Five and a half years ago, a curious Joel Graybeal took an intro to climbing class at the then-new Triangle Rock Club in Morrisville.
Tonight, as one of TRC’s three managing partners, he helped break ground for an expansion that will increase the gym’s climbing space from 9,000 square feet to about 25,000 square feet, and introduce walls 50 feet high, more than twice the height of the current gym’s walls.
Graybeal and Andrew Kratz, who founded the gym with fellow ex-Marine Luis Jauregui, and club director Mike St. Laurent broke ground with the traditional syncopated shoveling of the first scoop of dirt before about 60 gym rats. The new space is expected to open in January.
The gym will feature state-of-the-art walls installed by Eldorado Climbing Walls of Boulder, Colo., which installed the walls in the current gym. In addition to the 16,000 square feet of additional climbing surface, the gym will have a cardio room for yoga, Pilates and spin classes. Kratz said the expansion area, behind the existing gym, will be surveyed next week, the concrete foundation slab will be laid in early August, the steel building should be up by the end of August and Eldorado should be able to start working its wall magic in September.
“They can do about 1,000 square feet of terrain a week,” said Kratz.
Prior to the groundbreaking, climbers checked out artists renderings of the new gym. James Olson Jr. and Charlie Brown were trying to figure out where the rendering of the bouldering area meshed with the rendering of the climbing wall while simultaneously admiring the size of the project.
“Either of you ever climb on a 50-foot indoor wall?” I asked. Twenty-four feet I can handle. But I was trying to picture being twice that high, indoors.
“It’s … intimidating,” said Olson, who’s climbed a 60-foot wall at Atlanta’s Stone Summit Rock Climbing Gym. After thinking about it a moment, he added, “and it’s exhilarating.”
We’ll get a chance to see for ourselves in January.