First Ascent Peoria celebrates their grand opening

Local News

Dozens of Peorians went out during Saturday’s winter snowstorm instead of staying in.They went to First Ascent’s grand opening in the river city.

“When the weather is bad outside, why not pursue some indoor adventure,” said  Dan Bartz, Co- Founder of First Ascent Peoria.

One long-time climber said the snow was not an obstacle to making it. 

“The snow wasn’t something that stopped me from coming down. I was just really excited to know that there was a climbing gym here in Peoria. I’ve been climbing for about eight years and about a year and a half where I haven’t been climbing. So being able to have a place where I can come and not have to worry about weather like this,” said Philip Belcke.

First ascent said they’re not just for people looking to get fit but also a place for the whole family.

“We just love to climb and it’s something that I find that I can do with my two kids. As long as I can get them to sit still, they like to climb and they like to get into it.  I needed snow boots today for sure but then once we’re here, it’s warm inside and it’s just a lot of fun,” said Annie Bell.

Those who attended said it is even a place to meet new people and make friends

“Specially with bouldering, you try something and then you take a break and then you talk to the person who might be trying the same thing as you. I find that I’m making friends every time I’m here just by accident almost. So it’s a fun place to have community in the winter when otherwise you might not want to get out of your house. It’s just a great way to be active and be good to your body,” said Bell.

In addition to boulder, the place features a  yoga studio and in March, a rope climbing area of up to 50 feet tall.

“Our hope is that this facility really serves and grows the climbing community here. Introduces a ton of new people to the sport, a place where families can come on a Friday night and have a great time,” said Bartz.

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