They're on top of a mountain.
Not literally, but climbers at Vertical Ventures might as well be.
This climbing gym is the only indoor rock climbing facility anywhere near the Tampa Bay area, and it gets Spidermen — plus women and kids — from all over the state.
Its more than 6,000 square feet of climbing is worth the drive.
"We have a lot of regulars and members that use this as an alternative to the standard gym and workout," co-owner Christian Tartaglia said. "We have people who come in and they've either gone kayaking or been mountain biking or even skydivers who come in and just want to try the climbing."
The original climbing gym that houses Vertical Ventures opened in 1996, but 10 years later, it was falling apart. In 2006, Tartaglia and his two other partners renovated the place, making the climbing routes more smooth to climb and putting in a better-padded floor, even installing air conditioning.
There is no age limit put on climbing at Ventures, but there are also harnesses for little kids, and for the top ropes — the ones that go to the ceiling and nearly horizontal — climbers must be 15 or older.
Another reason Ventures is popular is the adjustable routes, that is, the ledges and grips climbers use. Those let the gym be creative to address climbers' challenges. Ventures also runs the Tampa Bouldering Series, which uses a points system to track climbers' top 5 routes posted. Each color varies in difficulty, and with each attempt it takes to complete the route, more points are deducted.
However, Ventures has one true pull. In an area with little vertical distance, this gym lets anyone get off the ground.
"It's neat that we can bring this to people in a flat state so they can experience mountain climbing," Tartaglia said. "We know we have a quality place to go rock climbing."