ST. GEORGE — Rock climbers in St. George may soon have a place to go when it gets too hot to climb outside.
A group of four climbers is planning on building an indoor climbing gym in St. George, complete with 50-foot walls and 60-80 bouldering problems. Contact Climbing Gym will cover an area of 12,000 square feet and have enough variety so beginners can get into the sport and experts can train and get stronger, co-founder Chris Horton told St. George News.
“We hope to be the epicenter for the climbing community in St. George,” Horton said.
Horton is an alumnus of Southern Utah University who fell in love with rock climbing while exploring the different outdoor climbing crags across Southern Utah. Along with his wife and two other rock climbers in St. George, Horton said he hopes to open the climbing gym by the fall of 2019.
Besides the main attraction of the climbing and bouldering walls, the gym will also have weights, cardio machines and yoga classes.
Right now, those wanting to climb indoors in St. George will have to find one of the walls at fitness centers, city recreation centers or at Dixie State University, but there currently isn’t a place in St. George that’s dedicated to climbing indoors.
“St. George, in my research, is one of the biggest metropolitan areas that I could find that didn’t have any type of climbing facility,” Horton said.
While there are hundreds of outdoor climbing routes within a short driving distance of St. George, Contact Climbing Gym will provide a convenient place to climb when the temperatures outside start pushing 100 degrees or when it rains, Horton said.
Horton said his family has poured their life savings into this project, but they’ve also used a couple of loans to help fund the gym’s construction. They’ve also been able to connect with people in St. George who want to donate or invest in the project.
“The response has been kind of overwhelming with how excited everybody is to have a facility like this in St. George,” Horton said.
Mark Hardie, a rock climber who is moving to Hurricane later this year, said an indoor climbing facility will be a great place to introduce newcomers to the outdoor climbing community.
“I personally think in spite of all the real rock outdoors, that an indoor, air-conditioned facility would be a great reprieve from the high temps,” Hardie wrote in an email.
In addition to providing a place for local climbing associations to meet, Contact Climbing Gym will also facilitate events to help clean outdoor trails and maintain outdoor climbing spots around St. George, Horton said.
“We really want to bring something cool for the climbing community – something that makes climbing approachable and enjoyable for those who already climb. We’re not in it for the money. This is just something we all love and have a ton of passion for.”
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