Missed the bouldering boom? You must have been living under a rock.
Builder Joachim Ellenrieder turned his craft to climbing walls when BlocHaus came to Canberra in 2017. In the three years since, Mr Ellenrieder has been part of seven bouldering builds in Australia, with three gyms going up at the same time during his last project in Sydney.
The contractor was now working for Duncan Brown and Kate Sawford to build a second gym in Canberra.
Set to open in March, the brainchild of the Australian climbing team coach and the world paraclimbing champion will turn the industrial east into Canberra's unofficial home of indoor bouldering.
Requiring nothing but specially-designed shoes and a chalk bag, bouldering is as much about flexibility and balance as it is about strength and stamina. Climbers attempt to complete routes on low walls, falling to crash mats below rather than relying on ropes and a belay buddy.
At the OG gym on Dairy Road, a steady flow of suits, students and the sport's best show up before, during and after their work day.
And numbers through the door each day are still growing.
When COVID-19 forced a booking system, it was not uncommon for slots to book out days in advance during peak times.
Its popularity proven in the capital, the BlocHaus brand has since spread to Melbourne in 2019 and Sydney in 2020. The Port Melbourne, Marrickville and Fyshwick gyms have become community hubs for a growing number of climbers, with training events, competitions and even parties hosted at the venues.
While the indoor bouldering gym was once the domain of the serious climber, their design has changed to attract a broader crowd. The brightly lit spaces now often include cafes, weights areas and yoga rooms.
Previously confined to the capital cities, there were now bouldering gyms in several regional cities including Geelong, Wollongong, the Gold Coast, Katoomba and Blackheath.
Before the world fell apart, climbing was set to become an Olympic sport for the first time in 2020.
When the pandemic was considered under control enough to allow international competitions of its kind, Tokyo 2021 would include three climbing disciplines. Speed will pit two climbers against each other, bouldering will have athletes scale routes of increasing difficulty and lead will challenge them to climb as high as possible within a specified time. The three-pronged approach has been met with murmurs of disapproval from some in the climbing community as most athletes tended to specialise in one aspect of the sport.
Oceania Mackenzie and Tom O'Halloran will represent Australia in 2021, having won the women's and men's qualifying events in Sydney in December.
Mr O'Halloran, 28, lives in Blackheath with his partner Amanda and six-year-old daughter Audrey. All three were keen climbers.
Their tiny Blue Mountains town of around 5000 people was home to the highest density of the nation's climbers.
With the Grampians National Park and Arapiles recently slapped with substantial access bans from Parks Victoria due to climbing taking place in areas found to be of cultural significance to Traditional Owners, the NSW climbing mecca is likely to become even busier.
Mr O'Halloran said watching the sport grow alongside an increased understanding of what climbing was had been incredible to watch.
"When I started it was a fringe sport that no one really knew about and when you said you did a bit of rock climbing no one really knew what you meant," he said.
"Now if people haven't already been to one of the new bouldering gyms they know what it's about and they know you're not some adrenaline-junky crazy person."
Mr O'Halloran said the increase in bouldering gyms had definitely contributed to growing numbers of people taking an interest.
"It's super fun and social, you can get a group of your friends together and just go in and play around, you get to feel a bit like a kid again," he said.
"Also you can do it by yourself. You see sometimes in those gyms people popping in in their suit, they quickly change clothes for a quick session and walk back out in their suit and head off to work.
"Even though this is a bit of a pinnacle in my own climbing life, it's sort of just the beginning for Australian climbing.
"That's a pretty special thing to be a part of and to potentially help pave the way for an Australian Olympic climbing gold medallist some time in the future."
BlocHaus co-owner Marty Bradstreet said he's been fortunate enough to see firsthand the growth of the bouldering community here in Canberra.
"We've seen indoor bouldering grow to become a sport within itself," Mr Bradstreet said.
Excusing the pun, Mr Bradstreet said its growing popularity could be chalked up to it being a sport that is just as fun and challenging alone as it is with friends.
Unlike BlocHaus, Mountain Strong will be a place for established climbers to hone their skills and outdoor enthusiasts to train among other fit folk.
Mr Brown said the design will be based on Tokyo bouldering gyms which fit more into a small space, a necessity in Japan's densely populated capital.
"Creating a place where outdoor people in general can train and find a sense of community is one of the most important parts of what we're trying to do," he said.
"We've got space for film nights and talks and we're going to try to bring a lot more of that to Canberra."