Oklahoma To Get New Climbing Gym



Climb UP, a new modern climbing facility in Norman, Oklahoma seeks to build on the growth of climbing in the flatlands and will be the first full-service progressive climbing gym in Oklahoma.  The 12,000 sq. ft. space will feature a massive top-out boulder, a 70-foot long by 16-foot tall competition bouldering wall, a variety of top-roping, steep lead climbing terrain, auto-belays, a speed climbing training wall, hangboard area, film and slideshow venue, as well as a dedicated kids boulder, group area, pro shop, and a yoga studio.

Owners Aaron and Lisa Gibson, the husband-wife team, are no strangers to the climbing gym world. They were the operators of Rocktown Climbing Gym in Oklahoma City and spent seven years as the visionaries that brought the silo gym national recognition.

“This new gym has been years in the making,” says Aaron, “When I began climbing 23 years ago I imagined having a climbing gym here in my hometown. We finally have a chance to make that dream a reality.”  Aaron calls this new gym a “hybrid.” The makeup is close to 50% rope and 50% bouldering. It’s more weighted towards bouldering than most rope gyms because of

the large student population (Norman is a college town, home to the University of Oklahoma) and ever-growing interest in bouldering but still has quality roped climbing terrain. From a business standpoint they felt the throughput of bouldering would allow more people to engage with climbing more frequently rather than waiting for a roped climb to open up. As such, Climb UP is not purely a bouldering gym, nor is it a standard roped climbing gym, but it can hold it’s own in either category.

“We worked really hard on the concept and layout in order to maximize the functionality of the space while maintaining an openness that encourages people to explore, to observe, and to climb,” says Aaron.  While the Gibsons could have gone lower-budget on the walls and built them in-house, they felt that it was value-added to have a top-of-the-line brand, like Walltopia, construct the walls. “There is something to be said for name recognition and professional quality. We felt that Walltopia, with their product had exactly what we were looking for,” says Aaron, “We think it will be well-worth the expense.”

Photo: Walltopia
Photo: Walltopia

It’s one thing to have great walls but climbers will quickly tell you that it’s the routesetting that makes the gym. To that end, Climb UP will employ experienced setters that are USA Climbing certified. Likewise, all instructors will be CWA certified and all climbing guides will be AMGA certified. The goal is to bring a greater degree of professionalism to the gym and the community.

Climb UP will have a strong focus on programming for young climbers, after school climbing clubs, climbing events, and will be a launch pad for outdoor enthusiasts.  “We took into account the large population of kids and young adults when thinking about our programming,” says Lisa.

Climb UP is currently under construction and anticipates an opening date in November of 2014. Find them online at http://climbupgym.com.