By Troy Brooks
Come climb with the staff of Center 45 this Friday at the gym’s Grand Opening celebration. The celebration will last all day starting at noon and will include a $10 day pass to the gym, food and beer and a number of activities and competitions. It has been two months since Boone’s first bouldering gym opened to the public and the coming celebration is the staff’s way of thanking everyone for their support.
“We’ve been open now since the beginning of September and it’s just been really awesome to see how everyone has come together and supported this climbing gym,” said Aaron Parlier, general manager of Center 45. “A lot of that is because there’s a strong group of climbers in Boone and just people here that care about local business in general.”
Center 45 is an indoor bouldering gym which allows climbers to practice the art of bouldering, a form of rock climbing that is performed without ropes or harnesses. The gym comprises of over 1,000 square feet of bouldering walls and 70 different routes and paths to climb along the complex.
“Bouldering is a full body workout. In many ways it reminds me of yoga,” said Willard Watson, event coordinator at Center 45. “It takes time and concentration to pull it off and for me personally, it helps with my anxiety and helps me to relax.”
While the rocks and boulders of the Watauga mountains are ideal attractions for bouldering enthusiasts, the indoor gym gives everyone a place to fulfill their need to climb on the dreariest of days.
“With Boone’s weather you never know what’s going to happen. You could get rain, snow, sleet and sunshine all in the same day,” said Watson. “In many ways the weather here is kind of a double edge sword. It sucks for everyone outside but it’s been great for the gym and it’s gotten more people to drop by and experience what we have to offer.”
Aside from the $10 dollar pass, the celebration this Friday will offer a free yoga class at 4 p.m., raffles and prizes and free food and beer. To close off the day, live music will be performed from 6-10 p.m. by local groups including Hilltop Riot, Kate Rhudy, Alexa Rose and Foggy.
There are also going to be competitions pitting climbers against each other in a number of tests from rope climbing to ninja warrior style competitions. No matter what your skill level is there will be something here for everyone.
Center 45 continues to expand its horizons in the near future. The staff is working on adding more walls to the complex and hosting after school programs. The gym also started teaching yoga classes earlier this month.
“We’ve come a long way since we first opened up,” said Watson. “We’ve had after school groups, birthday parties and even our first international visitors, a family from the UK, come to the gym. One of our most memorable days was in the beginning of October. Boone hosted the Hound Ears Triple Crown climbing competition and it got rained out. All these people already had plane tickets and cabin rentals so they learned about the gym and we had over 100 hundred people come by that weekend climbing and cheering each other on. There is so much coaching and support whenever the place gets packed like that and it’s really quite special.”
Center 45 is located off of 200 Den Mac. Dr. in Boone. For more information on Center 45, visit their website or call 828-386-1550.