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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Rock climbing gym to open in South Boston

Rock Spot Climbing in South Boston

In an open South Boston property space, builders will soon take colorful pieces of plastic from cardboard boxes and affix them to the walls, where one day climbers will dust them white with chalk as they stretch to reach their “Beta.”

“The ‘Beta’ is the solution. It’s the way to do it. [The term] comes from watching a video recording of another climber on a Betamax and learning from them,” says Kat Waterhouse, the director of marketing and special events of Rock Spot Climbing. 

The New England company is opening their fourth location at 30 Old Colony Avenue, which is a seven minute walk down Dorchester Avenue, coming from the Broadway Red Line station. With 10,000 linear feet of bouldering wall, there will be paths suited to varying levels of experience, Waterhouse said. 

The term “bouldering” describes low-height rock climbing that only requires a large cushioned mat to fall on, instead of the gear and belayer needed for taller climbs.

Hardcore boulderers can fall for hours, days, or even weeks while attempting to master the precise muscle combinations necessary to conquer a path.

“Bouldering is about problem solving. We see a lot of engineers because it activates that part of the brain.”

Some sections of the gym are built up into the building’s sky lights. Reaching the top of these will bring the climber into a glow of natural light and a view of outside. This point is beyond the 20 foot limit of bouldering and requires gear to reach.

If these spots aren’t outfitted with a mechanical “auto-belayer,” a partner must serve as one. Their body weight prevents injury by anchoring the rope that threads through a pulley on the ceiling. 

Customers must pass the gym’s belayer test, and free classes are offered to train beginners. Also available are climbing lessons, from beginner level to more advanced. 

“Our motto is ‘All Ages. All Abilities,'”said Waterhouse. 

Throughout the property are rooms and areas dedicated to specific purposes. On one end is a training area set to contain equipment for building strength in specific muscles, dumbbells, and cardio machines. On the other end of the gym is a yoga room, whose beams have been left bare to be used for ariel yoga and resistance band training. 

Eventually the lounge space will feature couches, a TV, and electrical outlets. Free WiFi is provided. At the gear store sports drinks, snacks, climbing shoes, chalk, and other products will be for sale. 

Groups, clubs, or birthday parties can reserve a designated room.

“Rock climbing is a great team building exercise. We often have sororities and fraternities in.” 

Located at the entrance is bike storage. Occasionally, visiting lecturers will teach cold safety tips and lessons on how to change a tire, said Waterhouse.

A small climbing wall for children is separate from others. Its cliff-like top leads to a bridge and slide. Underneath the bridge is a set of monkey bars that connects the two major parts of the gym in such a way that one could traverse all of it without touching the ground.

“We were thinking that if someone completes the [circuit] three times in the day we will give them a T-shirt.” 

Waterhouse said that her father introduced her to the sport and activity at a young age, and after falling in love with it, she’s been doing it ever since. 

“[Climbing] is a full body workout; some serious cardio, [it] works your core, works muscles in unusual ways.”

“I had an issue with my arm once, where it actually overdeveloped and was pressing on a nerve. The doctor said, ‘This forearm muscle is meant to pick your purse up, not pull 100-something pounds up a wall!'”

Waterhouse says the opening date of the Rock Spot South Boston location is dependent upon whether or not an inspector will be available after the work is completed.

“About a month and a half until opening, if I had to estimate.”