With only one rock climbing gym in Kitsap County, owner Michele Lang of Island Rock Gym on Bainbridge Island is close to opening a new fitness center and bouldering gym in Bremerton, offering a more centralized location for interested participants.
The new facility dubbed Insight Climbing & Movement will set up shop at 2315 Burwell St., near the gate of Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton. The 7,500 square foot space, 3,000 of which is devoted to climbing terrain, will include a large fitness and strength training studio for activities including yoga, pilates, and aerial skills.
Lang opened Island Rock Gym in 2013 and currently serves as Kitsap County’s only gym that offers rock climbing. Ever since Bremerton’s Vertical World closed in 2011, climbing enthusiasts from Bremerton and Silverdale have had to travel to Bainbridge Island. With the new gym in the works, Lang is hoping to relieve that burden for many people.
“Over the years we’ve had plenty of customers who have requested something over in Bremerton,” she said. “When they (Vertical World) closed down they kind of left behind a climbing community. When climbing becomes part of your lifestyle, you really miss it when you can’t do it. We really want to enable people to make this part of their lifestyle so they can do it two to three times a week if they want to.”
Rock climbing will occupy the main floor, while the lower floor will be devoted to the fitness center. One of the more prominent features is the “treadwall,” which is like a treadmill on a climbing wall. Lang describes it as “climbing vertically but it keeps rotating around.” She also noted visitors will be able to change the speed and incline, just like a treadmill.
A co-working space and lounge area will also be offered, as well as a birthday party room with kids climbing. Lang indicated a shared membership will be offered for both gyms, although pricing details have not been set yet.
According to Lang, bouldering is described as climbing at a lower height with no belay.
“However far you climb up, you either have to climb back down or jump down off the wall,” she said.
12 to 14-inch padded foam floors will be also be incorporated to aid climbers in case of a fall, Lang noted.
“There’s a lot of industry standards that we follow, it’s very much an engineered process.”
New to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be the sport of rock climbing, which Lang hopes will garner more interest in the activity locally.
“I think when that happens, we anticipate that we’ll see kind of a spike in awareness around rock climbing and that people will be really excited to go try it,” she said.
As far as plans for future expansion in the region, Lang said she is focusing on getting Insight Climbing & Movement up and running first, but didn’t rule out that possibility down the road.
“We’ll be watching the market and see where the demand is. I think it’s certainly possible that there’s more to come.”
Insight Climbing & Movement is expected to open spring of 2020.