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Alpine climbing, fitness center open in Ripon
alpine climb
Dutch DeBuhr maneuvers through the boulder structure Tuesday at Alpine Climbing Adventure Fitness in Ripon.

Dutch DeBuhr can already be considered a regular at Alpine Climbing Adventure Fitness.

The indoor steel-framed rock-climbing gym at 1450 Garrison Way in Ripon officially opened on Monday. But, according to owner Jonathan Meek, the 19,335-square-foot facility dedicated to climbing had been made available to those members who signed up earlier.

“We had a soft opening at the end of April,” he said.

DeBuhr, 28, quickly found the climbing sport to his liking. A former body builder, he went from weighing in at 225 pounds to his current 150 pounds.

“I’ve been going here almost every day,” he said, incorporating the yoga and Pilates classes offered at Alpine Climbing Adventure Fitness in to his regular workouts.

DeBuhr prefers the challenging 16-foot bouldering structure, consisting of free climbing without the use of a harness and belaying devices. “I was surprised how fast I went from (climbing) from V3 to V6,” he said.

The difference?

Meek explained: “The higher the grade, the more difficult the holds become and more complex the body movement and sequence (it takes) to climb.”

Social media and word of mouth has helped in bringing in members and curiosity seekers to the new rock-climbing gym in the Ripon Crossing shopping center.

“I heard about it through a friend,” said Michelle Cardozo.

She’s the mother of 10-year-old Gavin Cardozo, who is a student at Colony Oak Elementary School. The youngster went from tentative climbing the lowest of the towering stacks called the “Sky Walk” to fearlessly leap frogging to the top and soaring down while being safely hooked up to the harness and belaying devices in a short time.

There’s a beginners wall along with a 55-foot-high lead wall and a 15-meter speed wall – the latter is the same one used by the International Federation of Sports Climbing not to mention an event at this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Tony Levy is the General Manager of Alpine Climbing Adventure Fitness, which also features a gym with free weights, cardio equipment, TRX, benches, medicine balls, mobility equipment and high-intensity interval and cross-fitness classes.

He has nine years of experience in the climbing industry, having moved here from Florida.

Levy provided a short list of questions asked from newcomers to the climbing gym:

  • How do I get started?
  • What can I expect?
  • What experience do I need?

He and his staff are able to provide those answers and more via instructions and know-how.

“It’s like climbing a ladder,” Levy said to one of his beginners.

Meek and his group are working on two additional climbing gym locations in northern California. “We plan to announce that by the end of the year,” he said.

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