I’ve been following Emily Harrington, professional rock climber, on Instagram for about a year. Totally in awe of her physicality and bravery.
- Emily has free climbed Yosemite’s El Capitan, summited Everest, and has been on big wall free climb expeditions all over the world. She is based in Squaw Valley, CA.
- She’s Adrian Ballinger’s girlfriend, which is how she initially got on my radar.
- Adrian was the first person I followed on snapchat (#EverestNoFilter) as he attempted to summit Mt. Everest in 2016 (and again in 2017).
- This feat was covered not only on snapchat but also on ESPN, CNBC, youtube, instagram, facebook and network TV. So climbing has been getting lots of coverage.
- Which perhaps explains why there are so many bouldering and climbing gyms opening up around the country.
- Per NPD, climbing is one of the fastest-growing retail segments for any outdoor sport.
Here are some recent highlights on the growth of the category:
- 414 commercial climbing gyms across the country at the end of 2016, up from 388 in 2015. (Source: Climbing Business Journal)
- Earth Treks Climbing is opening the country’s largest indoor rock gym in Englewood, Colorado. They already have climbing centers in Virginia, Maryland and Golden.
- Momentum Indoor Climbing is in the midst of opening two climbing facilities in Houston in partnership with REI. Branded REI Co-op Climb, they will include full-service REI climbing pro-shops.
- Brooklyn Boulders, with gyms in Brooklyn, Chicago and Somerville, Mass., has an average of 1000 visitors a day at each of their locations.
- Most climbing gyms offer non-climbing options including fitness classes, exercise machines, yoga, pilates, saunas and cafes and bars.
- Climbing is debuting in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.