A press release earlier this week announced that Movement, the largest network of climbing gyms in the United States, recently acquired The Cliffs’ five facilities. The acquisition encompasses all The Cliffs’ gyms in New York and Pennsylvania and brings the total number of Movement gyms to 29 across the country.
“We are thrilled to bring The Cliffs outstanding gyms, dedicated team members, and passionate climbing community on board,” Jeremy Levitt, Movement’s CEO, stated in the press release. “Together, we can introduce even more people to the best climbing walls, routes, and amenities in the indoor climbing industry today.”
Mike Wolfert, CEO of The Cliffs, added, “I’m stoked for the next phase of The Cliffs’ evolution. The resources Movement will bring to take these gyms to the next level is the future of climbing. Movement’s expertise will provide immediate benefit to the New York and Philadelphia climbing communities—and give our climbers access to a nationwide network of gyms at no additional cost.”
Specific facilities included in the acquisition were The Cliffs’ mixed climbing gyms in Gowanus (Brooklyn), LIC (Queens), Valhalla (north of New York City) and Callowhill (Philadelphia), as well as a bouldering-focused facility in Harlem (Manhattan). The Movement website indicated that, “Starting December 11th, all The Cliffs members will have access to all Movement gyms and all Movement members will have access to all The Cliffs gyms,” the latter of which will soon be rebranded as Movement gyms.
At a broad level, the acquisition of The Cliffs facilities put something of a punctuation mark on a very busy year for Movement, which saw the brand also acquire (and rebrand) multiple Summit gyms in Texas. Although global statistics are difficult to confirm, the recent acquisition of The Cliffs gyms likely makes Movement the largest climbing gym operator in the world by measure of gym quantity. Moreover, two additional Movement gyms are currently in development.
News of the acquisition—and Movement’s growth throughout the year—naturally prompted discussion by owners of other gym brands. For example, one post by an anonymous user on the Climbing Gym Operators Facebook group page asked, “Anyone else feel like Movement is consuming the industry?”
Stay tuned to CBJ for further updates and breaking news about climbing gym acquisitions.
For over 20 years, So iLL has been on the leading edge of climbing holds, crashpads, shoes and apparel. Their distinctive Roids, Fungus, Pipes and Baby holds are crowd pleasers in every climbing gym, while their On The Roam collab with Jason Momoa brings fashion wherever it’s worn.
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Capitan, the CRM for climbing gyms, will be hosting two networking breakfasts at the inaugural Indoor Climbing Expo to foster additional collaboration between climbing gyms traveling to Chattanooga this December.
Climbing gym owners, prospective owners, managers and staff are welcome to attend.
The breakfasts will be hosted at Kenny’s (a quick 10 minute walk to the convention center) at 8:00 AM on both Wednesday, December 13 and Friday, December 15 of the conference before most sessions begin at 10:00 AM.
Due to limited capacity, we kindly ask no more than two individuals from a single organization attend.
Capitan is a climbing-specific CRM that streamlines waivers, entry passes, memberships, events and more. Their open and supported API allows organizations to connect with all other tools they use to run their business. Capitan is used in climbing gyms across multiple countries, from boutique bouldering facilities to large, multi-location organizations.
Not attending the Indoor Climbing Expo but interested in how Capitan can support your organization’s goals? Book a time here for an intro call or email Capitan at email@example.com.
CBJ press releases are written by the sponsor and do not represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.
“We are thrilled to bring The Cliffs outstanding gyms, dedicated team members, and passionate climbing community on board,” said Jeremy Levitt, Movement CEO. “Together, we can introduce even more people to the best climbing walls, routes, and amenities in the indoor climbing industry today.”
The newly acquired climbing and fitness gyms include The Cliffs popular NY Metro area gyms, as well as The Cliffs at Callowhill, the largest climbing facility in Pennsylvania, which is situated in the heart of Philadelphia.
The Cliffs at Gowanus is the newest and largest location in New York and is 36,000 square feet of top rope, lead climbing, and bouldering. Featuring a full fitness center, a “Board Room” with top-of-the-line climbing training equipment boards, a Dual 10m speed-climbing wall, and an outdoor roof deck with views of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The Cliffs at Callowhill, the largest climbing gym in PA, is a 37,000 square foot facility featuring top rope, lead climbing, and bouldering. A world class training zone, Dual 10m speed-climbing wall, and full-scope fitness center with premier cardiovascular and strength training equipment.
