We've made a technological breakthrough. The silos of Climb Up in Oklahoma City are now climate controlled. This is the largest investment in a single project at the climbing silos and arguably the best improvement to date. Climb Up in OKC is the first silo climbing gym - and to the best of our knowledge, the first re-purposed silo facility in the world to be retro-fitted with a geothermal climate control system.
While the dream of cooling and heating the silos has been around for years, it was never believed to be feasible given the scale of the project, the cost, and the practicality. Anyone that visited the silos in the early years can recall the stifling heat inside during the summer months and the bone-chilling cold of winter. Every year we dealt with "temperature issue" in various ways; in-room wall fans, infra-red heaters, space heaters, exhaust fan units, and portable A/C units. Going back to the earliest years (circa 2000) there were meat-locker clear-plastic curtains that hung in two doorways between the front office area and the main gym. It was an attempt at containing some tempered air in one portion of the silos. Problems persisted with keeping the air captured between those plastic partitions - especially when sweaty climbers moved through them like cars through wash shammies in a car wash. The clear plastic turned greasy and nasty.
In 2008 a large overhead exhaust fan was installed in the upper attic-house area which helped draw air through the silos. Air movement tended to be the best cooling feature but in the July and August heat the air would be 95 to 100 degrees - so it felt like climbing in a convection oven. Unfortunately the exhaust fan did nothing for the humidity.
Climb Up began addressing the feasibility in late Spring 2016 searching for companies that took our vision seriously. In several cases a "heat and air company" would visit the silos for an initial survey and not return our calls after the first visit. (As an aside, the silos tend to have that effect on contractors.) Perhaps fearing that there was no way they could accomplish such a massive project or realizing that the cost would be beyond our budget, we simply wouldn't hear from them again.
Through our own research it became apparent that geothermal was going to be the most likely solution in terms of cost and energy efficiency. Still, we questioned: was the structure even suited to such an application? Would it work once installed? Moving down the list of companies we found ComfortWorks. They were intrigued by the silos as an engineering problem and were eager to solve it.
The planning and engineering phase lasted several months and involved multiple surveys, on-sight visits, and brain-storming. There were a few times we thought the project might be stalled but we continued to work through the various issues. Trying to work within the confines of the existing concrete structure was a challenge. Figuring out the vent arrangements, air-flow through the tubes, location of the well-yard (for the 400' deep geo-pipes) and return-air system required ingenuity. Finally, we reached a decent, workable plan - arriving at a concept that allowed us to use the silo tubes themselves as the ductwork. With this multiple HVAC units are housed in the lower level/basement along with duct-work that is connected to each silo using existing entombed grain chutes. Air is circulated up into the tubes from below and drawn upwards via a the now retro-fitted upper fan unit then recirculated down through the middle silo. The circular air flow keeps the air dehumidified and balanced.
All of this would have not been possible without the incredible support and cooperation of our landlord. We were able to work with him to arrange a deal and help get the project funded. Installation work began in January 2017.
It took months of work but the system was activated in late June 2017 - the units were turned on for the first time and cool air was pumped into the silos. It was an amazing phenomenon to feel a difference in a space that had become so familiar for decades. Now we are well into July, the outside ambient temperature hovers around 100 degrees by mid-day but stepping inside the front door of the silos one is immediately greeted with a wash of cool air. For those visiting the silos for the first time, they'll think nothing of it - feels the same as stepping into the mall. In some sense, that's the point, for new visitors to not notice. People have come to expect all interior environments to be climate controlled - but for those of us that remember "how it used to be," they'll appreciate the difference.
At this point in the season we cannot yet report about what it will be like in winter, but having experienced the distinct difference it's made this summer we're hopefully it will have the same effect in the colder months. We are already looking forward to get cooling down outside so we can crank up the heat inside and see what it's like.
Geothermal being installed at the silos.
NOTICE FOR WEEK OF DEC 5 - 11
In preparation for USA Climbing Regionals Championship on Saturday, December 10 Climb Up in Norman will have the following closures:
- Wednesday afternoon (12/7) - all bouldering areas and speed wall will be stripped of holds and these areas closed.
