Chris and Pam Schmick had spent six months cleaning out the scrap metal from their abandoned silos and just finished drilling thousands of holes in its walls. With little time to spare, they prepared for their climbing gym's grand opening on September 2, 1995—a date on which they had already agreed to hold a regional JCCA competition. The effort they've expended in the nearly 20 intervening years shows: today, climbers scramble on top ropes, lead ropes, and more than 20,000 square feet of lava-free climbing surface.
Instructors prepare visitors to surmount the gym's features in a range of classes, such as Rock Gym 101, which is an introduction to top-rope climbing that covers climbing safety, basic technique, and equipment. Once climbers are equipped with gear from the pro-shop, staff shows them around a multi-level bouldering cave, a main climbing area with 30-foot walls shaped by arêtes, cracks, and waves, and the building's five original silos. Elsewhere inside the gym, six auto-belays safely cradle visitors who wish to climb without taking a class.
Big Rock Climbing Gym's 6,000-square-foot facility welcomes beginners and expert climbers of all ages to scale its varied walls. The gym includes a large main wall with top-rope and lead climbing, a bouldering island, and two bouldering caves. The staff also hosts belaying-certification courses.
The Bouldering Garden presents a thriving, indoor oasis of climbing apparatuses, including a pair of copious caves, a tread wall, a balancing board, and a large stalactite. Designed primarily for bouldering, the facility brims with training opportunities for advanced climbers, as well as learning opportunities for students of the sport. Professional instructors consistently roam the grounds to maintain a safe environment during rock climbing games or rope challenges, and soft landing pads strewn across the floors and in the snake pit absorb falls in a cushy manner that justifies their annual spot atop the Christmas lists of crash-test dummies. In addition to its rocky endeavors, The Bouldering Garden also leads zip-lining adventures, and its onsite shop stocks visitors with the latest in climbing gear. The center also promotes the sport as a healthy family activity and offers discounts for parent-child memberships.
A collaboration between Gold's Gym, Title Boxing Club, local cycling studio St. Louis Spinning, and cavernous climbing gym Upper Limits, Bring the Heat poses a challenge that demands unwavering endurance and focus. From the starting date, each participant has one month to conquer 20 visits, whether they're open workout sessions or classes. At the end, all cards with the full 20 punches are entered into a drawing for a three-month gym membership.
Ibex Climbing Gym's 8,000-square-foot indoor facility is home to dozens of routes for all climbing skill levels. From clinging to overhangs or slowly trudging up slabs, climbers can hone their gripping skills with lead or top-rope climbing sessions. On a second-floor loft, bouldering challenges await rope-free climbers, with crash pads on the ground to soften falls and hundreds of multicolored holds offering varying routes. Ibex team members lead classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, and also offer youth summer camps and recreational and competitive climbing teams. A wide variety of gear is available to equip students for climbing inside or outside of the gym. Prior to any rope climbing in the gym, beginners must undergo a belay class that teaches the fundamentals of belay safety, proper terminology, and the preclimb lasso dancing required for good luck.
Chesterfield Sports Fusion doesn't limit its visitors to just one or two attractions. Within the 30,000-square-foot facility, sport courts, electronic games, and an array of attractions create enough fun to share with the whole family, even weird second cousins. To pique competitive appetites, the facility hosts 35 arcade games and The Vault, a futuristic, laser-filled obstacle course. Modeled after a movie set, the laser-tag arena hosts matches amid two stories of black-lit scenery, and the trickling sounds of a waterfall serve as the soundtrack for an indoor 18-hole mini-golf course. For athletic play, Chesterfield Sports Fusion boasts a 20-foot climbing wall and a dodge-ball arena. Chesterfield Sports Fusion recognizes that having fun is for all ages and rents its facility out for everything from kids' birthday parties to corporate functions to ceremonies honoring a freshly made pair of dentures.