Planet Granite

Rock climbing. I think it’s one of those things that every kid grows up wanting to try at some point—at least adventure minded kids, like yours truly. But, when it comes down to brass tax, climbing jagged rock faces is not only quite dangerous, it’s also quite expensive. And, while there are plenty of great places to climb here in the great Pacific Northwest, sometimes planning and doing an outdoor climbing truck is a lot of time and effort that many of we busy professionals frankly don’t have at our disposal.

And, of course, if you don’t have a lot of climbing experience, like me, then it’s sort of unnecessarily dangerous. Maybe I should have led with that.

Indoor rock climbing. That’s the way to go. No jagged rocks, no precipitous falls. No risk of mauling by the wildlife. No free falls.

In Portland, Oregon and it’s surrounding areas, there are plenty of locations for indoor rock climbing, including Planet Granite.

While it may not be as steep, smooth or as precarious as Yosemite’s Half Dome, it’s still a challenge in it’s own right.

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Planet Granite is a one stop shop for all of your fitness needs. From rock climbing, to yoga, to fitness classes, to programs for children. Originating in 1994, at a time when there were almost no gyms that offered all of these options in one place, with one simple idea:  Climbers, a peripheral group of athletes, deserved a world-class facility with sport-specific training. At the time of its’ founding (now, there are gyms in four locations on the West Coast) “The systems and infrastructure needed for a climbing specific gym with overhanging walls, mechanized system boards, and textured boulders did not exist.”

And, even with all of the options available, climbing is the forte. Climbing is what takes me there on a weekly basis. It’s a workout that stretches and builds strength in every muscle of my body. It’s an exercise that helps me build confidence and feel like I have accomplished more than just running in place and pumping some iron.

And, the kids like to join me. While I fumble up the adult sized walls, I watch my son and daughter Spiderman up the walls, knowing that in a few short years, they’ll put me to shame. With each pull and thrust, I curse my growing stomach and the rigors of middle age. Even my lithe wife, mocks me from the top of wall and I pant and heave my way to the top.

But, each time I finish and each time it gets easier. Living in Portland, with so many indoor climbing opportunities, I know I can hold my skills and shape my body and maybe, just maybe, someday I will be able to conquer a real climb. Half Dome, maybe?

Planet Granite is located at 1405 NW 14th street in Downtown Portland.

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