The Cliffs at Harlemis the largest climbing gym in Manhattan. This location is a 16,000 square foot bouldering facility including a fitness center with cardio and strength training equipment. Campus boards, tension board, and an LED Moon Board are also available for customized training programs. Yoga and Fitness Classes, Full-service locker rooms with showers, and a Gear Shop for indoor and outdoor climbing needs.
The Cliffs at LICis a 23,600 square foot facility featuring top rope, lead climbing, and b In addition to climbing, it features a fitness mezzanine, yoga + fitness classes, full-service locker rooms with showers, and a gear shop for indoor and outdoor climbing needs.
The Cliffs at Valhalla is a 9,800 square foot facility featuring top rope, lead climbing, bouldering, and a gear shop.
“I’m stoked for the next phase of The Cliffs’ evolution,” said Mike Wolfert, CEO of The Cliffs. “The resources Movement will bring to take these gyms to the next level is the future of climbing. Movement’s expertise will provide immediate benefit to the New York and Philadelphia climbing communities – and give our climbers access to a nationwide network of gyms at no additional cost.”
About Movement Climbing, Yoga, and Fitness
Movement is the largest nationwide community of indoor climbing gyms. Every Movement facility is committed to growing the climbing community through a shared vision to empower personal transformation. Movement gyms feature bouldering, top-roping, lead climbing, and amenities like yoga studios, functional fitness, cardio zones, and climbing gear shops. Each facility caters to participants of all abilities – from competitive athletes to weekend adventurers and families.
With facilities in New York City and Philadelphia, The Cliffs Climbing + Fitness is the premier network of climbing gyms in the Northeast. Founded in 2005 by climber and entrepreneur Mike Wolfert, The Cliffs embodies excellence in every element of the climbing and fitness experience. Every facility is committed to delivering industry best in climbing, bouldering, classes, retail, fitness facilities, and, most importantly, community outreach. Multiple expansions throughout New York City have shown that when The Cliffs moves into a neighborhood, new residents move in, too — The Cliffs is part of what made rock climbing popular in the busiest city in the world.
V12 Resole, a California Bay Area-based company, is enhancing the popularity of climbing shoe repair with a focus on serving the local community. To minimize the environmental impact of discarded climbing shoes, V12 Resole offers an alternative that reduces waste and reconnects climbers with their favorite footwear.
Bringing Climbers Closer to Sustainability
V12 Resole stands out by offering convenient local services, with facilities now available in Santa Clara and Foster City. The company enables climbers to easily drop off and pick up their shoes, eliminating the necessity for shipping. This not only streamlines the repair process but also aligns seamlessly with V12 Resole’s dedication to sustainability. The core mission of V12 Resole is to reduce waste and swiftly return climbers to their projects. Through their resoling service, the company extends the lifespan of climbing shoes, promoting a sustainable approach within the climbing community.
Recent achievements include the opening of facilities in Santa Clara and Foster City. The company has actively engaged with the climbing community through local events at gyms and colleges, fostering meaningful connections. Notably, V12 Resole will be an exhibitor at the Indoor Climbing Expo 2023, offering a special service of one-day turnaround resoling for attendees. This exclusive offer aims to provide climbers with quick and efficient shoe repair, allowing them to get back on the wall without delay.
Celebrating Customer Success
V12 Resole goes beyond shoe repairs; their aim is to deliver a convenient and seamless experience. Whether it is hearing the satisfaction of returning customers or witnessing climbers achieve their goals in freshly resoled shoes, V12 Resole views these instances as motivation for continuous improvement.
About V12 Resole:
V12 Resole is a California Bay Area-based company specializing in climbing shoe repair. With facilities in Santa Clara and Foster City, the company aims to reduce waste and provide sustainable solutions for climbers by connecting them with skilled cobblers. V12 Resole is committed to fostering a sense of community and environmental responsibility within the climbing industry.
For more details about V12 Resole and their climbing shoe repair services, please visit www.v12resole.com.
Here in the US today we celebrate Thanksgiving. We give thanks for you, our readers, and hope you get to share some time (and good food) with friends or family. Elsewhere in the world climbers are hosting slab comps, analyzing our growth, examining hold attachment, fooling beginners, and preparing for Vertical Pro, Europe’s largest climbing trade show this weekend.
