This one get filed into the Calgary birthday party / team event ideas bin. Located in a refurbished airplane hanger by the YYC airport (and next to the Flying Squirrel) we discovered the Climbing Centre via a team bonding event. This isn’t the only CCC; there are multiple locations around town.

Other places for kids to climb in Calgary include Mount Royal College, the Crux, and the University of Calgary. However, the CCC facility has the most robust kid’s section that I’ve ever seen… and the only thing holding kids back is their own ability (there’s no limits to what they are allowed to do).

For our event, we started in one of the party rooms. Each party room holds about 20-people. There is plastic picnic bench seating and some space to walk around. These rooms are located on the second level and from here you can see/watch everyone else climbing.

When your time start, kids are given an orientation on how each of the walls work (e.g. a staff member needs to clip you into each wall so when ready you stand by the wall you want to try with your hand up). Some walls have moving parts, others are timed (so you can race), some you need to rappel to get off; the important thing to note is that the pulley system they hook into is smart and will let you down at a speed determined for your body weight.

The best feature (according to the girls) is a full body pulley/plunge (don’t know the actual name). For this you need to wear a special suit (to prevent road rash). When ready, you grab onto a bar and are pulled along a giant curved “L” slide until you are vertical. When you can no longer hold on, you let go/slip off and slide back down to where you started.

The skinny on the Climbing Centre:

  • You don’t need special gear for parties though kids should wear something comfortable.
  • No special training is needed to use the facility. I personally think that kids instinctively know how to climb and they lose this as they get older.
  • They don’t *explicitly* call out age limits though kids under-14 need to be accompanied by an adult and most of the special programs (e.g. day camps, Nanos club) start at age 6.
  • Everyone who touches the mats needs to sign a waiver.
  • Kids aren’t limited to the play zone area; families can climb together on the regular bouldering and vertical walls.