Indoor climbing facility finds a handhold in Golden

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Amy Woodward
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The steel-beam structure on the hill might not look like much just yet, but it will eventually be Golden’s newest, and the state’s largest, indoor climbing facility.

For those who are unsure what the huge structure is, across Highway 6 from the Jefferson County building, at 700 Golden Ridge Road, the planned indoor climbing facility will be called Earth Treks.

It will be the largest indoor wall climbing center in Colorado with a total of 29,000 square feet and 25,000 square feet of that dedicated to climbing walls up to 48 feet high with more than 450-plus routes and boulder obstacles. The facility is planned to open by Thanksgiving of this year.

Earth Treks owner, Chris Warner, has three other Earth Trek facilities in Maryland. He considers himself more of a mountaineer than a rock climber, but has been active in the sport for 34 years. But Earth Treks, Inc. did not begin as an indoor climbing gym, and instead started as a company that lead climbing expeditions to the world’s most challenging and famous climbing sites such as the Himalayas, Mount Kilimanjaro and Ecuador.

Warner has been so active in the sport, he has dabbled in just about all aspects of it at some level, from competitive climbing, ice climbs and taking on K2, the second-largest mountain on earth after Mount Everest.

“We just started growing as opportunities presented themselves,” said Warner, who moved back to Golden in 2010 after spending time in Maryland.

He has been running Earth Treks facilities for 20 years, and says that Golden is a prime location for an indoor climbing center. “I think that there so many climbers here you could put 10 climbing gyms in Denver and you’d be fine,” said Warner. “I think we picked the better spot.”

The center will offer climbing walls for all skill levels, a fitness center and yoga classes. Admission will be based upon either a membership or day pass. “I think people are really going to be ecstatic when they go in there,” said Warner. “There’s lots of climbing options.”

The facility is receiving support from the climbing community in Golden. The Mountaineering Center owned by the American Alpine Club, Outward Bound, and Colorado Mountain Club, staff and club have already heard the buzz of a new indoor climbing facility.

“This is going to be huge for this community because it will be easily accessible,” said Shelby Arnold, director for the Mountaineering Museum. “Golden is such a natural climbing location as it is,” she said.

Staff members at the Mountaineering Center try to climb as much as they can throughout the day, said Arnold. When winter hits, they will be heading over to Earth Treks during their breaks. “You really can’t beat that,” she said.

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