SEASIDE, Calif. (KION) One year ago, Sanctuary Rock Gym closed its doors after 23 years in the same location. One of the country’s first indoor climbing gyms fell victim to redevelopment plans in Sand City.
“It was probably one of the hardest things to go through,” said Deirdre Bascou. She and her husband, Michael, own the gym. “We lost everything. We lost our livelihood. We didn’t know what the future held. I’m 58 years old. Where are we going?”
Finding a new location wasn’t easy, considering they were literally moving mountains.
“Trying to find the height and the space, trying to find the amenities, the parking, the shopping center,” explained Michael.
After a year of searching, the couple found a suitable location in the University Plaza shopping center on Fremont Blvd. in Seaside.
At 10,000 square feet, it is twice the size of the original, and the new walls and climbing equipment are all state of the art.
“Top of the line, Olympic quality. It’s the best you can buy,” Michael said.
The new gym offers rooms for Yoga and other classes, plus an area for children’s parties that's a safe distance from more serious climbers.
Some use ropes and harnesses (called "top-roping") to scale the wall. Others prefer to go it alone (known as "bouldering").
The Moon Board is another top tier climbing structure. Its angle and the position of place holders are standard worldwide, but using an app, the LED lights that mark the climbing route can be changed to reveal thousands of challenges.
There is even a vertical climbing treadmill.
Nationwide, indoor climbing continues to grow in popularity. In its 2018 report, the Climbing Wall Association projected double digit growth in 2020, with the industry poised to break the billion-dollar mark in 2021.
Climbers say they love the physical and mental challenge.
“You have to be present when you climb,” said Deirdre. “You can’t be somewhere else. You have to watch where you’re going, what you’re doing. What is my next move? And you have to be completely engaged. I think that brings peace to people. It helps with the head there.”
On Monday, Feb. 10 (on the anniversary of its closing in 2019) the new Sanctuary Climb and Fitness opened at 1760 Fremont Street in Seaside. The Bascous say 130 people turned out for its return, a sign that enthusiasts have been waiting patiently to start climbing the walls again.