Last updated on November 30th, 2020 at 01:32 pm
Adventure Rock, a local network of gyms centered around rock climbing, opened the doors of its newest location, in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, in August.
This, of course, was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. But gym owner Craig Burzynski said the practices he’s put in place at his existing locations, as well as practices and procedures shared by other members of the climbing industry, prepared Adventure Rock’s newest location to take in guests safely.
The bouldering gym is located in the renovated former Milwaukee Brewing Co. building, at 613 S. Second St.
In order to operate safely, Adventure Rock emphasizes sanitization and physical distancing between climbers.
Burzynski said it’s impossible to clean of all the individual holes on the side of its large rock climbing wall, which takes center stage in the former brewing space. Instead, climbers are required to sanitize before and after a climb. And, as they are assigned a specific section of the climbing wall, distancing is already occurring at the gym.
“We’ve been doing masks before there was a mask mandate,” Burzynski added. “It felt like it was an important part of staying open, especially in our rope facilities where someone could be at 40 feet and coughing and sneezing. We felt like it was the only way to open in a way that made sense.”
He said Adventure Rock’s capacity limits are also below city of Milwaukee requirements.
Milwaukee-based Greenfire Management Services LLC performed construction work, and Milwaukee-based Johnsen Schmaling Architects designed the space. Burzynski said the renovation work cost about $1 million.
Among other things, the project involved pushing back the Second Street-facing exterior wall by a few feet.
“We braced the whole top of the building, pulled all of it out, removed it, put stell columns (in), re-poured all of the concrete to create this really cool space which you can see at night, it’s brilliant,” he said. “It just glows. It looks so inviting when you drive by. This is such a great bike route, and it feels like this is a really stellar spot.”
Burzynski said it was the architect’s idea to move the wall, in order to give it a covered entrance and to make it more inviting to passersby on Second Street. The exterior also matches the openness of the interior space, he said.
“We wanted to make sure that going with that open feeling, we wanted to connect it to the neighborhood,” he said. “We really wanted to make sure it was cool from the outside and that it fit in with the neighborhood.”
The bouldering gym started 22 years ago, with its first location in Brookfield. It since expanded to Milwaukee’s East Side, and now Walker’s Point.
Its third location, which is its largest, has space dedicated to weight training and cardio, as well as a yoga studio.