Doug Johnson is aware of how he sounds when describes the rock climbers he knows as “down to earth.”
But he means it sincerely. This August, Johnson will open a new bouldering gym in the Judson Mill development, which means he has been spending a lot of time with climbers lately.
“They can sometimes like to propagate this image of themselves as ‘dirtbag climbers,’ but that’s not the real climbers we’ve gotten to know,” Johnson said.
Rockoon Climbing Community, soon to open at 701 Easley Bridge Road, is an indoor rock climbing and bouldering gym with a café, retail shop and yoga studio that hopes to grow the community of what he calls the “down-to-earth problem solvers” here in Greenville.
“Bouldering is all about taking on new challenges, pushing yourself, trying new things. And that’s what makes it exciting.” – Doug Johnson, owner, Rockoon Climbing Community
The climbing gym, which has been in the works for three years, is designed by Vertical Solutions with construction work done by Brooklyn Boulders. It will encompass 25,000 square feet of bouldering, rope climbing and top roping, plus a café and a 15-vendor retail space. The gym will also include an elevated mezzanine and observation seating to accommodate official competitions.
Serious climbers can take comfort in the fact that the entire layout of the gym will be redesigned every six weeks, meaning every single “problem” – climbing lingo for the layout of handholds – will be a fresh challenge.
Classes will also be available at a range of skill levels, Johnson said, along with climbing leagues for high schoolers, college-age climbers and adults.
“We just try to get people engaged and learning,” Johnson said. “Bouldering is all about taking on new challenges, pushing yourself, trying new things. And that’s what makes it exciting.”
Johnson and his wife selected Greenville specifically for its growing community and strong downtown center, and he said the Judson Mill development was an easy choice given the area’s history and potential.
“We’re very cognizant of this part of town, the history of the Judson Mill,” Johnson said. “We want to bring in and engage people of all economic and cultural backgrounds, because climbing truly is for everyone.”