Several weeks ago, it was announced on social media that Aiguille Rock Climbing Center in Longwood, Florida, would be closing its doors. A message on Facebook and Instagram at the time read: “Due to circumstances out of our control, we are being forced to vacate our current facility mid October. As you can imagine, the Aiguille family is still processing this news and we are deeply heartbroken.”
Amid the closure, the gym announced that refunds would be given for paid clinics and classes, as well as event bookings beyond October. The reason for the closure was “complicated,” according to Aiguille’s operator Dean Pflaumer, but amounted to a new landlord opting to rent the expansive space to another tenant.
However, in the wake of the decision, a new facility has been found nearby—within walking distance of the original building, in fact—that will serve as a temporary location. Pflaumer notes that a search for a facility that will serve as a new permanent Aiguille location is ongoing as well.
Given the expedited move, the temporary facility will likely be bouldering-only; any top rope offerings will be minimal, according to Pflaumer. Yet, in an attempt to compensate for less climbing wall space, the temporary gym will increase its fitness and yoga offerings.
Pflaumer cites the community as helping with the continuing transition. “I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to offer help,” he told CBJ. “Many people have spoken of specific skills they possess, while others have simply offered to do anything we might need. Everyone is pulling together strongly, and it makes me confident that this will be just a bump in the road.”
The Aiguille Rock Climbing Center originally opened in 1997 as the first substantial climbing gym in the central Florida region. Over the years, it has served the Orlando metropolitan area and offered additional amenities such as youth camps. It is also notable for being the facility where professional climber Meagan Martin got her start as a child.
John Burgman has been writing about climbing for nearly a decade. He is a Fulbright journalism grant recipient, a former magazine editor at Outdoor Life, and the author of two books. He holds a master’s degree from New York University and bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio. In addition to writing, he coaches a youth bouldering team.