Rock-climbing reaches new heights in Florida

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Business continues to grow for the owners of Vertical Ventures. The indoor rock-climbing facility attracts experienced climbers and beginners.

Chris Brown and his partners purchased the Tampa location at 5402 Pioneer Park Blvd. nearly 10 years ago.

"It is one of those rare things that gets you completely involved in the moment," said Brown of rock climbing. "It completely engages you in the moment."

Brown and his partners are expanding operations. The second facility opens in St. Petersburg later this month. The 20,000 square foot building, located at 116 18th Street S., is situated on the Pinellas Trail with easy access to Tropicana Field and local breweries. A dedicated parking lot provides space for 100 cars.

"Vertical Ventures is Florida's biggest and newest climbing gym," Brown said of the new facility on 18th Street South .

The location offers more than 100 climbing routes. A members-only training area provides access to weights and cardio equipment. Classes are available for beginners.

"Ninety-five percent of the people who come in are first-timers," at the Tampa location, Brown explained. It's a trend he expects will continue in St. Petersburg.

"It's a powerful feeling I think everyone wants to experience because you leave the worries of your day behind and are fully engaged. It's stretching all your muscles. It is very similar to yoga except you are moving up a vertical wall," he said.

The building's tallest wall is 40 feet high. It's part of the project's first phase. Brown says phase two includes working with local vendors to provide food and drinks for customers. The second floor service is expected to open in 2016.

Vertical Ventures provides multiple options for those who want to indoor rock climb:

  • 1 hour - $10
  • All Day - $18
  • Class - $25 plus unlimited opportunities to return for two weeks