North Island Secondary School’s (NISS)
climbing wall will be having its grand opening
soon, says Principal Jay Dixon.
“The finishing touches and safety checks are
being completed on the wall,” confirmed Dixon.
“We will be announcing the grand opening soon,
which will align with the Port McNeill Rotary
Club’s second annual Spring Fling event (April
The idea for the climbing wall came from an
offhand conversation between Dixon and Greg
Muirhead (NISS’ Outdoor Pursuits, Math, Science,
Tourism and Field Studies teacher).
Muirhead walked into Dixon’s office at the
start of their planning for NISS’ outdoor education
programming, and he asked if they would
be able to build a climbing wall.
Dixon’s first question he asked was “how
Muirhead told him approximately how much
the climbing wall would cost to build, and then
Dixon thought it over before deciding ‘why not?’
NISS students and other community members
soon heard about the climbing wall conversation
and started bringing in cheques. One student even
opened a GoFundMe account online and soon
the idea rippled from a small grassroots community
movement all the way to where the Port
McNeill Rotary joined in to show their support.
The climbing wall basically grew from a conversation
into something that will in fact be
The wall currently has a bouldering section
for people that don’t want to climb above ten
feet, which is excellent for kids, and there are
six other routes on the wall for different ability
levels. It goes right up to the rafters of the
gymnasium, which is approximately 40 ft. high.
They also have four auto-belay systems, which
are safety devices in case anyone lets go of the
wall, that will slowly lower people safely down
to the ground.
NISS has two certified instructors, Muirhead
and Mark Taylor, who will be training other supervisors
for the wall. Dixon added that climbing
memberships can be pre-purchased at NISS