“A Competitive Team Coach serves as a main point of contact for our youth athletes operating at a highly competitive level, and as such must be goal-oriented, able to multitask, innovative, possess good time management skills, and be passionate about helping coaches and young climbers achieve their expression of success. They partner with the Youth Team Manager and Coaches to plan and execute programming that results in transformative experiences for youth athletes and teach life skills through the sport of climbing.”
“If you’re wondering when to follow up after an interview, your first follow-up email should be sent within 24 hours of meeting. Your tone of voice in the follow-up email should be professional, courteous, and direct. There’s no need for unnecessary small talk — just stick to the steps below for what to include in your post-interview follow-up email.”
When Stanislav Kleshnov, founder of SPACEGroup in Ukraine, reached out to CBJ to share the business’s story, he discussed the improbability of a phone interview. “Periodically, the enemy attacks the country with rockets, and we have to evacuate to safe places; this can be a hindrance,” he wrote in an email. “The best variant is an interview by letter.” After almost two years of war, these concerns are still part of everyday life for Kleshnov, the SPACEGroup employees, their families, and many other people in Ukraine.
Yet Kleshnov has found it “impossible to sit idly by,” instead choosing to immerse himself in his work. In December 2021, two months before the Russian invasion, SPACEGroup’s third gym,Boulder Space, opened to the public. And in May 2022, just months after the start of the war, TheWall underwent a large expansion during which the gym tripled in size. It’s an expansion story that has been anything but typical, and a journey that has required perseverance and adaptation each step of the way.
From Gym to Shelter
TheWall, a bouldering gym in Lviv, was founded in 2015 byKleshnov. Four years later, Kleshnov’s childhood friend, Oleg Pokusaiev, founded Climbing Space in Kyiv. As the communities at the gyms grew, Kleshnov and Pokusaiev eventually felt they were at capacity with customers, prompting plans to open Boulder Space and expand TheWall. “In those years, COVID prevailed, but this did not prevent [Pokusaiev] and [Gorobcov] from building a second hall,” Kleshnov says, noting the team “thought more about COVID as a problem” that would impact their businesses than the chance of war.
“We did not believe there would be a war. We hoped that politicians would find a solution to avoid it,” Kleshnov elaborates. “On February 23, 2022, a training session of the Youth National Team was held in Boulder Space. I had conversations with the coaches and talked a little about what could happen, but they still didn’t believe it. On February 24, we woke up in a different reality.”
The start of the invasion immediately put SPACEGroup into crisis mode. “At the beginning of the war, we closed all the gyms and evacuated our staff, first to the east to Lviv,” Kleshnov recalls. “On the second day of the war, we took women and children to Europe. Men were already banned from leaving the country at that time.” Met with new demands imposed by the war, TheWall transitioned into a temporary refugee shelter in the early going, subsisting on donations from the world’s climbing community. “We provided regular meals to the refugees and bought everything necessary for their daily life,” Kleshnov says. “Our friends from a nearby restaurant helped: We brought them food, and they cooked for us for the refugees. It was a time of incredible cooperation; everything was done for free, and everyone helped everyone.”
Surprisingly, some climbing was still taking place at the gym—lessons were held for children at the shelter, for instance—but it was far from business as usual. When the war began, “the whole economy stopped,” states Kleshnov, contributing to financial issues for SPACEGroup. TheWall, the only gym to remain open throughout the early months of the invasion, to Kleshnov’s knowledge, operated on a donation basis until the economy started picking up again. “Very quickly,” Kleshnov notes, “our clients let us know that they were ready to pay for our services.”
On the side, Pokusaiev started to create SPACEGroup’s hold brand, 5fingers, while sheltering. “Work is a good distraction from war and stress,” Kleshnov says. “Also, in this way, we started to earn [revenue] and be helpful to the economy of our country. Our business pays taxes; it is very important for us.”
Expanding With Purpose
As the war dragged on, and businesses in the country tried to move forward, Kleshnov began exploring what was next for TheWall. “During the war in your country, every citizen is looking for an opportunity to help your country…We began to think about how to open halls and start working. At this time, everyone who was connected with the military went to the front…and conditions for the functioning of business were created. That is why we decided to take a risk and build a new part of TheWall.”
Rather than shrink the scale of the business, Kleshnov sought to enhance the gym’s contribution to the local economy by picking up a previous business objective: increasing the size of the gym. “Plans for expanding the old gym were made a long time ago, but I did not find a favorable model for the [former] main investor. But the war became a trigger and accelerated this process,” Kleshnov explains, with the team wanting to do their part for the economy and provide employment. “[Pokusaiev] and I came to the conclusion that we needed to unite into a single economic network,” a merger that resulted in the formation of SPACEGroup—a business managed by partners Kleshnov, Pokusaiev and Olexander Gorobcov which operates the three gyms and 5fingers. The merger also made TheWall expansion feasible.
