Vital Opens in Bellingham

Photo: Vital Bouldering

Bellingham, Washington maybe the last sizable town in the Northwest to have it’s own commercial climbing gym.  Vital Bouldering Gyms of California will open it’s doors to the public this July 13th.

Bellingham, with a population of 82,000 is home to Western Washington University, with a student body of 14,833.

From the News Tribune:

The wooden flooring on the main floor was removed, creating a 30-foot high area with about 4,900 square feet of climbing walls. The removed wood was reused in a variety of ways, including for countertops.

The climbing walls are up to 17 feet high, with padding on the floors to allow for bouldering, or climbing without ropes, said Kaili Koo, manager of the gym.

For members, the gym will be available 24 hours a day and will rely on an honor system overnight. After 9 p.m. members will use a key code system with no staff on hand, although some monitoring will take place, including “watchdogs,” or people who pop in at random hours to make sure the gym is being run properly.

“Our goal is to have the climbing community running the gym after hours,” said Koo, who added that the gym will be staffed 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, when nonmembers can drop in. “We wanted to create a business where people have the opportunity to make the right decision, rather than put a bunch of rules in place.”