- Thursday (12/8) - routesetting for Regionals in event areas including all bouldering and speed wall
- Friday (12/9) - Climb Up in Norman will be CLOSED
- Saturday (12/10) - Closed for Regionals. Spectators are welcome but viewing space will be very limited with the number of competitors and families attending.
- Sunday (12/11) - Reopen for regular hours and areas. Bouldering areas will begin re-set so there will be some areas closed.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we prepare for this momentous event. In the meantime, Climb Up in OKC will honor all Single-Gym memberships (for Norman) during closure times this week.
If you haven't seen it yet a new video featuring Climb Up was recently released and has since received an overwhelmingly positive response.
Shot, directed and edited by Jay Sheldon, the story depicts the evolution of Aaron and Lisa Gibson's journey from climbers to gym owners. Also featured are family, friends, fellow climbers, and gym members from the local community who are part of the continuing story of climbing in Oklahoma.
The documentary has been featured on the Climbing Business Journal and continues to generate recognition.
We are excited to announce that Sport Climbing will make it's Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020. The announcement was made on August 3 during an International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Rio. The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) President Marco Scolaris stated, "We are so happy that Sport Climbing will be participating in the Games ofTokyo."
While climbing has increased in popularity and climbing gyms have become more mainstream being recognized and accepted at the Olympic level has always proven difficult.
Now that climbing is at an Olympic level we think that will pave the way for climbing to be more accepted at a high school and collegiate level which result in scholarship opportunities that advance talented climbers to higher levels.
So what does that mean for us here in Oklahoma and at Climb Up?
We have always supported the advancement of climbing in its many varieties from sport climbing, bouldering, speed climbing, ice climbing and even guided outdoor climbing. In terms of training, we will continue to offer challenging terrain for climbers of all levels and abilities - from those just beginning to those at the leading edge of the sport. Climb Up is a proud supporter of the Oklahoma Climbing Team Association (OCTA), a 501(c)3 organization committed to advancing youth climbers in Oklahoma.
Now with the Olympics as a goal for young climbers we expect the interest in climbing to grow beyond what we've ever seen before. It's a great time to be a climber!
We re-opened the Climb Up OKC silos location to great fanfare on the morning of Saturday, March 5, 2016. The crowd in the parking lot was a good indicator of the excitement of climbers eager to check out the renovations. The place has been completely repainted, cleaned, holds scrubbed and routes reset. There is a brand new front entry, front check-in, pro-shop, and lounge room. We have a new training room and a new snack area. All the ropes are new, there are bunch of new holds, and other equipment. And while all of this has been accomplished in a mere 8 weeks of work we are still in the process of remodeling several key areas; the bouldering room is being completely redone, the training room is getting some new devices, and the kitchen area is getting a brand new drinking fountain - yes, folks - a new drinking fountain with bottle refill!
We have a couple of re-certified auto-belays in place and are in the process of adding additional units. And perhaps the biggest news, the roof is slated to be replaced this Spring, weather pending, of course.
We are on track to have not only more routes but the best routes that have ever been set in this facility. Plus, we are expanding our specialized training program to include cool stuff like multi-pitch climbing, rope ascending (aka jugging), and even aid climbing for those ready for advanced techniques.
We have just scratched the surface and what is to come. Climb Up OKC is on track to offer the highest level of professional climbing training in one of the most unique facilities in the country.
We now have multi-gym passes that allow you to climb at both our Norman location and the OKC silos. So you can boulder and climb the steeps to your heart's content and then build the endurance and experience the exposure of climbing at great heights in OKC.
Thank you for climbing with us.
Climb Up Expanding to Silos in Downtown OKC
Climb Up is excited to announce our expansion into the silos in downtown OKC.
Climb Up OKC will pair the unique experience of climbing in a grain elevator with the same level of professionalism, expertise, and passion that we’ve established with our Norman location.
