.
”There can be no value attached to the experiences I've had over the years. Working at ‘On The Rocks’, I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about owning a business, I learned a great deal about the local climbing community and met some amazing characters on the way” - Ian
History of On The Rocks
It all started back in 2002...The plans were drafted, and it was time to leave Discovery Harbour Mall. We had outgrown our shell and Strathcona Outfitters was only serving the retail side of our climbing passion.
We had bigger things in mind. First, we needed a bike shop. Doubling in size meant we had space to fill, and the Urban Lemming fit that space perfectly. We became Island Mountain Sports and were way ahead of our time, but that’s another story. With the retail side of things figured out we had just enough space to put up a climbing gym right next door. More plans and a scale model were made. Everything was sorted out, except for one thing, the name. It came time to celebrate the accomplishments of the planning efforts. After ordering a favorite single malt in my usual way, On The Rocks, we had our name.
We opened Thanksgiving weekend 2004 and after nearly two decades, it’s been an absolute riot providing excitement and adventure to our community.
Cofounder and President
On The Rocks Climbing Gym
In addition to our climbing walls and bouldering area, members have access to our fitness area and retail space.
Our space is open, welcoming and accessible, with washroom facilities, and free guest wi-fi.
We sell the gear we use ourselves. Some of it, like Yellow Aliens (you need 2 of these) and Offset Stoppers have saved our lives on many occasions. We usually have a good supply of bolt and rap hangers around. We stock most of the gear and headlamps from Petzl, loads of equipment from Black Diamond, Petzl and Sterling, shoes from La Sportiva, and a few more things you didn’t even know you needed.
We have all the essentials to condition your body for total strength. You'll find a squat rack with enough weights to challenge your athletic abilities. We encourage you to learn and practice your Deadlift. Chin ups and dips will round out your climbing strength. Our finger and campus boards are very user friendly. The Tension Wall will propel your climbing abilities into the higher grades like nothing else.
OTR CORE VALUES
As an organization, collectively, it is our most valuable asset. Individually, it is a constant choice to cultivate safety, honesty, and respect for clients and colleagues.
A healthy body supports a healthy mind, and healthy minds cultivate a healthy community. Creating an engaging and safe space for our members to focus on their well-being is what drives us to move the line every day.
We exist to serve this community and to celebrate our shared love for climbing and the outdoors. Community enables us to share personal relatedness and support the perpetual growth of each other, ourselves, and our environment.
AUTHENTIC CLIMBING EXPERIENCE
We strive to provide a high-quality, challenging, and ever-changing climbing and boulder experience. Our team is made up of passionate rock climbers and certified guides, fostering an engaging and encouraging learning environment for climbers of all experiences.
We are constantly aiming to grow both as individuals and as a business. We believe that the journey to perfection is a lifelong pursuit and that this kind of lifelong learning is what will continue to push us forward as a team and as a company.