by Sarah Shaffer

Dahlia doing some good reaching while Sarah (mom) belays.

An exciting moment for the Wenatchee Valley is happening right now! Located only a stone’s throw from Walla Walla Park and the Town Toyota Center, Riverfront Rock Gym celebrated their grand opening this weekend. Riverfront Rock Gym offers a great opportunity for everyone from experienced climbers to novices, youthful seniors to energetic youths, to check it out and learn the ropes.

The facility is state of the art and has modern climbing features that very few other climbing gyms in the U.S. have. The high walls, incredible details, amazing use of natural light and heavy use of natural features and large bump outs creates an indoor climbing experience that a city ten times the size of Wenatchee would be lucky to have. I left today feeling supremely lucky to have such dedicated climbers as owners and builders of the new facility.

There are monthly memberships, year long memberships, day passes and punch cards. Kids ages 4 and under are FREE if they are with a paying adult (usually their parent or grandparent). There is a dedicated kids climbing area with routes specifically designed for the little guy’s and girl’s shorter arms and legs. Additionally, the gym offers auto belay stations* for an individual climber without a belay partner present, which allows parents or odd numbered groups to rotate belay duty.

It was a great day for climbing, socializing with friends, meeting new people and snacking at the café inside the gym. The atmosphere today felt like a big community block party. Watching the snow falling outside the enormous windows, I couldn’t help but think how amazing this is. It then occurred to me though, that I now have no excuses for being out of climbing shape when the snow melts and I find myself outside against natural rock.

Where is waldo? There are two climbers on the wall. The one in the purple is Sarah Shaffer. The walls are so tall!

The climbing gym will offer climbing classes for beginners to teach them the ropes and a kids club for aspiring alpinists. Cost for our family for a monthly membership was around $110. The bonus of a monthly membership is if in the summer you would rather climb outside, you can put a hold on your membership for $8 a month for individuals and $12 for families. Not bad at all. You can rent or buy all the gear needed for indoor rock climbing at the gym. Please see www.riverfrontrockgym.com for more information.

(*) Auto Belay Station-An auto belay station is an automatic belay device that eliminates the need for a human belayer. The auto belay takes up the slack as a climber ascends and safely controls the descent when the climber gets to the top of the climb or falls.

 

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