Our vision is and always has been to provide the best possible climbing experience for the wide variety of people that want to rock climb. Whether it’s someone’s first time climbing or an expert that’s been climbing for decades, we want the experience to be memorable and enjoyable. Our certified climbing instructors, climbing guides, and routesetters are passionate about what they do and are committed to making your climbing experience a quality one.
We will continue to offer a wide variety of youth programs, classes, instruction, guiding, groups, team-buildings, seasonal camps, and birthday parties. More detailed information will be available soon.
As of January 1, 2016 the silos are temporarily closed for renovations. Our goal is to re-open in March 2016 with a renewed and vibrant climbing space. In the meantime, you can experience climbing in our Norman facility which is open Monday-Friday 10am-10pm; Saturday 10am-8pm; and Sunday 11am-7pm.
It was just one year ago today that Climb Up opened its doors to the public. We would like to thank everyone who has joined the gym as members, visited the gym as a day pass user, had their first experience climbing with us, or enjoyed a birthday, or team-building, or group outing here. We always envisioned Climb Up to become a part of the climbing community, but moreover, it's been the climbing community that has brought that sense of home.
As with any new business, year one was a series of ups and downs. We hope you will stay with us for year two and beyond. We have so much stuff planned for the future. Thank you for climbing with us.
~aaron and lisa
We are in the process of wrapping up after a busy Summer season. Summer camps, kids clubs, member's only climbing comp, ladies night, and so much more - it was a great Summer and we thank you for that!
We are looking forward to a fun Fall climbing season as a new school semester begins. If you haven't already heard, we offer a Student Semester climbing membership for those that want to have full access to the climbing gym during opening hours. The semester membership is good through December 18, 2015.
We are continuing our after-school Kids Club and there are still openings available. The plan is to keep adding sections of the club as much as we need to.
We also have a daytime kids climbing school for home school kids. Many of those spots are already filled but there could be a couple if you are interested. The kids climbing school is a 15-week program, it's one hour per week and costs $155.
We also hosted the Oklahoma Climbing Team Association team tryouts. The Oklahoma Climbing Team practices at Climb Up three days a week and is a competitive youth climbing team. You can find more information about them on their website at http://okclimbingteam.org.
We are already gearing up for the Fall outdoor climbing season. Outdoor climbing trips will commence at the end of September so call us to reserve your spot today.
Stay tuned for many more events and updates as we move into Fall.
Thank you for climbing with us! Thank you for accepting us into the community with open arms! And thank you to all of our members, family, friends, and supporters!
The Climb Up Family
The harness; a climber's main point of connection to the rope and part of the primary safety system that keeps one off the ground during a fall or controlled descent. But the harness is an often overlooked piece of climbing equipment. How many times have you gotten to the gym or crag, pulled out the ol' harness, shaken the chalk off it, untangled the leg loops and pulled it on without a second thought?
Many climbers at Climb Up have and use their own climbing gear.Climbing in your own harness is your choice and a risk you assume when you climb but we want you to be aware of what gear manufacturers recommend. While most harnesses are in good condition we do see plenty of well-worn harnesses. We sometimes see harnesses that are 10 years old or older - well outside of the manufacturer's recommendation. It's not unusual for one of our staff to ask, "Hey, can we check your harness?" After a visual inspection if we feel that your harness, because of its age or wear is in need of replacement we will offer you one of our harnesses to use free of charge. We've had some people take offense to this because they feel, "It's my harness, of course it's okay."
Here are some basic guidelines to follow when considering your harness lifespan and wear:
- You should inspect your harness for wear before each use. It is important that your harness be in good condition. Any damage to a harness means you should retire it immediately.
- Most manufacturers recommend a 3 year use life of a harness (Black Diamond and Petzl included) and this will vary depending on use. If you climb in your harness frequently then the lifespan of your harness may be much less. If a harness has been stored appropriately for 10 years, you should still retire it. Just because you haven't used it doesn't mean it's "new."
- If a harness has been involved in a severe fall, but is not obviously damaged, it still may be ready for retirement. If you have any doubts about the dependability of your harness, retire it and get a new one.
