About Climb Cleveland
A place to have fun and get strong
At Climb Cleveland we believe in community as well as personal growth. We know in climbing yoga and dance it is not only about the skills you gain, but the people you meet as well.
Climb Cleveland is part of an active urban neighborhood of homes, restaurants, churches, coffee shops and gift shops. A visit to Climb Cleveland is also a chance to explore Tremont with its oddly angled streets, 20 churches and 28 restaurants. We at Climb Cleveland love the mixing of energies that the Tremont neighborhood itself adds to a trip to climb in our house.
For more extended adventures you can also connect from Climb Cleveland to the toe path trail, the Flats, Ohio City, the Westside Market, downtown, and the bridges linking them all. Umbrella lending for rain, bike racks. City adventures are here for us urban climbers. We create them from cool pieces of our city and our imagination and enthusiasm. It is the same as new routes in the mountains.
Climbing rooted in Cleveland.
Chick Holtkamp is the owner builder of Climb Cleveland. Growing up in Cleveland and with a family history going back to 1830 in Cleveland, he started climbing in 1972 in the first year of college at Colgate University in upper New York State.
The university is only a few hours drive from the Gunks in New Paltz New York. The Gunks is a wonderful place to begin climbing with thousands of climbs and many experienced climbers willing to share their experience and expertise. Not having a strong high school athletic history the unstructured partner based self-driven individual nature of climbing provided me with a lifelong basis for friends, health, adventure and achievement. Later in the 1970s a 3 year, year round climbing trip allowed for improvement in climbing strength and technique. Learning from the climbs and climbers in Colorado, the Gunks, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite. This was also the start of new route discovery and development with new routes in Joshua Tree and Yosemite in California, Devil’s Tower and Vedauwoo in Wyoming, Seneca Rocks, New River and Alabama in the Southeast.
In the late 1970s, Chick moved back to Cleveland ending the 3 year road trip. The end of the road trip was the beginning of a 30 year exploration of ideas on how to climb and how to train for climbing in a city environment. At first he trained on natural outcrops of local sandstone. As he would drive around the city in the course of his daily life he would look for climbing possibilities on man-made structures, mostly bridges and retaining walls and staying off most buildings. Looking for climbable routes that were not likely to attract too much attention from the local authorities.
A climber sees climbing everywhere he or she goes. Our hands reach out to touch little edges between the bricks of a building or the sandstone edges of a foundation. Walking up a stair we find the space between the railing and the wall to be a handjam space. Sliding your hands into the empty space of the gap instead of grabbing the rail itself. Stretching on anything available while waiting for the gas tank to fill up.