Historic Textile Mill Will Become an Indoor Climbing Haven

BlocHaven climbing gym under construction
The interior of BlocHaven looks completely like a climbing gym now, but there is a lot of history and heritage to the space, dating back all the way to the early 1900s. (Photos courtesy of BlocHaven)

Greenville, South Carolina

Specs: The forthcoming gym will exist in a building with a 25,000-square-foot footprint and feature 10,500 square feet of climbable surface—with bouldering and top-ropes. The amenities are many, including a Kilter Board and a Tension Board, a three-sided “campus tower,” weightlifting and cardio equipment (including treadmills, bikes, rowers, and dumbbells), a hangboard area with multiple options, a retail space with climbing equipment, and study tables and WiFi workstation.

The gym will also house Redpoint Café, a fully-functional eatery with freshly baked goods, smoothies, light snacks and coffee from Methodical Coffee (roasted locally in Greenville). Also of note is the gym’s plan to source as many American-made products as it can. This will include seeking out local farms for café ingredients and produce, retailing logo-wear made in the United States and printed in Greenville, and handmade tables crafted by a local carpenter.


Classes and similar group offerings will include Bouldering 101 and Gym-to-Crag instructional courses, Kilter and Tension Board clinics, yoga classes, summer camps starting in July, and more. “As a gym, it will be our responsibility to educate and make sure the community is well-informed regardless of experience level,” BlocHaven’s General Manager Will Snader tells CBJ. “With climbing gaining popularity, people need to have resources handy to prepare them for whatever comes their way indoors or outdoors.”

The site of the gym is historic. Judson Mill opened in 1912 and was one of the largest textiles mills in the county at the time. In 1933, Milliken took over the property and carried textiles through the 1990s—eventually closing in 2015. The building stood vacant for years, until the old plant was purchased for the BlocHaven gym. “Judson has a lot of history behind it and is a protected property because of that history,” Snader says. “Thus, alterations made to the actual building were pretty limited because of the protection around it. We respect the history of the property and feel that the design fits the space perfectly.”

More climbing walls at BlocHaven
BlocHaven plans to also feature youth teams for all levels of kids, beginning in August. The goal is to have a large youth presence at the gym, from beginner-level to elite on the USA Climbing circuit.

Designers: Doug and Teri Johnson, owners of BlocHaven, in conjunction with Vertical Solutions’ design team.
Walls: Vertical Solutions
Flooring: Habit Climbing
CRM Software: PushPress
Instagram: @blochaven
Website: www.blochaven.com

In Their Words: “After all of the years of building companies for others, we were at another crossroads, not only professionally, but also as a family. We had discussed opening a family business, and our love for rock climbing drove us to look at it more closely. I visited the national Climbing Wall Association Summit to do some research and returned with a vision of what it would take to build a rock-climbing gym. After we moved to Greenville, we found our space at Judson Mill, and we will open later this spring.”
—Doug Johnson, Owner