- Buy your harness NEW. We do not recommend buying any life-safety equipment (which climbing gear is) on eBay because you do not know the history of the gear. Is it really worth saving a few bucks on something that your life depends on? You can get a new climbing harness for as little as about $40! Here at Climb Up we offer a Gear Up Package that includes harness, shoes, chalk bag and chalk for a discounted price.
- Once you retire a piece of gear destroy it so it is not used again.
Climbers have a tendency to get emotionally attached to their gear. But don't lose sight of the fact that gear wears out and has a limited lifespan. Just because it's your special harness doesn't mean it's going to last forever. Give that ancient harness a nice burial ceremony, cut it in half, and buy a new harness. And if you've read through this entire post and pondering the history of your harness and questioning if it's still in good shape, chances are, it's probably time to start looking for a new harness.
At Climb Up we believe that physical activity is important in order to improve health (mentally and physically), prevent disease and disability and enhance quality of life. So we were a little disheartened to see the 2015 American Fitness Index (AFI) report by the ACSM which ranked OKC-metro 48th out of the 50 for fitness. The American Fitness Index assesses cities based on a number of factors including health behaviors, physical activity, proximity to parks, chronic health problems, recreational facilities, walkability, and more. The overall picture is that the OKC-metro (which includes the surrounding towns of Moore, Norman, Edmond, Midwest City, etc.) falls short in all categories. Because Oklahoma values its persona through business, growth, tourism, and quality of life - this should be a call to action. Oklahoma has done little, by comparison, to emphasize the importance of getting fit and staying fit. Instead we've adopted a policy of dealing with the symptoms of our unhealthy society rather than address the core elements that lead us to being unfit. Priorities need to change to increase community-wide fitness, walkability, access and improvements to parks and recreation areas and rewarding those companies, organizations and schools who invest in fitness.
It was Ben Franklin that said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and that adage applies to improving fitness in Oklahoma. It is more cost effective and more ethical to put energy into improving the foundational components of fitness; facilities, physical education, green spaces, parks and health promotion programs. Working towards greater opportunities for physical activity, interweaving urban spaces with walking paths (not boulevards), making walkers and riders safer, and providing greater acceptance and coverage of preventive health measures makes the people of Oklahoma more healthy, more happy, and the state that much more attractive.
As Oklahomans we must make take personal responsibility and make it a priority to be active. At the business level we must make it a priority beyond the "bottom line" to invest in people through corporate wellness initiatives, active time during the work day, physical fitness team-building, and preventive health programs.
Though there are not many ways to spin this report in a positive light I think it is important to point out that the opportunity for improvements is vast. When you're at the bottom there is no where to go but up!
We'd be remiss if we did not point out the incredible workout you get from rock climbing. It is both mentally and physically stimulating. The challenge is unique all its own. And because everyone approaches a climb in their own unique way, the resulting exercise is all YOU. Climbing involves problem solving, visualization, core strength, and breath. In essence, it is truly a full body workout. Climbing has the added benefit of being a social atmosphere that allows for interaction with others to achieve a common goal. Finally, the pursuit of climbing can become a lifetime activity that leads you to the most amazing adventures in places as close as southwestern Oklahoma or as far away as the Himalaya.
Following are the results http://americanfitnessindex.org/city/oklahoma-city-ok/
On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 6 we were watching the weather closely and made the call to close early due to an approaching supercell. We are glad that we made the right call and got everyone out of the building in time. Climb Up was hit by the tornado that crossed through the north side of Norman. The same tornado also hit several businesses to the SW and NE of us including the Johnson Controls factory just across the way from us. Thankfully no one was killed by the tornado that went through Norman. However, we did sustain some damage to our building which resulted in property damage and left us with a lot of soaking wet foam pads. Climb Up staff took action that evening immediately after the first cell. We mopped up water, relocated pads, placed buckets to catch water, and covered up holes in the roof and the missing garage door. The power was out and there was a lightning storm going so we had to wait for the optimal time to work outside. Soon after another torrential rain and hail front passed through that left us even more water to deal with.
