Issue 2 October 20, 2015
Bringing Climbing to NE Denver
When we set out with the idea of bringing a state of the art full service climbing facility to NE Denver, the driving force was the idea of bringing what we saw as a much needed amenity to our neighborhood. The idea for us initiated over two years ago as Kim and I drove past Central Park along MLK and spotted what, at the time, was a relatively rare site — a cluster of 5 teenagers. After a quick double take (you would have thought we had just spotted the long extinct dodo bird by the shocked look on our faces) we laughed at ourselves recognizing that in just a few years time, this rare species would likely over run the then teenage free Stapleton neighborhood.
We quickly recognized that the large population of little kids riding bikes up
and down alley ways all summer long was going to quickly outgrow their fascination with backyard bouncy houses, afternoons at the pool waiting for adult swim to be over, and play dates at a local pocket park. The question we asked ourselves was WHAT these kids, soon to become teenagers, were going to do to entertain themselves — hopefully in a way that didn’t end in either personal injury or damage to property. At this point it dawned on me that my teen age years were shaped by time spent with my friends playing Frisbee golf and hacky sack, eating at Taco Bell, (hey, 6 tacos for $6 was a deal a 16 year old boy could not beat…and Chipotle did not exists back then), mountain biking along the Sandia foothills, and learning to rock climb.
Climbing started for me when I was 15. My friends and I had our introduction to the sport at a climbing gym in the back of a gymnastics school in Albuquerque (Duke City Gymnastics).
Our later high school years were defined from that first experience in a small, dimly lit, warehouse gym. Climbing was extreme, it was athletic, it was a constant challenge…most important, it was a way for my friends and I to hang out together, to socialize, to create memories and to tell stories. Climbing lead us on camping trips, adventures in parks, and ultimately for me was the motivation to select Colorado State University for college (where Kim and I met).
After graduating from CSU, as is typical, our lives filled with post graduate education, careers, and a growing family (did I mention we have 3 boys). Additionally, our choice to live in Stapleton created a geographic barrier to making rock climbing a regular part of our lives difficult. Kim and I recognized that the sport that was central to the start of our relationship had been missing from our lives. It was this hole coupled with a recognition of a community need that has motivated us to bring Übergrippen to NE Denver.
Though it was a group of teenagers that provided the initial inspiration, we see Übergrippen filling a void in the entire community. Our hope is to bring the outdoor lifestyle that makes many people want to live in Colorad
o closer to our NE Denver community that is on a daily basis isolated (largely by Denver traffic) from the mountain lifestyle. We will make climbing accessible and appealing to all. This includes first time climbers all the way through the most seasoned veteran. Young children will have a room dedicated to little climbers with a friendly theme and routes designed for smaller people. Expert climbers will find long steep walls with first rate route setting. Everyone will find climbs that are both fun and challenging.
We see climbing as a sport that brings people together. It is a sport that allows individuals to perform at their own personal level while at the same time spending time with someone of potentially vastly different skill level. This allows entire families or social groups to engage in the activity together.
Our hope in opening Übergrippen is that we create a community around climbing. For us, this means that we
- Make it easily accessible to the NE Denver Community — by bike, bus, foot, skateboard, scooter, or car.
- Design a space that people want to spend time; not a dimly lit warehouse, but an open air sunlit facility.
- Tie together indoor and outdoor spaces giving our members places to gather, sit, relax all while being surrounded by incredible climbing
- Recognize that providing community space to allow socialization is equal in importance as providing unsurpassed climbing.
- Host community events and local groups.
- Create an environment where parents feel comfortable sending their children (whether they are young kids going to a summer camp or teenagers needing a place to spend time with their friends)
Keep following our story to learn more about the Übergrippen guiding principles.