Last weekend Rebecca and I had the opportunity to visit our friends Brian and Abby Thompson in Great Falls, MT. What we saw was nothing short of impressive. They've joined the ranks of a burgeoning movement of individuals that purchase properties in historic business districts and in turn energize these urban areas with bright, well planned, and friendly climbing gyms. This effort has really complimented the broader movement of businesses that recognize the value of existing urban infrastructure and take advantage of that by pursuing similar goals in their own way - Great Falls has all of these, coffee shops, breweries, small eateries, and professional firms. HiLine Climbing Center is Brian and Abby's creation, and it represents the culmination of lot's of hard work, problem solving, and can-do effort contributed by the Thompson's themselves and many others who have supported them in this journey. For now it's an excellent venue for bouldering but plans are already underway that may involve roped climbing, a more concentrated fitness element, and further community outreach.
When asked about the impetus for the gym, Brian responded to Rebecca by jokingly suggesting the concept was something of a selfish idea at first. He quickly fleshed that out by explaining that many pursuits, including this one, have a much broader positive impact on the community and that has been their primary goal from the start. Since no one else had taken the plunge to open a climbing gym, they felt that taking HiLine from concept to contractor was the logical next step in that train of thought. Not surprisingly some people were skeptical that a climbing gym could thrive in Great Falls because the area isn't known for a large climbing community when compared to other cities in the region. What they found during an extensive research period is that the demographics of Great Falls were primed and ready for a project like this. We think it's very cool that those climbers now have a nearby place to go and enjoy themselves in the company of like minded people regardless of the weather outside. Few things are more exciting than to see dreams like these take flight and grow their influence in the local scene by strengthening the core of the very community that surrounds them.
We're proud to say that HiLine is carrying products like our chalk bags and is supporting other small to midsize business like So iLL holds who do a tremendous job of building high quality and fun climbing holds for gyms around the country. Most importantly I'm excited to say that as time moves on HiLine will become an increasingly perfect ecosystem for experienced climbers and newcomers to meet, develop their skills, and grow their passion for a great lifestyle.