Gravity Lab Brings Climbing Gym Back to Durango – The Durango Herald

The owners strive to create a space where climbers of any experience can thrive

Charlie Malone, with Gravity Lab, outlines a route while colleague Autumn Raasch attempts one of the routes selected at Gravity Lab, a new climbing gym in the Grandview area on the north side of U.S. Highway 160. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Owners of Gravity Lab, Sebastian Zoidwig and Laura Chase, have always been avid rock climbers. In fact, the couple was rock climbing partners before they got married.

It’s no surprise that the two took their chance opening a state-of-the-art rock climbing gym in Durango.

“We immediately saw a vacancy and a niche to be filled in society,” said Zuidweg.

Durango has not had a rock climbing gym since the Rock Lounge closed in 2021 after 11 years of operation. Zuidweg was surprised that there were no more rock climbing facilities in the area due to the community’s love of outdoor recreation. He said the closest rock climbing gyms to Durango are either in Grand Junction or in Albuquerque.

“Usually small mountain towns like Durango have climbing gyms, and so for us it was a definite kind of slam,” said Zoidwig.

It is located at 732 County Road 233 on the north side of US Highway 160 between Three Springs Boulevard and Elmore’s Corner.

Amenities will include multiple training boards such as the Kilter board and splash wall as well as yoga equipment, cardio equipment and a weight rack.

The gym allows for different styles of climbing including rock climbing, top rope climbing, and lead climbing.

A big part of Gravity Lab’s mission is community inclusivity: Zuidweg wants Gravity Lab to be a place where anyone can enjoy working out and climbing.

Gravity Lab partner Sebastian Zoidwig inside the new rock climbing gym in the Grandview area, on the north side of US Highway 160 (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

“Climbing is a fun way to exercise in a different way than going to the gym and walking on the StairMaster,” he said.

Zuidweg and Chase moved to Durango four years ago from Crested Butte. Chase works as a nurse anesthetist and Zuidweg is the clinical director at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy.

They felt opening the gym was a perfect way to combine their love of the outdoors with helping people. To get the business started, the couple liquidated two properties they owned in Crested Butte, and the rest was history.

Zuidweg plans to build another facility next to the existing one to add other climbing options. He said he would like a higher roof so more advanced climbers could have more room for lead climbing.

Gravity Lab is set to open near the end of November, but has already gained interest from other organizations in Durango and elsewhere looking to partner with the gym.

“We’ve already been approached by all the high and middle schools about some kind of consolidation of their PE programs from here,” said Zuidweg. “Hive and other programs have arrived.”

Gravity Lab, a new rock climbing center, is located at 732 County Road 233 on the north side of US Highway 160 between Three Springs Boulevard and Elmore’s Corner. (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

He said he would also like to collaborate with the Adaptive Sports Association to create a more inclusive climbing community.

The gym’s grand opening will be Monday, and Zuidweg said it doesn’t want to limit clients to long-term memberships and offers a slew of different short-term options.

Gravity Lab offers a full day pass for adults for $20, a high school day pass for $16 and an undergraduate day pass for $16.

Gravity Lab employees choose hand holds for the walls of their new rock climbing gym at 732 County Road 233 on the north side of US Highway 160 between Three Springs Boulevard and Elmore’s Corner. (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

Brayden Ross, with Gravity Lab, is climbing at his new rock climbing gym in the Grandview area. (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

A climbing wall upstairs in the Gravity Lab climbing gym. (Jerry McBride / Durango Herald)

The gym also has a 10 day pass for $180 for people who want to come more than once but won’t use the gym enough to justify a monthly membership.

The standard adult monthly membership costs $79 per month, and the simple monthly membership costs $74 per month.

“We want this to be attractive, inclusive, accessible to people, and like a hub for meeting and having fun,” said Zuidweg.

tbrown@durango.com

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