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Tampa to get an indoor rock climbing gym soon

It’ll be the second facility in the Tampa Bay region for rock climbers to visit.
 
Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, in Tampa on Monday, April 10, 2023.
Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, in Tampa on Monday, April 10, 2023. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published April 17, 2023

A rock climbing gym is coming soon to Gandy Boulevard.

Massachusetts-based Central Rock Gym is set to open its first Florida location out of Tampa in April, said the gym’s general manager Reih Baldwin.

“We’re really just looking to expand our horizons,” Baldwin said. “There’s a lot of collegiate teams in the area and a lot of growth and development happening throughout the industry as a whole. And this just seemed like the logical next step.”

The rock climbing gym doesn’t have an exact opening date yet as it waits for a green light from city officials that it passed inspections, Baldwin said.

Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, is opening in Tampa, Monday, April 10, 2023 in Tampa.
Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, is opening in Tampa, Monday, April 10, 2023 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

But once open, it’ll be the second indoor rock climbing facility operating in the Tampa Bay area after Vertical Ventures located in downtown St. Petersburg.

The main difference between the two is that Central Rock Gym will focus more on bouldering, a form of rock climbing on 10- to 15-foot walls that doesn’t require a harness or rope. Rock climbers would fall from a safe height onto a padded surface. The gym has 400-feet of linear climbing, including several auto-belay tracks, where guests are attached to a chord.

There’s been more interest in climbing since the sport debuted in the 2020 Summer Olympics, Baldwin said. More than 5.6 million people participated in indoor rock climbing in 2021, up 2.7% since its Olympic debut, according to a report from the Outdoor Industry Association.

Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, is opening in Tampa, Monday, April 10, 2023 in Tampa.
Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, is opening in Tampa, Monday, April 10, 2023 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

“It’s sort of started in a more niche environment and now it’s becoming more widely known,” Baldwin said. “It allowed us to continue expanding and providing those facilities for different areas in the climbing community.”

The 20,000-square-foot rock climbing gym will also have a yoga studio and fitness gym with treadmills, weights and several interactive training walls for climbing such as the MoonBoard and campus board.

Visitors can buy day passes starting at $25 which doesn’t include gear rentals. Kids pricing starts at $15. There are memberships with unlimited climbing— which include access to any Central Rock Gym location in the U.S. primarily spread throughout the northeast and an Orlando location on the way — starting at $89. Members also get free fitness and yoga classes and a monthly guest pass for newcomers. Central Rock Gym in Tampa also plans to offer climbing courses.

Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, is opening in Tampa, Monday, April 10, 2023 in Tampa.
Central Rock Gym, a new rock climbing business plus fitness and yoga studio, is opening in Tampa, Monday, April 10, 2023 in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

Three weeks after the gyms opens, so visitors have enough time to try out all the walls, a rotation of changing rock climbing paths will begin, Baldwin said. By every 10 weeks, all the paths will be swapped with new ones.

Baldwin said Central Rock Gym aims to be a place in Tampa for the rock climbing community to come together and show newcomers how rock climbers are supportive of each other.

“When you’re on the wall, you are only competing with your abilities and your own strengths,” Baldwin said. “That lends the sport to being a super positive and supportive environment for climbers of all levels.”