In rock climbing, there’s a brief yet crucial dialogue between the climber and the partner belaying them that occurs before all else. It starts with a simple question from the climber: “On belay?” If the partner is ready to hold the climber’s safety in their hands, they respond with a simple “belay on.” When the climber intends to begin ascending, it’s announced with “climbing,” to which the belay partner acknowledges with “climb on.”
Announced at the beginning of the year, the second Inner Peaks Climbing Center is nearly clear to “climb on” in the South End area. For those of you new to climbing, and even those intimately familiar with the original Monroe Road location toward Matthews, prepare to be impressed.
The highest walls top out at 40 feet, nearly twice the height afforded at the original space. For those wanting to boulder (climbing on significantly lower walls sans ropes), significant space has been dedicated to this, with walls here a more manageable 14 feet high.
Wall construction was handled by Walltopia, a Bulgarian-based company with global reach in climbing surface construction. Pieces were designed and shipped piecemeal, with a crew traveling over to “bolt it all together like a giant erector set.”
A budget of around $120,000 was designated for climbing holds alone, providing around 10,000 differently shaped and sized pieces for climbers to seek during their ascent. Routes on the walls will be changed quarterly, affording variation to frequent visitors (“the challenges change even though the walls don’t”). Color-coded holds offer climbers easy recognition of what’s part of each set route and what’s considered off-limits.
Bouldering “problems” will number between 90 and 130, offering an array of options to climbers of varying skill levels. Roped climbing options are also plentiful, with between 90 and 100 of these routes. For advanced climbers versed in lead-rope climbing, all routes in the gym are lead-climbable.
For those seeking a great workout on ground level, there’s a separate fitness room, replete with a traditional assortment of treadmills, ellipticals, spin bikes, etc. for a complete exercise experience. Yogis will have a space as well, with more details on in-house classes to come.
Currently, construction is complete and the climbing routes have been affixed. The only thing delaying the facility’s opening is the city’s final inspection. Once doors open, gym members will have the place to themselves for a full week before it opens to the general public.
Day passes run $18, with monthly memberships offering unlimited climbing costing $69. Membership is good for admission into both Inner Peaks locations. There’s a current promotion waiving the typical $99 joining fee for those signing up before the grand opening. More details can be found here.
Per a recent newsletter update, Inner Peaks could be open as soon as Thursday. Climb on, Charlotte.