Last weekend I was in Reno for the grand opening of one of the most unique climbing facilities I have ever seen. The building, CommRow hosts the world tallest outdoor climbing wall. Formally a casino called The Fitzgerald, CommRow renovated the building into an entertainment facility complete with multiple restaurants, bars, coffee shops and even a venue for music. On the second floor there is large room filled with two high quality freestanding boulders built by Vertical Solutions, the same company who constructed the walls for the UBC and ABS National competitions. The lead wall was designed and constructed by Entre Prises and is 160 feet tall making it one of the largest climbing walls in the world. To say the least, I was impressed!
I arrived midday on Friday and met up with Alex Johnson. We both had no idea what to expect. John Blomquist, head route setter and manager of both the older gym in Reno and the new CommRow picked us up from the airport and drove us directly to the building. He introduced us to many of the workers and volunteers, most of whom were still working hard to prepare for the official opening on Saturday.
The next day Five Ten's Dave Graham, Alex Johnson, Josh Levin and myself gave multiple climbing clinics with Emily Harrington to the eager masses. It was surprising to me how many people showed up to the event. I have always thought in the past that Reno probably does not have a large climbing community but by the looks of it I was wrong. Further, it was awesome to see many people who knew nothing about climbing, I would guess that more than half of the crowd were first timers. The people seemed excited and engaged the whole time which made my job extremely satisfying. I love this stuff! In the end, the event was extremely successful. We connected strongly with local community and received great hospitality from the CommRow employees and the Reno crew! Thanks for the good times Reno! and big thanks to Five Ten for making it happen!