We have been working hard to get the gym up and running and the end is in sight. It's hard to believe that just a few months ago we were cutting away at styrofoam to create the vision...
And over time that vision has become an amazing wall that we can't wait to climb...
Getting all the permits and paperwork in place took longer than we expected (doesn't it always?), but once they were in place the gym started to transform before our eyes. The process has been fascinating to watch unfold.
We started with the styrofoam which then turned into steel frames (walls). Ten walls in all were trucked to the gym. This is the future Overhang...
Before the walls were raised, we measured and cut plywood sheets to fit like a puzzle.
We drew maps on the plywood sheets so that when we removed them from the steel frames, we could put the puzzle back together again.
After taking all the plywood off, the next step was to drill a gazillion holes in every piece and then pound T-nuts for the climbing holds. All the holes give options for creating interesting and challenging routes on the walls.
The day that the permits came through we scheduled the raising of the walls. The process was fascinating, smooth, and efficient. Within two days the warehouse suddenly started to look like a rock climbing gym.
Once the walls were up, we started putting our puzzle back together. The ten stacks of plywood became the surface of the climbing walls.
When you walk in the gym, the first wall you come to is the "Birthday Wall" which is a big slab easy enough for an absolute beginner or a young child. As you walk along the length of the gym, you will see that each of the ten walls has its own personality. There are walls like the Birthday Wall that will help develop climbing confidence for anyone. And there are walls like the Overhang that will challenge the most skilled climbers.
For the most part, putting up the plywood was smooth, but there were a lot of little adjustments that had to be made along the way. There was cutting around pipes, filling in gaps, putting up the edges of the walls, etc.
Each piece of plywood is SUPER secured to the steel with a screw every four inches - which means A LOT of screws! This week we have had former climbing team members volunteer their time to come help secure the walls - THANK YOU!!
Where are the walls now? Almost done ... They are painted with deck paint and sand. The edges between the different walls are all filled in. (There was a lot of fitting wood in, cutting, and sanding to complete the walls.)
What's left to do? Not much! We have to fill the cracks in with concrete, add another coat of paint, and set the routes. Then we climb!
The rest of the gym has been progressing as well. In fact, we are being held up waiting for work to be done by the landlords. The bathroom is a room (finally) but doesn't have sheetrock or anything that is important for a bathroom - like a toilet.
The non-climbing walls are almost done. Again, we are waiting for the landlords to get their work done before we can completely finish. They are suppose to finish the sheetrock on Saturday, so Sunday will be a big painting day.
Other than that... we're almost there! Once the painting is done this weekend, we can put up the trampolines. We are in the process of building the front desk and some other random finishing touches, but it won't be long before the doors of Challenge Rocks are open to the public. Fingers crossed that the permits get all their signatures quickly and easily. The instant we are signed off - the doors will open.
The first board went up on the wall today, but the goal is to have them all up by the end of the weekend. We will keep you updated!
This is the gym the day before the walls went up. It's hard to believe that in less than 24 hours, these piles of steel would stand together and tall to form our climbing walls.
Today was the big day and all the walls are now standing. We still have a day of welding left, but after that we can start putting the plywood up. Then paint. Then holds. Then CLIMB!