A new spot for Tampa explorers to climb (with air conditioning) is opening soon. Central Rock Gym will be a brand new fixture at 4479 Gandy Boulevard, with an anticipated opening timeline in late April/early May. The team behind the indoor adventure concept aims to provide their members and visitors with access to world class indoor rock climbing and fitness facilities.
In addition to climbing, their sprawling gyms help “build strong communities through their youth programs, member events, meetups, competitions, and fundraising events,” according to Central Rock Gym’s mission statement. “We strive to create an experience and atmosphere within our gyms that is welcoming and accessible to all climbers, regardless of experience or background.”
Central Rock Gym has routes for all skill levels
Each of Central Rock’s locations includes a local head-setter who interacts with the community and provides a custom route distribution specifically tailored to the needs of that specific gym. An important part of route setting is hold-selection, according to the gym’s owners.
The gym will feature areas for bouldering, top-rope climbing, and lead-climbing. I had no idea what these terms meant, so fortunately Central Rock Gym has an easy breakdown of each option for the uninitiated.
Bouldering is a low wall (10-16 feet) that uses large mats to fall on for protection instead of ropes and a belay system. There is no class or certification required for this type of climbing.
Top-rope climbing requires that climbers know how to belay and tie proper knots. It involves climbing while wearing a harness, attached to a rope which is wrapped around an anchor at the rope of the wall, with someone attached on the other end who is managing the rope safely, in a way that does not permit you to fall to the ground. The person on the ground is known as the belayer.
Anyone who is belaying needs to take a belay test or a belay class, which are both offered every day. For the belay test you must be able to show competency in making the proper climbing knot and belay procedure without assistance from the staff.
A reinvention of your typical fitness center
Lead climbing is a more advanced style of climbing that involves clipping your rope into gear on the wall, and in essence, placing your own protection as you climb up the wall. This type of climbing requires more advanced knowledge of the sport and that each climber be certified by the facility staff. Climbers who are new to leading must take our instruction lead climbing course.
The space will also feature a full set of cardio machines and free weights available at the facility for members and day pass users. You must be 16 years old to use the equipment unless under the direct supervision of a staff member. They also offer other types of classes that you can participate in without climbing such as Yoga and Pilates, strength condition, and spinning.
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