“We built all the gyms with our own hands,” Kleshnov says, noting the team dismantled about 100 tons of brick walls to expand TheWall into neighboring squash courts. “We studied the world’s best practices and studied technologies. We can say that we are pioneers of commercial climbing in Ukraine,” he adds. Of course, there were moments of distress during construction. Kleshnov feared further bombardments, for example, would destroy the progress they had made before the addition could be completed.
A New Normal
Today, TheWall has resumed operations as a climbing gym, but the gym has had to adapt as the war evolves. “The enemy attacked the country in different waves. In the very beginning, it was military facilities and airfields. In winter, it was power plants and fuel bases,” says Kleshnov. “That was what reassured us, and we understood that our locations were in safe places. But the enemy often uses old and inaccurate weapons and hits residential buildings, shopping centers, hospitals, schools, universities and others. Therefore, every air alarm paralyzes life in the country.” Blackouts due to power outages, for instance, impacted operations in the early days. “Fortunately, our specialists fixed these problems, and we adapted to the long absence of electricity. We have generators in all our gyms,” Kleshnov says.
Besides these changes, and small pivots for the gyms’ day-to-day operations—such as offering remote services for climbing athletes—“there is no big difference between how we worked before the war and how we’ve worked during it,” Kleshnov assures. “It was very simple. Even before the war, we constantly consulted and helped each other,” sharing knowledge and using similar processes at the gyms. “Of course,” he adds, “during air raids, we turn off the music in the gym, all clients have an alarm app, and there are bomb shelters next to each hall. For us and all visitors, this is already a routine. Most often, actual attacks happen at night, so we work without restrictions during the day.”
The three gyms are currently open, profitable, and offering membership options, with a team of 45-50 employees across the locations. Kleshnov says that some staff members were able to leave the country, and others were already abroad and did not return. “There are also those who returned and continue to work for us,” he continues. “I have no moral right to condemn those who decided not to return. But our team has a common opinion that this is our country and our home, and we should live here. Ukraine’s climbing community has already lost many incredibly cool people. All of them defended the country. We don’t know how long it will last. The planning horizon is very small, a week—it’s not a joke. The men on our team are at constant risk of being mobilized to the front,” says Kleshnov.
For the team in general, balancing work, family and rest has been a constant challenge. Many staff members volunteer for the war effort in their free time. And some families are still separated, with their children having been evacuated to other European countries. Kleshnov’s children, for example, live in Germany, where they are helped by a community of rock climbers from Freiburg. “I don’t want my boys to return here until the war ends,” he says.
Supporting the Home Team
Since his first days climbing in 1993, Kleshnov has been active in the competition climbing community as a competitor—earning bronze at an IFSC World Cup in 2008 and winning a National Championship in 2015—and National Team coach, in addition to being a business owner. And while his days competing at high-level events may be behind him, that passion has remained part of his work.
Lately, Kleshnov has been supporting the development of competition climbing in Ukraine as an official of the Ukrainian Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UMCF) and a representative of the Ukrainian Climbing Development Foundation (UCDF), created by SPACEGroup. The UCDF supports the National Team athletes, as they train and compete on the international circuit, and the UMCF. Funding from the UCDF has provided athletes with uniforms and National Team staff members with financial support, covering their salary and partial expenses of business trips. The fund also provides financial rewards for Ukrainian athletes who win prizes in IFSC competitions, which is no small task: Kleshnov approximated that 27 IFSC medals have been won by Ukrainian athletes this season.
Keeping the comp scene going strong hasn’t been easy. “There is no normal competitive process,” Kleshnov describes. “Many sports bases have been destroyed, logistics have been disrupted, and planes do not fly in our country (only military ones). Therefore, after our victory (we believe in it), the sport will have to start developing from the beginning.” For their part, he and Pokusaiev try to help the UMCF with “plans and new projects, competitions, sponsors, negotiations, prospecting, and the development of new rules and policies.” And of course, Kleshnov adds, “we all climb from time to time.”
