Every climb is different and every climber is different and at BlocHaven bouldering gym at Judson Mill, owner Doug Johnson and team have created a roomy, mezzanine-style, 25,000-square-foot space capable of challenging even the most skilled of climbers.
Johnson, a longtime software developer and IT executive, said the gym is a family business.
“We’re a homeschooling family and we’re all into climbing, so this is something we wanted to do together,” he said of he and wife, Teri, and their seven children, one who is a former member of the USA climbing team.
Located in the 800,000-square-foot Judson Mill mixed-use historic mill redevelopment, BlocHaven offers climbers of all ages and skills a variety of options. There are 16-foot bouldering and rope-climbing walls designed by Utah-based Vertical Solutions, a pair of app-based training walls that, combined, offer climbers almost 80,000 different climbing challenges, a yoga studio and cardio and strength-training equipment.
He explained that “bouldering” is simply rock climbing, stripped down to its essentials. Climbers bring two things with them — climbing shoes for their feet and chalk for their hands. There are no ropes, there are no harnesses and climbers usually don’t top 16 feet.
Johnson said they brought in four tractor-trailers full of foam mats to cushion falls and there is an experienced team on-hand to offer tips and safety advice, including General Manager and climbing coach Will Snader.
While Suzanne Schlotterback worked, her 12-year-old daughter, Abby, practiced on BlocHaven’s “Titan” wall a few feet away. The Mauldin Middle School sixth-grader is training for the USA Youth National Climbing Championships in July.
Suzanne Schlotterback said now that BlocHaven is open, they finally have a good bouldering wall within easy driving distance of their home.
“It’s so nice to finally have a local gym,” she said. “Climbing is Abby’s passion. She’s been climbing since she was four.”
The gym opened to members on Sunday, June 6. It will open to the public on Sunday, June 13.
Johnson said they will host USA Climbing events in the fall and have a goal of hosting additional championship-level events in the future. Birthday parties, field trips are corporate events are also offered, he said, as well as a bistro that offers locally-sourced food and drinks.
Visit blochaven.com for day rates, passes and membership information.