Uniting Canada's Largest Climbing Community

Climb Smart Shop – Providing hard-to-find gear for the discerning climber.

With so much great new climbing gear hitting the market, it’s nice to see a store like the Climb Smart Shop that’s committed to bringing these products to local climbers. We caught up with Climb Smart Shop owner, Andrew McBurney (who also owns the Boulder Climbing Centre gyms), and discussed the benefits of Japanese chalk, German brushes and Spanish hangboards.
Climb Smart Shop
Congratulations on the new store. What was the motivation behind opening up a retail climbing shop?
Climb Smart Shop: I originally started thinking about the online store/gear shop when I realized that a lot of the great gear available in Europe was difficult to get in Canada. And even when we could get it, it was often very expensive. Like most climbers, I’m a bit obsessed with gear and equipment that works really well. And I also want everyone to know how cool I am because I use the cool stuff!
Can you give an example of a few products that you are carrying that may have been difficult to find in Canada and the US?
Climb Smart Shop: I love the Wataaah! Big Brushy. I usually end up brushing holds that I have no intention of using just because it works so well.

The Transgression and Progression hang boards by Eva Lopez are probably what started this whole store concept. They were very difficult to get before I started bringing them into Canada. They are the first hangboards I've used where I've been able to easily and accurately measure and control the progress of my hand strength. Along with her scientific studies and hand strength training program, Eva has designed what I think is the most efficient system for increasing finger strength. It’s not fun, and it’s not easy, but it works. I guess it’s the Buckley’s Cough Syrup of hand strength.

I also love the Beastmaker 1000 and 2000. These are super-comfortable wooden hangboards. The 2000 has the hardest slopers of any hangboard I have seen. It’s a bit frustrating that one of my athletes can do pull-ups on these slopers ad nauseam, but then again, she’s a beast, so I shouldn’t feel too bad. The 1000 has the best jugs for levers and pull-ups as well as a good variety of holds for dead hangs.

I’m a big fan on the Tokyo Powder Industries Effect chalk. Yes, it’s just chalk, but it smells really good, and I find the fragrance is very calming when I’m climbing.
The Transgression Hangboard

The Transgression Hangboard

You’re also carrying some more mainstream product lines. Care to share?
Climb Smart Shop: Well, we carry a lot of these items for the climbing gym shop, so we figured we might as well offer them online as well. It’s a little weird to order shoes online since you can’t try them on, but if we have the only pair of La Sportiva Solution Pink size 39 in North America, I’m sure someone will appreciate being able to order them! Sometimes just having something in stock is a miracle!
Will this be a brick-and-mortar shop or just online?
Climb Smart Shop: These items will always be available at Boulderz Climbing Centre in Etobicoke. Who knows, maybe Climb Smart Shop will need its own space at some point.
Beastmaker 1000

The Beastmaker 1000

What do you see as some of the some of the challenges with operating an online store?
Climb Smart Shop: Logistics and marketing. It also takes a long time for many of these products to become popular, so we need to have realistic expectations.
And some of the wins?
Climb Smart Shop: One of the big wins is that our current customers can order our products from the comfort of their phones and computers. And now that there is a public website, potential customers can discover some of the neat products we’re providing.
Beastmaker 2000

The Beastmaker 1000

This question might be a bit early seeing as how you just opened, but are you planning on carrying any other product lines?
Climb Smart Shop: Absolutely! We will continue to expand the product lines into other areas, but we’ll always stay mainly focused on unique, high-quality climbing gear.
Right now the shop seems to have a bouldering/sport climbing/indoor climbing focus. Do you plan on also carrying trad or even ice climbing gear?
Climb Smart Shop: Great question! It’s definitely and area of interest for us, but we’ll have to feel out the market and see if there are some unique items that we would sell.
The Wataaah! Big Brushy and Tokyo Powder Industries Effect chalk.

The Wataaah! Big Brushy and Tokyo Powder Industries Effect chalk.

How about more technical clothing?
Climb Smart Shop: If we find a particular garment (I already have a few in mind for the near-ish future) that fills a need, then absolutely.
And finally, are you especially psyched about any particular products that you're carrying in the store?
Climb Smart Shop: The Zlagboard. I fell in love with this one in Italy. There was a Zlagboard competition and there were literally 1,000 people in the main square screaming and cheering for the competitors. It’s turned into a bit of an international scene now. What makes the Zlagboard unique is that you attach your phone to the board, run the app, and it tells you exactly when and where to hang or do pull-ups, as well as when to rest - and it even tracks your progress from workout to workout. It’s a great training tool!
The Zlagboard

The Zlagboard

You can check out all the cool Climb Smart Shop climbing gear at https://climbsmartshop.com
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Gus Alexandropoulos is a freelance writer who has been involved in the outdoor industry for over 35 years. During his career he has been the editor at Canada’s national climbing magazine, as well as the gear editor for a national cycling magazine, triathlon magazine and running magazine. His work has been published in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and he has been a guest on television and radio broadcasts. His passion for climbing began in Ontario in the mid-80s and he continues to travel extensively in search of crisp conditions and steep rock.