'Nation's largest' rock climbing gym to open in Colorado later this year

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — A large rock-climbing facility has been scheduled to open later this year in Colorado.

Earth Treks will be putting the facility in Sports Authority's old headquarters in Englewood, The Denver Post reported Monday. The company says it is the largest climbing gym in the country.

The facility is 52,000 square feet (4,831 square meters). It had been home to 772 employees when Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago.

Earth Treks ranks as the country's top climbing-gym retailer, founder Chris Warner said. Warner looks for abandoned big box stores for his climbing facilities.

Earth Treks' pitch to landlords used to be ousted by larger companies, but a fear of big-time bankruptcies has landlords saying, 'Well, let me get this knucklehead climbing gym guy instead,'" Warner said.

Brad Power, the city's director of community development, is hoping the gym will attract visitors to not only climbing, but to the surrounding businesses too. The Earth Treks facility in Golden, Colorado brings in about 1,000 visitors per day.

"It's not just about climbers anymore," Warner said. "Some of these people might never go climbing outdoors at all. With some of these kinds of designs, we are really creating a giant piece of art and you want to climb the art."

Earth Treks has climbing facilities in Virginia, Maryland and Colorado.


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