Gregory Gym’s renovated rock wall open for business


Chelsea Purgahn

Geophysics sophomore Nick Benz and Biology sophomore Lynn Xie climb the new routes at Gregory Gymnasium’s rock wall Open House Thursday afternoon. The renovations added over 1,000 square feet of new climbing surface.

Barak Bullock

Climbing enthusiasts, old and new, scaled brand new rock walls at the grand reopening of the Gregory Gym rock climbing wall.

Thursday was the wall’s open house, which attracted dozens of climbers with games, prizes and free climbing.

“We’re offering free climbing, bottles and T-shirts,” said computer science senior Ashley Ng, student manager at the rock wall. “It’s just a big grand opening right now.”

The wall is open again after closing on Nov. 4 for extensive renovations. Chris Burnett, outdoor recreation coordinator, outlined some of the rock wall’s enhancements, which include new cracks for climbing, new flooring, a beginner area and more than 1,000 square feet of new climbing surface.

“We’ve added three crack features, which were not present in the previous design.” Burnett said. “We’ve also added an instructional and beginning area and a much safer floor.”

Burnett said the increased space will benefit experts and beginners alike. 

“Before when we hosted a class … we’d have to shut down almost half of the wall,” Burnett said. “Now, we can still have our classes and have the exact same amount of climbable surface that we used to have before the renovation.”

Fans of the rock wall, including Kendra Kwoka, a speech and language pathology junior, said the rock wall is improved.

“I like the new routes,” Kwoka said. “There are a lot of harder routes, which is nice because I like a challenge.”

The reopening of the wall also means climbers like Kwoka once again have a convenient climbing spot back.

“It’s nice to have a convenient location,” Kwoka said. “I get out of class at noon, then I can do homework and climb instead of having to go off campus somewhere and climb.”

Burnett said at $80 for a semester pass, the Gregory Gym climbing wall is less expensive than alternatives out in Austin.

Austin Rock Gym currently charges $75 a month for their pass, and we’re going to do $80 for three and a half months,” Burnett said. “[Gregory’s rock wall is] still well below the going rate for a gym of this quality.”

Published on March 1, 2013 as "Rockwall renovations complete".