Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    1,396

    Riverfront Rock Gym in Wenatchee

    First of all, someone is posting in the Climbing forum!

    Secondly, there is an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for a rock gym in Wenatchee. If it opens, it would be a great asset to our valley. Their initial push is $100,000 just to buy holds so they can use other funds for renovation and building, etc.

    Here is the link and details:

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/riverfront-rock-gym#/


    Riverfront Rock Gym...coming soon fall 2016


    We need a climbing gym to serve the Wenatchee Valley area. We want it to be an awesome gym, for serious climbers as well as for families to have fun. This project is the brain child of Matt McKellar, a local climber and skier in the Wenatchee Valley. He has wanted to build a climbing gym for some time, but the right opportunity has not presented itself until now. Matt has recruited a team who are all excited about this project, but we still need your help.


    The Riverfront Rock Gym is an ambitious project, being undertaken by locals in the community, most of whom are climbers. We are trying to build a climbing gym in the Wenatchee Valley that is of the size and quality of the climbing gyms in big cities. In order to provide the best product possible, we are aiming high. We want to have the best and most modern holds on the walls possible. So, that means we need to spend well in excess of $100,000 just on holds, and our resources are already stretched thin. The more holds we have, the more routes we can put up.
    We are asking the community, through this campaign, to help us raise money for holds. If we raise the money for the holds, then we can put more of our resources into the walls and provide more climbing area. Whether you give $5, $50, or $500, all donations are welcomed and needed! Even if you cannot give, you can still help by spreading the word.
    We hope that people see this as a longterm investment in the community. The Riverfront Rock Gym will own the property on which it sits, and the climbing building is being built specifically to house an indoor climbing facility (and perhaps some walls on the outside of the building, tooŚmaybe even some artificial ice walls down the road). The Riverfront Rock Gym is going to be around for a long time. It will be a community asset, so help us make it the best it can be!



    Here's Matt, embracing the site of the new gym. The barn does not look pretty now, but it will. We plan on adding a huge steel structure next to the barn, to house the climbing gym.

  2. #2
    Thats.... a lot of dough

  3. #3
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    1,122
    Yes! Something in the climbing forum. I'm off topic -- but I want the Climbing Chatter folks to take note that they are not currently communicating on a platform that encourages cross-pollination of information with the other strands of our local outdoor community. This is a good example of why the regional outdoor crowd should communicate in a central place. In this case climbers would benefit from skiers, cyclists, hikers, kayakers -- many of whom have overlapping interests --being aware of what's happening in the climbing community. Anyway....

    Last night at the Backcountry Film Fest, local climber, Stewart Hoover, gave a brief announcement that efforts to develop the gym (roughly across the street from the Town Toyota Center) are under way. The hope is to open the gym next November (2016). There will be a coffee shop and beer garden (occasionally stocked with beer from the esteemed Dr. Mark Shipman, who is also helping with the project). At an earlier time the crew working on this project was discussing a non-profit arm of the venture that would try to get more kids involved with the gym and into climbing. I'll ask Stewart Hoover to add more details to this thread.

  4. #4
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    1,396
    Ditto what Andy said about climbing chatter

    Personally, I would love a gym in Wenatchee. I've worked at and been a part of climbing gyms on the Wet Side and it's a great escape during the winter months when you don't want to go to they gym or it's raining and miserable. Honestly, the gym I worked at relied more on birthday parties and cub scout packs than regular paying customers. Hopefully a new gym can maintain a good balance of both. I remember when I first moved here the Cliff Hangar was still around up by the airport but went under about 10-11 years ago.

  5. #5
    I totally support stuff like this, I had no idea one could spend that much just on holds. One of the things the valley will need to focus on with the Alcoa shutdown is recreation. Unfortunately, recreation probably won't help those who lost work, but it may help the valley's economy as a whole.

  6. #6
    Be careful what you ask for Andy!

    Indeed, Nate W., that is “lot of dough.” The overall costs of modern climbing gyms, many of which are required up front, are huge. Which is probably why the grumblings about opening a climbing gym in Wenatchee have heretofore just been grumblings. It took the perfect storm of circumstances and timing (with a dose of dogged persistence from Matt Mckellar, future GM) to get the Riverfront Rock Gym team together. It shouldn't surprise anyone to hear that this is a multi-million dollar undertaking. The amount we are trying to crowd source is really, really small in relation to the overall picture. And it is not to help ease our out pocket burden; we are stretched the the limit on this thing, and every penny raised from crowd funding will be put into making this gym better. The hold package we want for this gym really is in excess of $100,000.

