A local climbing gym is continuing to go vertical.
Triangle Rock Club is preparing to break ground on a $2 million expansion to add 15,000 square feet of climbing terrain to its gym at 4700 Thalbro St.
The North Carolina-based chain opened its Richmond location last spring in the former Richmond Athletic Club building. Triangle bought the building in 2017 for $1.4 million and spent $1.6 million to upgrade it.
Triangle now is adding 6,000 square feet to its footprint, with walls reaching about 50 feet in height. Director Kayla Phillips said the expansion would more than double the amount of climbing area at the gym.
In addition to normal rope walls, Phillips said the expansion will add some sections for “crack climbing,” a technique where climbers wedge their fingers between thin channels in the wall.
The technique was seen in National Geographic’s documentary film “Free Solo”. The film, combined with climbing being a new addition to next year’s Summer Olympics, has led to a spike in new members in recent months.
“A lot of our members are new climbers. I think the expansion will help get more experienced climbers in here,” Phillips said.
Triangle has about 850 members, she said, with memberships starting at $65 per month plus a $75 initial fee.
She said they’re looking to break ground this month and to open by year-end. Ashland-based M.L. Bell is the general contractor on the project.
As Triangle arrived in Richmond last year, another local climbing gym opened a second location. Peak Experiences opened last April in the SCOR building at 1385 Overbrook Road.