The Future of Climbing… in Atlanta?
In the past five years I’ve traveled to a lot of climbing walls in North America… over two hundred of them. So, I’ve seen all kinds of gyms – from old school wood walls to the newest generation of monster gyms. I’ve worked around the US as a commercial routesetter, spent weeks living in climbing wall angles creating routes for competitions, and often spend a day or two each month instructing routesetting clinics to new and experienced setters alike.
I had the recent pleasure of teaching a USA Climbing clinic to a great group at the biggest new gym in the US – Stone Summit Climbing Center, and… I’ve never seen anything like it. This gym is overwhelmingly huge and marks Atlanta, GA as a new training ground for hard climbing.
The gym soars up to 60 feet tall, and has a lead roof that will allow for nearly 150 feet of sustained climbing. Yes… one hundred and fifty. Routesetting for a facility of this scale is an incredible task, and Stone Summit will likely evolve to have many full-time setters creating mega-routes for the masses. But, it isn’t yet open and at this clinic, I was working with a small group who will be involved in the initial setting of the gym, and it was great to have a mix of experience levels. Routesetting is a great opportunity to learn about climbing movement in general and so I always enjoy working with both beginners and super strong climbers. Everyone can take something away from it that can benefit their own climbing and their ability to create and share the climbing experience with others.
The group included fellow 5.10er Kate Reese. Kate had never set much before, and her challenge was to set a mid-length 5.12 route out the main belly of the gym. She was super psyched to get involved and will likely be setting classics soon.
If you’re in the Southeast and you’re psyched on climbing, Stone Summit will be well worth a visit. It’ll be open in a couple months and is the host gym for the USA Climbing Youth Nationals…
PS. Here’s a training tip for young climbers looking to do well at Nationals… climb steep, and train endurance, endurance, endurance.