    Here are some details about the project: the address is 1319 Walla Walla Avenue (the old Cunckle farm). In my heavily biased opinion, this is the nicest possible location for this gym. It is directly across the street from the south parking lot of the Town Toyota center and adjoining Walla Walla Park. You will walk out the back door onto the Park and the Apple Loop Trail.

    The group will own the property, so this gym is not going to be pulled out from underneath the communities' feet because of some lease or landlord issue.

    There is currently a house and an old fruit warehouse (circa 1900, pictured in Ray's original post) on the property. The house is coming down. The warehouse, which presently looks like something out of a horror movie, has three levels is actually really cool inside. We're going to renovate it and put a reception area, cafe/lounge, outside covered seating, and decent size climbing retail store. The upstairs will have more lounge area overlooking the climbing area several multi-use rooms. The basement will be storage.

    We're going to build two new steel structures and connect them to warehouse. While we have not settled on a final configuration of those buildings, our current vision is: The smaller one will be built on the north side and will have bathrooms, locker-rooms, and gym area with hangboards, campus boards, some traditional gym equipment. The larger building will be on the east end of the warehouse and will be 80' by 70', with a ceiling running from 40' to 45' high. (Solar panels will go on top.) This building will be nothing but climbing.

    There will be climbing for all levels and ages of climbers. Walls will be up to 40', and vary from low angle to severely overhung. There will be top-roping, lead climbing, and some auto-belays. It looks like we will have a mezzanine on all or part of the one side of the building, so there will be two levels of bouldering on walls up to 15'. The bouldering area is being designed so the gym is capable of hosting local and national bouldering competitions.

    Eventually, we will put some climbing walls on the outside of the building on the side facing the river. We might even have some artificial ice climbing walls out there! Why? Shipman.

    Legendary gym designer/builder, hold maker, and route setter (he really did write the book on route setting—two, in fact) Louie Anderson is overseeing the design, engineering, and building of the walls. Mike Palmer from Cascade Specialty will do all the flooring. We struck gold with these two guys.

    Local contractor, excavator, coffee shop owner, entrepeneur, and man-about-town Flint Hartwig, along with his [much] better half Jamie, are a big part of the Riverfront team. Flint and his partners from Eider Construction will oversee the construction of the project. Flint's involvement and willingness to lend his time, effort, enthusiasm, and resources to this project is the only reason this gym is going to be a reality. Ironically, Flint and Jamie are the only non-climbers in the team, at least for the time being!

    The Riverfront team feels like we have a very realistic timeline for this project, and we will be ready to open the doors just about the time the weather starts to make climbing outside unpleasant next fall.

    Consistent with the idea that this a community asset, we want the hours and access to be broad. Current thinking is that the hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; perhaps the gym will open a little later on weekends. We are exploring the possibility of 24 hour access to the gym buildings, if that will fly the insurer (some climbing gyms have done this). We will respond to the needs and wants of the community. (It is worth emphasizing that we can and will make changes to this project in response to what people really want. For example, in the day and a half since we went public with the project, there have been numerous inquiries about child care. As a result, we are now exploring having child care.)

    When the gym opens, we will place a big emphasis youths. There will be a sizable space dedicated to young kids. We want to run clinics, programs and camps for youths, as well as establishing a youth climbing team to compete with other teams across the country. We plan to set up a non-profit, charitable organization (“Footholds”), to help fund youth programs and introduce youths to climbing and the outdoors who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity. (We hope to work with Wenatchee Outdoors on this part of the project.) Half the Riverfront team speaks passible Spanish (Flint actually speaks Spanish better than he speaks English), so we intend to aggressively encourage the hispanic community to get involved in climbing, both indoors and out. It is our intention that no kids who want to climb will be turned away from the gym because their parents can't afford it.

    The Riverfront team sincerely believes that this gym will be a huge asset for the outdoor community and that it will make the greater Wenatchee Valley a little bit better place. (ThanhVan and my decision to move here would have been made a lot more easy if there had been a gym in town. I can think of ten other similar examples off the top of my head. I heard a story just yesterday about to out-of-towners interviewing for a job here, both of whom asked if there was a climbing gym in town. Does Executive Director Shaffer want to chime in?) That sincere belief is why we dared to set a crowd funding goal of $100,000. We are betting that anyone who takes the time to reflect on how a gym like will enhance the area will support the project, even if they don't climb. Even if we didn't raise a dime, the gym is still coming. It would just be sans some cool features that might have been. But we are betting that the community will step up to the plate. (In the day and a half since we launched the crowd funding campaign, we have received donations from people in Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Utah, Arizona, and up and down the east coast. The fact that we have garnered support from people who do not have a vested interest in this project should help motivate people who do.)