How You Can Help
At this stage of the war, Kleshnov urges he does not want donations or special treatment. Instead, he encourages climbers to pay attention to 5fingers, or to donate to the fund for military climbers. He is also interested in getting feedback from other gyms and brands on his climbing facilities and holds. “We independently develop the concept, build the walls, and do not use well-known global manufacturers,” he says. “We founded a factory from scratch to produce our holds in wartime. In the future, we are considering selling our services abroad.” To get in touch with Kleshnov, please reach out to TheWall here.
“Today, our company is a locomotive of close people who have been together throughout our lives, and we were united by rock climbing. Partners are friends, friends are my clients and students in the past,” says Kleshnov, expressing his gratitude for everyone with whom he has “crossed paths for the development of this industry” in his country. Mainly, he wants readers to know: “Ukraine aspires to be free and part of the civilized world.”
ICP is thrilled to announce its arrival into the North American climbing scene with a focus on modern climbing gym design and innovative products to help inspire creative route setting.
ICP originated in Australia nearly 15 years ago as a company with a primary focus on route setting and holds. Over time, the company naturally evolved into the distribution of climbing walls, through partnerships with several major manufacturers, before making the leap into the complete design, fabrication and installation of climbing walls, volumes, and matting. “Over the years we learnt that having control from end-to-end was vital if you want to obtain creative license and develop incredible products. So this has been our focus, to create incredible climbing experiences and push boundaries within the industry.” said Rob Parer, CEO of ICP.
ICP is not just another climbing gym manufacturer; it is setting a new standard in climbing facility design and functionality. ICP has just introduced its revolutionary “RAPS” system, which seamlessly integrates climbing wall angles with volume faces, unlocking endless possibilities for climbers, setters and gym owners alike.
What is ICP Raps?
ICP Walls + ICP Volumes = ICP Raps. This is more than just a volume on a wall. This novel approach to design blends climbing wall and volume faces seamlessly together, creating extended planes. Being able to alter ICP Walls within a climbing gym in such an intentional way will provide new shapes and fresh geometry for route setters and patrons. With new ICP Volume shapes released regularly – the ICP Raps system is changing the game for route setting and wall design.
Matching by Color: Identifying corresponding wall and volume angles from a color grading system is where the magic happens. Wall arěte’s and volume faces with matching angles are defined by unique, matching angle colors. This means setters will know instantly which volumes they can use to expand a particular plane of the wall, removing the guesswork. Now gyms can be set optimally, allowing the walls to be refreshed time and time again.
Stacks of Creativity: ICP Raps empowers setters to craft expansive features, easier than ever before! Every ICP Volume is designed with the ICP Raps system angles, and each set of ICP Volumes is designed to stack on itself.
ICP Offers a Range of Climbing Wall Products:
Boulder Walls: Built from the highest quality materials, engineered to out-perform, look great and offer versatility for setting.
Rope Walls: Top Rope, Lead Walls, Speed Walls & more. ICP builds a range of rope wall options.
Volumes: Designed to enhance route setters’ creativity. Ranging from low profile to bold stacks.
ICP’s Special Carpet Top Matting: Safety is at the heart of everything ICP does, and their carpet top matting provides a soft and secure landing, reducing the risk of injury while looking great and keeping clean.
When asked about the vision for ICP in America, Parer had this to say: “We believe with the right tools, sport can change a person’s life. We are strong believers in pushing the sport of climbing forward, as a community and we feel American climbers want this too. That’s why we intend to deliver unique climbing gym solutions that foster a sense of community, adventure, and innovation for new climbing gyms across the United States. We believe that our innovations will not only benefit climbers but also help climbing gym owners in creating more engaging and dynamic environments. We didn’t just want to be another wall supplier doing good walls. We wanted to empower creativity and build great walls. I believe our new ICP Raps system is a great first step in that direction.”
ICP is an Australian based pioneer in the design and construction of state-of-the-art climbing gyms and climbing wall systems. With a commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction, ICP is revolutionizing the indoor climbing experience with its groundbreaking RAPS wall system and a wide range of fresh, new climbing features. ICP’s team is comprised of passionate climbers with years of experience with climbing walls, safety matting and route setting. ICP has gained recognition for its dedication to quality, safety, and creativity in the world of climbing.
Visit Essential Climbing at booth 127 to check out the latest shapes from eXpression, Squadra, Vezi, Axis, Lapis and Kumiki Climbing. Essential Climbing’s carefully crafted selection of brands fulfills the needs of the modern climbing gym with high quality holds, fiberglass and wood volumes.
CBJ press releases are written by the sponsor and do not represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.