There’s a new player on the Richmond climbing scene.
Triangle Rock Club opened it’s first climbing gym outside of North Carolina in late March in the former Richmond Athletic Club building at 4700 Thalbro St. It also has gyms in Raleigh, Morrisville and Fayetteville.
But Triangle aims to be more than just a place to practice rock climbing. The 24,000-square foot facility boasts a dedicated yoga room, a 2,400-square foot fitness center (with Rogue rack, cardio machines, free weights, and more), separate sauna and steam rooms and a hot tub. On the climbing side, there is 5,000 square feet of bouldering terrain, “Walltopia” climbing walls with 8,000 square feet of top rope and lead climbing, a Hydraulic Systems wall (which angles to 45 degrees), a premier climbing flooring system from Futurist, and a full retail shop.
And all of that is just Phase 1. Triangle hopes to complete Phase 2 of its build-out before the end of 2018, which will bump the total climbing terrain up to 15,000 square feet. When complete, TRC RVA will be the second largest indoor climbing center in the state of Virginia — second only to Earthtreks Crystal City.
The time is right for the indoor climbing industry, and TRC RVA hopes to take advantage. Industry publication Climbing Business Journal reports that 45 commercial climbing gyms opened in 2017, bringing the total number of commercial climbing gyms in the U.S. to 457. Forty-six gyms announced they will open in 2018.
“What’s allowing our business to grow is that indoor climbing has become more mainstream. Climbing walls have become regular features of college campuses, and rock climbing is now an Olympic sport,” said managing partner Joel Graybeal. “People are drawn to climbing because there’s something special about the experience: it’s community-oriented.”
“Our members are our greatest advocates,” said fellow managing partner, Andrew Kratz. “Climbers bring their friends to visit, and then they’re hooked.”
The industry shows no signs of slowing down, and neither does Triangle Rock Club. With a newly announced fifth location to open in 2018 in a repurposed Walmart shopping center in Durham, NC, Triangle Rock Club is poised to ride the rising tide.