    So there you have it; more information than you ever wanted.
    Last edited by Stewart; 12-20-2015 at 04:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    1,396
    Edit: Just got a reply via Facebook to my question below. They said that once they're onsite doing building, anyone can drop off donations of holds.

    Original Message: Thanks for posting here and getting the ball rolling. I have about three boxes of holds and jibs from my home gym that I don't use anymore and would love to donate. Let me know how I can do that.

  8. #8
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    1,122
    Stewart, Thanks for the detailed background and info about the gym. We'll use this info in the oncoming months for posts at WenatcheeOutdoors and articles in the WenatcheeWorld. Exciting stuff ---also, thanks for getting so heavily involved in the project.

  9. #9
    Thank you, Andy, for the support of WenactheeOutdoors. In response to Ray's generous offer regarding holds, I think I maybe should explain a few things about holds and modern climbing gyms, things that I had no clue about 2 months ago. Modern climbing gyms are not the same animals as the gyms of old. (An interesting aside, for anybody wanting to hear the history of "artificial" climbing in the US and the use of artificial holds, there is a podcast interview with our wall designer/builder, Louie Anderson, in which reminisces about the gluing rocks to highway underpasses, making holds out of clay, and the very first indoor gyms--it's on chalktalk available on iTunes.) Indoor climbing has become its own niche industry, complete with an industry association and business journal, safety and wall construction standards, trend monitoring, and statistics on tried and true gym models. When you start talking to gym consultants and wall designers, they express themselves in terms of features you "need" or "must" have--this ratio of boulder to wall climbing, that amount of open space, etc. Because I am a somewhat of a contrarian, I never take such declarations at face value. But it didn't take much investigation and research to learn that there was a lot of evidence supporting what we were being told. If you want to be able to attract and host national bouldering competitions, which we do, certain things have to be done.

    So, with regard to holds, one of the modern trends is setting routes with holds that are all the same color. This makes for a cleaner appearing, easier to follow route, and dispenses with wasting of all that tape (which is important to some of us who are not over-the-top green freaks but are mindful of such things). The obvious down side to same color route setting is that you need a whole lot of yellow holds in all shapes and sizes . . . and red, blue green purple, etc.

    Another modern gym "must" is volumes, which are really large holds/features that come in all sorts of geometric shapes, some of which you attach smaller holds to. If you watch any of the national or international bouldering competitions, you will see entire routes set with only large volumes. Some the large volumes run as much as $500 a piece. Add in the same color idea, and you can appreciate how the cost of holds gets expensive really fast.

    One way or another, the Riverfront Rock Gym will have the best, most modern holds, even if it takes a little time. It is just too important to the goals of having a youth climbing team and being able to attract and host national competitions (which would be a huge boon for the City, even if it doesn't yet realize it). Optics are important. We intend for this gym to be one of the highlights of the City, and part of that equation is the "wow" factor. Some of the "wow' will be lost if people walk through a mind blowing, renovated old fruit warehouse, with a big hand operated elevator in the middle, into a the brand new climbing area only to see a bunch of old, used holds.

    My point in blathering on about this is that we are super excited and gracious that people are willing to donate holds to us. But at the same time, we don't want to end up with a basement full of holds that aren't used, or get a truck load of old holds and have people think, ah ha, hold cost problem solved. I hope this makes sense. I'm a little afraid it won't, because two months ago the practical and contrarian sides of me may have had the attitude, get real and and use the holds.

    Below is a preliminary drawing of the facility. Even though it looks really small, it will be really big.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	RRG Sketch.jpeg 
Views:	109 
Size:	186.5 KB 
ID:	1702
    Last edited by Stewart; 12-20-2015 at 04:20 AM.

  10. #10
    Administrator raybirks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    1,396
    Thanks for all of the detail and for the big dreams. It seems like a huge undertaking but hopefully it will become a cornerstone for recreation in the valley. As Nate said, and as Andy has often alluded to, our little valley is primed to become a hub and dreamers like those who are building the rock wall are the drivers. Thank you.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •