FARGO — Two childhood friends have opened a new indoor climbing gym they say is the only one of its kind in North Dakota.
Chris Deal and Ben Williams opened Fargo Climbing on Saturday, March 26 in the old Fastenal building at 2325 46th St. S. off Interstate I-94.
The gym caters for all ages and skill levels.
“If you can climb a ladder, you can climb in this gym,” Deal told the Forum on Wednesday, March 23.
Fargo Climbing has 4,000 square feet of climbing walls, as well as training and fitness equipment.
It’s a little bigger than the climbing walls at the Schlossman YMCA or the North Dakota State University Wellness Center.
The fact that it is a private company dedicated solely to climbing also sets it apart, Deal said.
“The Y is a non-profit. It serves a purpose for the kids who go there, but what they lack is funding and space. And they don’t have new outlets (the climbers can grab or walk). We spent about $50,000 on all of these holds and they could never do that,” he said. “Our main focus is climbing and the Y is focused on community and child rearing. Climbing is a subset of that.”
He said the same is true for NDSU.
“They have this feature for students to take advantage of, but they don’t have this mass of funding to really maintain it,” he said.
Deal and Williams grew up just four houses apart in North Fargo.
“Our sisters were in the Girl Scouts together,” Deal said. “We were playing this dinosaur hunting game while they were in scouts.”
They separated in high school, but reconnected after Williams joined Deal to manage the NDSU Wellness Center rock climbing wall.
Deal started climbing after high school, getting his start on the Schlossman YMCA climbing wall.
Once he started classes at NDSU, he said he got hooked on the sport.
“From the start, I was hooked and was at the wellness center every day,” he said.
Williams was introduced to rock climbing at a young age, but he also wasn’t into it until he got the job at NDSU.
“After that, that’s all I wanted to do, and that’s all I’ve done since,” he said.
This includes travel out of state to climb outdoors.
When asked if he had ever considered moving to a less flat location, Williams said it was a compromise.
“I have family here and a place by the lake. And it’s relatively profitable to live here,” he said. “As long as we have a good training facility, I don’t mind (here).”
They expected someone else to open a climbing gym in Fargo.
“We thought someone was definitely going to build one here. There’s definitely a market for it, but it never happened,” Williams said.
The friends finally decided it was up to them. Their goal is to grow the local climbing community.
As well as offering climbs for all skill levels, they also plan to offer new routes every week.
“Whatever your level, you will come every week and have new things to warm up to and new things to try. … It will keep it looking and fresh, which the other walls couldn’t. make. The bigger you are, the more freedom you have to do a soft reset,” Deal said.
Fargo Climbing offers individual and family monthly memberships. They also sell a 10 visit punch card for the price of eight. Day passes are also available.
The partners encourage everyone to stop and try the sport.
“It’s pretty daunting trying something new, let alone doing physical activity. And it can be daunting for some to go to the gym in general, but they shouldn’t feel that way here. Everyone is at his own point in his journey,” Williams said.
“Everyone who walks through the door receives a comprehensive facility and safety orientation,” Deal added. “And you don’t necessarily have to experience it vertically. These walls are filled enough that you can move from side to side. It’s like ‘choose your own adventure’. Every bit of it is fun.” “
What: Fargo Escalade
Where: 2325 46th St. S., Fargo.
Contact: [email protected]
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hours may change depending on demand.