Thursday we were closed to climbing. We had several volunteers show up to help move pads, mop, and help secure the building to the rains that were to come later in the day. We really want to thank those three who help with all the labor. A huge thank you goes to Natty and her family who reached out to help provide fans, tarps, and sandbags.
It's Friday and we are getting ready for another round of storms this afternoon and tomorrow as well. We are in the process of replacing the garage door and getting things back in order in the hopes of being able to open this afternoon. We still have a lot of wet insulation and some holes in the roof but we should be able to open regardless. That said, more severe weather has been forecasted for this afternoon and Saturday so we will keep an eye on it.
We hope that when we do open we'll see you all back here for some climbing. This has been tough on us personally and on our business so we appreciate all the well-wishes and support. We're ready to get back to climbing as much as you are.
One of the things that we pride ourselves in here at Climb Up is our level of customer service and professionalism. It's not enough for us to just be climbers and to have a lifetime of climbing experiences to draw on. We know the value that climbing holds; its a tool for learning, a confidence builder, a means to become physically and emotionally fit, a personal challenge, and the key to the wider natural world of climbing. Because of all of these things, we take climbing seriously. Part of being a climbing professional is continuing education and certification to demonstrate a standard of knowledge - and we want to be able to pass what we've learned on to you. To that end, our outdoor guided trips are lead by an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor. We offer classes in top-roping, anchor building, traditional lead climbing, and more. In the indoor environment we are Climbing Wall Association (CWA) Certified Climbing Wall Instructors. We offer technique classes, lead classes, and private instruction. We also have a Climbing Wall Instructor Provider to teach the CWI certification course for those that want to bring a level of professionalism to their own programs.
Feel free to give us a call to inquire about classes and training.
USA CLIMBING CERTIFIED ROUTESETTERS
Climb Up hosted a USA Climbing (USAC) Routesetter Level 1 clinic on 3/15 - 3/16. John Muse, a Level 5 USAC Setter and owner of Stone Moves in Houston was the instructor of the 2-day course. During the course Climb Up setters worked on setting fundamentals, techniques, and challenges.
Climb UP now employs USA Climbing Certified (Level 1) Routesetters. We anticipate moving on in the setting process in order to achieve additional certification levels with the goal of being able to host higher level competitions; Regionals and Divisionals.
The goal has always been to emphasize a level of professionalism in the world and offer the best climbing experience to our members, youth climbers, and the public at large.
Special thanks to John Muse for presenting a valuable course.
This Saturday marks the 7th installment of the Norman Bouldering Competition, the re-launch of the original home-grown competition series, and the FIRST competition at Climb Up. In preparation for the event there will be a few things going on at the gym that you will notice. Thursday night we will close-off the competition wall and begin taking all the holds down. Setting for the competition will commence on Friday and continue until the routeseters are finished late Friday night or early Saturday morning. The competition area will remain closed through Saturday until competition time. We will be closing EARLY - at 5:00 pm on Saturday, 2/21 to normal climbing operations.
Spectators are welcome to stay and watch the competition. If you want to climb in the competition you can still sign up.
Here it is, the complete time-lapse (or at least as much as we could get) of the construction of the Climb Up climbing walls. Work on the climbing walls began on October 30, 2014 and was completed by November 22, 2014. The walls were built by Walltopia, the world leader in climbing wall design and construction. The crew worked diligently to complete the project by the pre-determined deadline. http://youtu.be/XhpXjrORc1k
Yes, you heard it right. After all the hype, Climb Up officially opened it's doors on December 6, 2014 to a throng of climbers eager to try out the new walls. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with people loving the routes, the walls, the boulders. All in all it's been good. Today we welcomed the Norman Chamber of Commerce for our official ribbon cutting ceremony. Present at the event were community leaders and members of the Climb Up family; people who made this venture possible.
The grand opening celebration event is scheduled for Saturday, December 20th. More on that event to come!
In the meantime, we would love for you to come down and check out the gym, do some climbing, take a yoga class - just enjoy the experience. Hope to see you soon.