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Climbing to new heights in Golden

Confluence Climbing and Fitness is set to open in the coming months
Confluence Climbing and Fitness co-owner Chris Brazeau works on constructing the infrastructure for the new business he and partner Matthew Zeleski plan to open in Golden. (Contributed)

The mountains around Golden provide wonderful climbing opportunities… well, maybe not so much in the winter.

But avid climbers will be able to maintain their skills without having to travel this year.

With a mission to create an inspiring and supportive space where members of the community can gather, grow, and get strong, Confluence Climbing and Fitness owners are hoping to be open by the end of January or beginning of February.

The new business owned by Matthew Zaleski and Chris Brazeau will offer bouldering, a form of free climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses.

Unlike free solo climbing, which is also performed without ropes, bouldering requires climbers to perform a sequence of moves horizontally from one end to another.

“It’s more about powerful movement than endurance,” said Zaleski, a former software engineering professor at the University of Toronto.

“We don’t use ropes but we have heavy mats at the bottom.”

Zaleski, who had been coming west to climb for many years, moved to Golden in 2019 and calls Brazeau a “crusher climber.”

Over the past 28 years, Brazeau has scaled mountains throughout North and South America and Europe.

Not only does he love being outside and meeting amazing people and characters, Brazeau thrives on the challenge.“There’s the obvious physical challenges but also mental challenges to overcome as well,” he said, noting he was afraid of heights and climbing was a concrete way of meeting those fears.

“It’s a real confidence-inspiring sport that enabled me to tackle that fear and eventually learn to trust myself.”

Like Zaleski, Brazeau is hoping Confluence Climbing and Fitness will become a gathering place for community and events.

“We’re excited to offer more training opportunities and increased accessibility,” he said. “Come on your own or come with friends, you just need shoes and your set to go.”

Zaleski is excited that even though the centre is under construction, many people have been dropping in to learn about the business.

“We believe in the power of climbing. We have experienced the potential it has to bring people together regardless of background, ethnicity, religion, age or gender,” he said.

“We will also have a little training area with free weights, fitness racks for squats, bench press, a rowing machine, stationery bike and a hang board that targets your fingers.”

The business partners suffered a loss when the majority of material for the fitness centre fabricated by Onsite Climbing was stolen during shipment from Montreal.

But Brazeau and Zaleski continue to move ahead and look forward to serving climbers of all abilities this winter.

Follow them on Instagram @confluenceclimbinggym

For information on membership prices, go online to

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