Every year, BoulderHouse hosts the Summer Progression Sessions (SPS), a six-week competition that pushes you to take your climbing skills to the next level. For those unfamiliar with the format of SPS, this post will help you understand the basics so you can decide if it’s right for you (hint, it probably is) and how to make the most of your SPS experience.

The comp runs from June 11 until July 23. Each week, 12 new boulder problems will be set on Tuesday during the day and marked with white tape. There are no colour grades, and while the routes are numbered for you to keep track of what you climb, the order is random. This takes the focus away from the grade and motivates you to try problems you normally might not try. Climbs will be given a colour the following week, so you can see the grade then.

Using the honour system, you will record your climbs on a scorecard we’ll provide. Each route will have a “zone hold” marked part way up; climb to the zone marker and you get half a point. Make it all the way to the top and you get one full point. All routes, regardless of difficulty, are worth a maximum of one point (i.e., you can only get points for reaching the zone or the top, not both). You must hang onto the zone hold or final hold for three seconds without falling for it to count. Try as many times as you like.

If you want to keep your score private, you can use an alias; just let staff know so they can keep track. Your final score is based on your four best weeks, so if you can’t make it to the gym as much as you like or need to start the comp a couple of weeks late, no worries. There are three categories: beginner (yellow to green level), experienced (blue and purple), and open (red to pink). Don’t worry about selecting a category; we will determine this based on the number of problems you complete.

We wrap up the six-week progression series with a Beach Party at BoulderHouse (Hawaiian shirts welcome and encouraged). There will be a scramble format comp, games (Ping-Pong, anyone?), and other feats of strength. For SPS competitors, the scramble also gives you a chance to improve your score, as we’ll take the average of your four best weeks and the wrap-up scramble if you choose to submit your scramble scorecard (you can withhold it if it will bring down your score).

If you just want to take part in the wrap-up scramble comp, you can do that separately. Registration and information for the scramble will be out at the end of June. If you don’t want to participate, you’re welcome to come watch, have a beer, take part in the other games, or just hangout — free of charge.

And yes, there will be prizes, thanks to our amazing sponsors! First, second, and third place for men and for women will be chosen from each of the three categories.

Registration is now open for Summer Progression Sessions and costs $25. To register, talk to the staff at the front desk or register online here (look for the SPS button on the bottom left of the list of options). Make sure you register before May 27 if you want to get a free, limited edition SPS T-shirt. The last date to register is July 1, but we recommend registering early and participating in the full six weeks. You must have a valid membership, punch card, or pay the drop-in fee to climb, as registration only covers your entry into the SPS comp. If you have any questions, you can comment below, talk to the staff that the front desk, or email social@boulderhouse.ca.

You can take advantage of a summer membership special to go along with the comp, also starting on June 11. Talk to the staff at the front desk for details or watch our promotions page for updates.