In case you haven’t heard the exciting news, there’s a new world-class climbing gym set to open in Wenatchee next to Walla Walla Park across from the Town Toyota Center in the Fall of 2016. It’s called Riverfront Rock Gym.
You may have heard rumors in the past about something of this nature, or talked about how great this area would be for such a thing, but now these rumors are becoming a reality. And, it won’t be just any old climbing gym… Riverfront Rock Gym will be a climbing-centric fitness facility with over 10,000 square feet of lead, top rope, boulder, and kid-climbing features. In addition, it will offer a 1,500 square foot space for traditional fitness, climbing specific training, and locker rooms, as well as 500 square feet of climbing retail and a 1,000 square feet of social space with wi-fi, an espresso bar, and beer on tap. The bouldering area will be competition caliber and there will be 2 levels of bouldering. The climbing walls will be 40 feet high and have routes for all skill levels.
But, it’s not just about quenching our own thirsts to climb. Riverfront Rock Gym will have a special emphasis on kids’ climbing. There will be a specific kids area with lots of unique climbing and obstacle challenges, plus two rooms for hosting birthday parties. The goal is to get as many young kids involved in climbing as possible, and eventually form a youth team to compete against other youth teams across the country.
Below is the first look at a scaled rendering of the finished gym that they released on their Facebook page not long ago. Blending the modern look of hard angles, steel, and lots of glass with the rustic gabled barn with its big timbers, exposed brick and wood floors will create a very unique, aesthetic finished product.
Matthew McKellar, Leavenworth-local and climbing category manager and ski tech at Leavenworth Mountain Sports, is a partner in the project along with several friends: Flint Hartwig, Thanh Van Tran, Mark Shipman, and Stewart Hoover, all Wenatchee Valley locals. Here’s a little background on how the plan came together in Matt’s own words.
“This community has needed a climbing gym for years. This need has only grown as more people are choosing to move to the Wenatchee Valley to be close to the outdoor recreation that is an important part of their lives. We are a talented group of friends with a shared vision for this gym. Everybody is an integral part, but I cannot overstate the importance of Flint Hartwig’s role. He has spearheaded this project with enthusiasm and his skill set, resources, network, and determination are the real driving force behind this gym. Together, we will build something that will add to the Wenatchee area and serve this community for years to come.”
The plan is to begin site work next month, in January 2016, by removing some trees, old fencing, and an old farm house that is currently on the property. Then, they’ll start working on the parking lot and renovating and restoring the old barn. Next, the building manufacturers will come in the Spring and start assembling the two additions. In July, the wall builder will begin building the climbing features and they hope to have their doors open by November 2016. Just think, you could be climbing year-round starting this Spring!
Right now, the Riverfront Rock Gym is running an INDIEGOGO campaign to help raise funds for some of the initial costs. But, Matt says the gym opening does not hinge on that campaign. “The gym will be built regardless of whether or not our funding goals are met. When we decided to build this gym, we all committed to the idea of building a world-class facility. We want our gym to rival any gym in any market in terms of quality. We bought the perfect piece of dirt, designed an aesthetic, purpose-built structure, and are working with the top wall designer/builder in the country. We are committed to this vision and are asking the people of central WA to show that they are committed as well. We want to see that building this gym is important to the people here and their contributions now will determine certain features of the gym that they will be climbing in next fall. Also, keep in mind that our campaign has “perks.” Although one can choose to donate any sum of money, and every donation is greatly appreciated, the campaign offers different gym membership levels based on contribution amounts. It is effectively pre-buying a membership. I liken it to a CSA, a familiar concept to many. You pay the farmer in advance today for produce you will receive next season and today’s payment allows the farmer to do his or her job in the meantime.”
To show your support and pre-purchase a membership for the Riverfront Rock Gym, visit INDIEGOGO.com and check out the contribution levels (what a perfect last minute Christmas gift!). For only $25, you can get a Day Pass to the gym, or pre-purchase a 1-Year Membership for $500. They are asking the community, through this campaign, to help them raise money for the best and most modern climbing holds to use inside the gym. If they raise the money for these holds, then they can put more of their resources into the walls and provide even more climbing area. Whether you give $5, $50, or $500, all donations are welcomed and appreciated. Even if you’re unable to give, you can still help by spreading the word.
Like the Riverfront Rock Gym on Facebook and help spread the word about the INDIEGOGO campaign. Together, we can give one of the best rock climbing facilities in the country a welcome home. Riverfront Rock Gym will be located at 1319 Walla Walla Ave across the street from the Town Toyota Center. See the map below and prepare to climb your heart out!