It started with a Groupon.
Dr. Tyson Gray saw a deal on the deals website for rock climbing and decided to give it a try.
He was hooked.
“I fell in love with it – it was an activity that everyone in the family loved and loved to do together,” he said.
Soon he will share his climbing passion with many people beyond just his own family. Monday, he will break ground on Vertical View Climbing Gym in Meridian – a huge 32,000 square foot facility with walls that climb nearly 7 stories.
The new gym will rise on the south side of Interstate 84 at Locust Grove, right behind a Maverik convenience store.
Gray hopes to fill a void left by the closure of Urban Ascent – as well as bringing new people to the sport. UA closed abruptly in April to make way for an affordable housing project.
“There are cities the size of Boise that have two or three gyms the size of the one I’m building,” Gray said. “Boise was clearly underserved and an untapped place for climbing. Knowing how much of an outdoors appeal Boise has and how many outdoor enthusiasts we have it was clear it would do well.”
“Our whole design and goal with building this is to introduce thousands of new climbers to the sport. We know there are a lot of existing climbers, but there are a lot that have never had the opportunity.
Once construction gets underway, Gray hopes to have the gym open to the public by mid-to-late summer – just in time for one of the peak times for indoor climbing.
“Peak season is winter, as well as the dead of the summer when it’s too hot to climb.”
Building from the ground up gives Gray an advantage, he hopes.
“A lot of gyms around the country are built using existing buildings – but we were fortunate enough to build this building to house some incredible housing terrain,” he said. “It is one of the most expensive buildings in the country… we’ve been able to build one of the best facilities.”
Walls will shoot up from 25 feet in the air to as high as 65 feet – with adjustable routes and terrain to give customers a constantly changing experience. They will offer options for people of all skill levels.
“It will be a very family oriented place with a great community feel to it. A place that people can exercise in a safe environment.”
The ambitious new venture won’t keep Gray from his day job though
“I’ll still be cleaning teeth for many years. Probably longer now” he said with a chuckle.