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Gravity Lab brings climbing gym back to Durango

Owners seek to create a space where climbers of any experience can thrive
Charlie Malone, with Gravity Lab, sets a route as fellow employee Autumn Raasch tries out one of the set routes at Gravity Lab, a new climbing gym in the Grandview area on the north side of U.S. Highway 160. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Gravity Lab owners Sebastiaan Zuidweg and Laura Chase have always been avid rock climbers. In fact, the married couple were rock climbing partners before they were spouses.

It comes as little surprise the two would take their chance at opening Durango’s newest rock climbing gym.

“We kind of immediately just saw a vacancy and a niche that needed to be filled in the community,” Zuidweg said.

Durango has not had a rock climbing gym since the Rock Lounge closed in 2021 after 11 years of operation. Zuidweg was surprised there weren’t more rock climbing facilities in the area because of the community’s love for outdoor recreation. He said the closest rock climbing gyms to Durango are either in Grand Junction or in Albuquerque.

“Smaller mountain towns like Durango usually have climbing gyms, and so to us it was like an obvious kind of slam dunk,” Zuidweg said.

It’s at 732 County Road 233 on the north side of U.S. Highway 160 between Three Springs Boulevard and Elmore’s Corner.

Amenities will include multiple training boards such as a Kilter board and a spray wall as well as yoga equipment, cardio exercise equipment and a weight rack.

The gym allows for various styles of climbing including bouldering, top rope climbing and lead climbing.

A large part of Gravity Lab’s mission is community inclusivity: Zuidweg wants Gravity Lab to be a place where anyone is welcome to enjoy exercising and climbing.

Gravity Lab co-owner Sebastiaan Zuidweg inside the new rock climbing gym in the Grandview area, on the north side of U.S. Highway 160. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“Climbing is a fun way to get exercise in a different way than going to the gym and walking on the StairMaster,” he said.

Zuidweg and Chase moved to Durango four years ago from Crested Butte. Chase works as a nurse anesthetist and Zuidweg is the clinical director at Open Sky Wilderness Therapy.

They felt opening the gym was a perfect way to combine their love for the outdoors and helping people. To start the business, the couple liquidated two properties they owned in Crested Butte, and the rest was history.

Zuidweg plans to build another facility next to the current one to add other climbing options. He said he would like to have a higher roof so more advanced climbers can have more room for lead climbing.

Gravity Lab is set to open near the end of November but it has already gained interest from other organizations in Durango and elsewhere looking to collaborate with the gym.

“All of the high schools and middle schools have already reached out to us about kind of incorporating their PE programming out of here,” Zuidweg said. “The Hive and other programs have reached out.”

Gravity Lab, a new rock climbing center, is at 732 County Road 233 on the north side of U.S. Highway 160 between Three Springs Boulevard and Elmore’s Corner. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

He said he would also like to collaborate with the Adaptive Sports Association to create a more inclusive climbing community.

The gym’s grand opening will be Monday. Zuidweg said he does not want to limit customers to long-term memberships and offers a plethora of different short-term options.

Gravity Lab offers a full day adult pass for $20, a minor day pass for $16 and college student day pass for $16.

Gravity Lab employees pick out hand holds for the walls at the new rock climbing gym at 732 County Road 233 on the north side of U.S. Highway 160 between Three Springs Boulevard and Elmore’s Corner. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Brayden Russ, with Gravity Lab, climbs at the new rock climbing gym in the Grandview area. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
A climbing wall in the upstairs at Gravity Lab climbing gym. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The gym also has a 10-day pass for $180 for people who want to come more than once but won’t use the gym enough to justify a monthly membership.

A standard adult monthly membership costs $79 per month and minor monthly membership costs $74 per month.

“We want this to be inviting, inclusive, accessible to people, and like a hub for people to get together and have fun,” Zuidweg said.

tbrown@durango.com

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