Along with a couple other facilities such as X-treme in Miami and Aiguille Orlando, the Tallahassee Rock Gym—which opened in 1995—should be viewed as one of the facilities that helped bring climbing to Florida and gave the climbing industry a viable presence in that state.
Given such history and heritage, it is interesting to note that the Tallahassee Rock Gym is still evolving and expanding as the industry itself continues to expand. After decades of operations in what the gym’s owner/manager Richard Ruddell calls “an un-air-conditioned warehouse with major roof problems,” the Tallahassee Rock Gym has decided to relocate to a new facility.
The new space is a former eight-screen movie theater, which will be divided into four separate rooms: a lead climbing and top-rope “auditorium” that measures 5,810 square feet, a separate room for auto belays, a bouldering “theater” that measures 2,182 square feet, and a room with fitness and weightlifting equipment.
This substantial relocation also comes with a total recasting: The Tallahassee Rock Gym brand will soon be known as Alchemy Climbing. “We are moving and decided that the new place deserves a new name,” Ruddell tells CBJ. “We chose Alchemy Climbing as our new name because of the concept of creating something of value out of something worthless—like the old alchemists strived to do.”
Ruddell adds, “This is a major transformation, and while we might not be making gold from lead, we are transforming an old discount movie theater that had been empty and vacant for almost two years into a full-offering climbing gym.”
The climbing walls and flooring for the unique theater facility are being provided by OnSite, and Ruddell says he plans to use Rock Gym Pro in the new gym. He is eyeing April, 2021, for the official unveiling of the new space and the new branding.
Climbing Business Journal is an independent news outlet dedicated to covering the indoor climbing industry. Here you will find the latest coverage of climbing industry news, gym developments, industry best practices, risk management, climbing competitions, youth coaching and routesetting. Have an article idea? CBJ loves to hear from readers like you!