The Pinnacle on the Playground

RockCraft Designs brings the fun of rock climbing to a younger crowd

Each year, thousands of thrill seekers summit some of the world s most challenging climbs. From sport climbing to traditional and even free climbing or bouldering, men and women scale natural rock faces and indoor spires all over the world. Still, considering the expense of ropes, harnesses, quickdraws, carabiners, belay devices, and more, the bill for such a thrill adds up quickly. Yet the benefits of climbing include increased strength and flexibility, improved coordination, and even a sharper mind as one plans routes and solves problems on the wall (not mention the fact that it's a lot of fun). There is a company which has extended the benefits of climbing to kids, without sacrificing safety and avoiding the expense of special climbing equipment.

RockCraft Designs is based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ed Fischer and Ken Crozier started the company. Ed Fischer was a long-time climber, climbing gym owner, and climbing instructor. Ken Crozier brought his long experience in the playground industry. RockCraft Designs has been growing over the years, expanding its facilities to include a workshop in Burnaby, British Columbia, nestled near the Canadian Cascades near the Pacific coast, the very mountains that inspire much of RockCraft's work.

It started long before it started. Ed was the owner of a climbing gym called The Edge, where, he says, thousands of young people were introduced to climbing through birthday parties and beginner courses. Some of these kids went on to become world-class athletes. Fischer noticed that these activities were not only improving coordination and mental focus but confidence as well. Bouldering, a form of practice climbing where the climber stays near the ground, removing the need for ropes and other equipment, was beginning to become a sport of its own.

Soon, a team was established with a vision to create artificial climbing boulders for public spaces that didn't require equipment, training, or admission fees. Ed brought on board his experience in the climbing industry, Ken provided insights into the world of playground equipment, and several of RCD's sculptors are fine arts students with climbing experience.

RockCraft Designs products are designed to provide safe climbing challenges for all ages and skill levels. Each of RockCraft's boulders offers countless holds on an application that looks like it was hewn from mother earth herself. The variety of holds allows a climber to map out which holds to use, and which not to. This lets each climber produce a route that is specific to that climb, making it possible to have literally hundreds of routes on each rock, suited to any skill level.

All of RockCraft's boulders are designed to have an unobstructed fall to a safe landing surface. Each rock has at least one easy side, and at least one overhang. The diversity of the boulders invites children and experienced climbers alike, allowing kids to learn techniques from skilled climbers in a safe environment.

It seems that RCD's competition either makes boulders too advanced for children or so easy that young climbers can outgrow the rock's challenges in just a few climbs. Some companies still use bolt-on holds that look artificial and often are prone to loosen or rust, making for less secure foot and hand holds, not to mention a less aesthetic structure.

When it comes to playgrounds, many will agree that nature has the best available, including mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, and so on. RockCraft Designs has brought a piece of Mother Nature's playground to where kids can access them any day.

RockCraft Designs has a variety of climbing walls, boulders, and other skill-building sculptures for playgrounds, swimming pools, and gyms.