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CommRow Grand Opening and Tahoe Climbing

CommRow Grand Opening and Tahoe Climbing
October 06, 2011 - 

This past weekend I traveled up to Reno, Nevada to attend the grand opening of a new gym called CommRow. Boasting one of the best bouldering areas in the country, (thanks to our good friends over at Vertical Solutions) the only official 15 meter speed climbing wall in North America, and the tallest climbing wall in the world, (over 165 feet of vertical climbing) this gym definitely lives up to its expectations as one of the top climbing gyms in the world.



IFSC Speed wall at night! photo: Boone Speed
The bouldering area photo: Alex Johnson

CommRow is actually part of a larger “Urban Adventure Destination”, consisting of the two-pitch outdoor climbing wall, the indoor bouldering area, two live entertainment venues, a 136-room hotel, and dozens of small tapa-style restaurants scattered throughout the venue. I first heard about the wall about six months ago, after seeing blueprints for the wall online. Over the summer, I was officially invited to the grand opening by one of the event coordinators, Johnny Blomquist, which I immediately confirmed.  The whole day was INCREDIBLE. I drove up with my parents and friend Hannah Donnelly (a member of Zero Gravity Climbing Team) to Tahoe the night before the big day, and drove the rest of the way to Reno the next morning. When I first set my eyes on the wall, I could barely believe it.  Situated right in the middle of downtown, CommRow is visible from all directions you could possibly think of. Silhouetted against the beautiful morning sky, the wall curves surreally up into the atmosphere and towers above the other buildings adjacent to it.

photo: Rod Grossman

I spent the whole day hanging out around CommRow. Alex Johnson, Jon Cardwell, Emily Harrington, and Dave Graham also showed up to the event, and we spent the day climbing on the new bouldering walls, teaching clinics, and eating the bar food from downstairs (the taquito stand was probably the best).

photo: Hannah Donnelly
photo: Rod Grossman
photo: Hannah Donnelly
Running the Speed Climbing Clinic
photo: Rod Grossman
photo: Rod Grossman
photo: Rod Grossman
Brian Sweeney trying out the 15m IFSC wall
photo: Rod Grossman
Team 5.10 autograph signing (with Eric Wang)
photo: Rod Grossman

At the end of the day, “Spiderman” Dan Goodwin got to officially open the wall by climbing up to the top of the multipitch wall and cutting the giant 20-foot ribbon and setting off fireworks that lit up Reno’s night sky. It was quite a sight to see.

Yes, that small speck on the right wall is a person.
photo: Alex Johnson

The next day, I headed out to a climbing area called Big Chief for a day of sport climbing with Hannah and some friends from Reno including Lucas Larson, Eric and Jenna Wang, and Hanna Grossman. Lucas and I both sent Totally Chawsome (12c) on our first go, and All Guns Blazing (13a) on our second go! It was great to go outdoors with those guys, can’t wait to get back up to Tahoe and try some harder climbs up there. Steep Climb hopefully soon?

Big Chief
photo: Hannah Donnelly
Getting the beta on All Guns Blazing
photo: Eric Wang
Working the first moves of All Guns Blazing (13a)
photo: Eric Wang
photo: Eric Wang

Next weekend, I will head out to Boulder, Colorado for the IFSC World Cup. It will be the first sport climbing world cup held in the US in over 20 years, and I’m pretty excited to be a part of it! Stay tuned, the competition will be broadcast online at next Saturday and Sunday. Psyched!


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