Reach for the Top

September 24, 2014

Bouldering athlete Tiffany Melius’s most daunting challenges haven’t come from the cliffs of Rodellar, Spain, or the Rocklands of South Africa—they’ve been internal hurdles. Of course, physical strength is key — the sport hinges on short climbs (unlike the broader category of rock-climbing, it allows only four to 12 tight moves) — but it requires even tougher mental tenacity. By 25, “I had a lot of self-doubt about my ability,” says the Brisbane native, despite an eighth-place finish at the 2004 Asian Extreme Games in Kuala Lumpur. A move to Vancouver got her back on track, and she finished first at the B.C. Bouldering Championships in February. “Climbing is holistic — it challenges both your body and mind, and you can reach a meditative, trancelike state.”

The Burn 300 calories burned by someone weighing 155 pounds

WHERE TO GO

Bring Grandma  Pick up technique in a controlled indoor environment. The Hive Bouldering Gym has a two-hour intro course ($55), while The Edge has a five-week beginner class ($185). Hiveclimbing.com; Edgeclimbing.com

Bring Friends  When you’re ready to tackle greater heights, head to Cliffhanger for a two-day Rock Master course held in Squamish ($250). Cliffhangerclimbing.com

Bring a Defibrillator  “Bouldering is a great way to get comfortable climbing; some of the best is underneath the Chief’s Grand Wall at Squamish,” says Melius—that’s where you’ll find her this summer

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