Indoor climbing facility ‘Climb Nittany’ creates community center in Boalsburg

If you’re craving an adrenaline rush or a place to finally ~feel~ something, head over to Mount NittanyBoalsburg Indoor Climbing Hall.

If you are a brand new climber, Climb Nittany is the perfect place to try something new and get out of your comfort zone. For regular climbers, this is the perfect place to perfect your technique.

The facility is home to a rock island and 10,000 square feet of climbing wall. Housed in Penn State’s backyard, Climb Nittany was built to bring together a community that needed a place to train. Center County has a huge number of mountaineers, so the location of the inland rocks was a no-brainer.

The Climb Nittany dream was born a few years ago and was a “phased process”. Director Michael Moloney and ORGANIC CLIMBING owner Josh Helke lived in the State College area and recognized the need for a “hub” where all climbers could meet.

It was not until Moloney began working with 5.Life, the umbrella organization to which Climb Nittany is affiliated, that the building plans were drawn up. In 2018, the whole construction process was underway.

Mark Grummun, one of Climb Nittany’s Head Coach and Manager, got involved in 2019. Throughout the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, Climb Nittany successfully opened its doors in October 2020.

As Climb Nittany made its way to Boalsburg, Grummun also took up a position as lead plotter.

For context, route tuning occurs when holds on the rock or area being climbed are turned off to create new patterns. 5.Life has a Road Leader who oversees the majority Grummun supports. In Boalsburg, Grummun decides the exact routes that individuals will climb. The routes are also under the International Sport Climbing Federation.

Grummun has been climbing since he was 8 years old. Growing up, his mother worked at a gym that had an indoor climbing gym. As rock climbing became more popular, he grew up with it. From Rocky Mountain National Park to Smith Rock, Grummun has left its mark on many rocks.

“It’s been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember,” Grummun said. “Climbing is something I’ve always enjoyed doing. There’s never a time when I don’t want to do it.

When it comes to indoor sport climbing and bouldering, Climb Nittany is their top pick.

“The escalation is much bigger than it was” Grummun said. “Indoor climbing and sport climbing are still fairly new concepts.”

The gym offers a size that many are not used to. The gym has “a ton to offer without being too big”. Climb Nittany has used its space to the fullest, especially throughout the pandemic.

Because the sport is relatively new and people are still developing their skills, the facility changes course patterns weekly. Over time, the climbing wall is completely unique and “never the same”.

“There are routes we maintain for two to three months, while others we change weekly,” Grummun said. “It gives people something to work on.”

Since there are so many climbing and bouldering options, the facility’s mission is to make the space all-inclusive. “Helping Everyone Climb” and “Building Community Through Movement” are the mottos that every staff member implements.

“We want to be very newbie-friendly and demographically-friendly,” Grummun said. “We understand that not everyone wants to be a rock climbing athlete.”

Climb Nittany offers all high-level training programs, group lessons, youth and senior courses. Even if you want to test the waters, there are walk-in packages that let you try out the setup for a day.

If you want to feel more comfortable, certified staff members can guide you as you scale the wall. For more advanced climbers there are options to climb completely on your own.

Like any other gym membership is also offered at Climb Nittany. An integrated workout area is also set up in the facility for any fitness, yoga, workout, etc. Anyone who is a member of Climb Nittany also has endless ‘new climber’ passes.

“Climb Nittany is designed to foster and serve the community,” Grummun said. “We hope to continue to develop this and have a great place for our members to hang out here.”

Apart from the programs, member trainings, courses and lessons offered at Climb Nittany, the gymnasium also extends hospitality to students. Every third Friday of the month, students have access to discounted day passes.

On Tuesday, October 26, Climb Nittany will hold a one-year anniversary celebration at the facility open to the public. Shortly after the celebration, the facility will host a Halloween Headlamp Bouldering Party on Saturday, October 30. The gymnasium will turn off its lights while climbers maneuver with only headlamps and suits.

In early December, Climb Nittany will host a youth and adult climbing competition. The USA Climbing League will come to compete in Happy Valley, where the gym will strip down all of its courses and create a competitive routine.

“We’ve waited a long time for all of our events,” Grummun said. “Climb Nittany wants to reward the community for being here and adapting with us.”

Larkin is in his third year majoring in broadcast journalism. The only words that come out of his mouth are “yinz” and “dippy eggs”. Fortunately, his writing has a lot more substance than that. As a Steelers and Pirates fan, the sport can become a hot topic. Share your thoughts on dogs (especially Boston Terriers) with her at: [email protected]

Virginia F. Goins