Missoula Gym Expands, Adds Sport Climbing


One of the new bouldering walls at Freestone. Photo: Freestone

The first commercial climbing gym in Missoula, Montana is on track to get a lot bigger. Freestone Climbing, which opened in 2011 with 3,000 square feet of bouldering, has moved to a new space with over twice the amount of square footage.

Freestone owner, Walter Hailes told the Missoulian newspaper that after testing the waters with a bouldering-only facility he knew he wanted to add sport climbing. “We were looking for some place to put in a real ropes course, but there wasn’t anyplace tall enough,” Hailes said. “We had to build this.”

When Hailes first opened Freestone, he was nervous about the viability of a stand-alone facility. But, after a series of wall expansions, the 4,800-square-foot space that he started with quickly hit capacity.

The new space is now open but is not completed. Available to climbers right now is 3,500 square feet of bouldering while an additional 10,000 square feet of sport climbing is under construction. Hailes’ long-term plans include adding a yoga studio, weight room, stationary bikes and treadmills to broaden the facility’s appeal.