VHS students climb their way to the top at Boulderdash


Indoor rock climbing arena “Boulderdash” becomes a new fad in Ventura and VHS students are latching on.

Ventura’s newest rock climbing arena–Boulderdash–has faced a blowup of popularity and has inspired a rise in rock-climbing among Venturans in the past few months. A place for all ages, including numerous students at VHS, Boulderdash offers a place for climbing practice for both amateurs and advanced climbers. On their website, the facility states, “We offer climbing workouts for the high level experienced climber or someone who has just learned to put on a harness.”

The new Ventura location is an addition to another Boulderdash gym present in Thousand Oaks and a membership allows climbers to visit both gyms. Visitors have the choice of paying for individual visits or a monthly membership, as well as classes for certain age groups such as 5-12 or private instruction.

Senior Seth Quinn, a student who has climbed since he was very little, commented that his climbing has been compromised in past years “because the gyms in this town keep closing, so there’s nowhere to go.” In this way, Boulderdash has made rock climbing more widespread and accessible, by bringing a gym straight to Ventura.

Another avid climber at VHS is senior Ben Maidman who revealed to The Cougar Press that he has been climbing for around nine years, starting at age 7. Of his passion for climbing, Maidman commented, “I was on the rock climbing team all the way since I first started [at 7] up to freshman year.” However, as a track athlete, Maidman made the choice to stop rock climbing to try out his skills at pole vault.

Maidman added, “Pole vault and rock climbing are really good cross-training, so if you’re good at rock climbing, you’re going to be good at pole vault.” Maidman expressed that he has climbed at a variety of indoor gyms as well as outdoor spots, in surrounding areas such as Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks as well as farther locations like Colorado, however has visited Boulderdash more times than he could count since its opening.

Of the benefits of climbing, Quinn commented that climbing is a great way to build a lot of strength, and skills from it transfer well to some other sports, like pole vaulting. As for his climbing preferences, Quinn stated, “I boulder pretty much exclusively because I don’t have a harness and I honestly don’t enjoy top-roping that much.”

Another VHS student who has visited the gym a few times is senior Claire Ortiz. Ortiz climbed a few times before the gym opened, but commented that the gym definitely made her more eager to get better at climbing and go more often. She commented that she usually goes with a group, adding, “I think it makes it more fun and it’s good to get help from more experienced climbers too, such as my friend Ben Maidman.”

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Other climbers also mentioned Maidman as a highly skilled climber, or, as according to Quinn, a “national level climber.”

For those considering trying out the sport or reluctant to start out with no experience, Ortiz commented, “I even went with a few friends who’ve never climbed before and it’s fun to just mess around to get the experience and the more you go, the better you get, and it’s just overall a good environment.”