FB_IMG_1448505922226

 

It finally happened. Wichita, Kansas now has its first free standing commercial climbing gym.  Dr. David Kortje brought this idea from a dream to a reality and partnered up with Walltopia, a Bulgarian climbing wall manufacturer, to build a state of the art climbing gym.  The inspiration for this gym was to serve as a memorial to his oldest son Caleb Kortje who passed away a few years back and to also follow through with a dream of bringing a climbing gym to Wichita.  His son Caleb was fastly becoming one of the strongest boulderers in the midwest.

To say that the local climbers are excited to have this facility is an understatement.  The consensus is that that this gym is the best thing that has happened to our climbing community in a very long time. The city of Wichita has had several YMCAs as well as the Kansas Cliff Club which has been the main factory for producing local climbers and supporting this small but ultra dedicated group of athletes.  Now we have a place where we can take this sport to a whole new level. Most climbers tend to assimilate into their normal day to day routine of work, family, and school but deep down we have a similar hunger and desire to climb that stays at the front of our minds. We share a longing to be on the end of a rope or pulling through a hard bouldering problem.  A hopeful yet somewhat skeptical group wasn’t sure if this concept was going to make it off the ground ,but as the last 2 years went by we all followed on social media, David’s step by step process as his dream came to fruition. When the groundbreaking ceremony was held, at the then dirt field, we finally knew it was going to happen. The idea of having a gym that was solely for climbing and training for climbing would certainly take or local climbing to a whole new level. Wichita now has a place where new climbers will have the opportunity to experiment and safely learn this sport in a professional and safe atmosphere and seasoned climbers have all the resources now to reach their fullest potential.  Most of us “pre-Bliss” climbers were part of a coop called the Kansas Cliff Club.  We all took an active part in maintaining the gym, teaching classes, mentoring, and setting routes. I think many of us now simply enjoy the idea of just swiping a card and climbing in a gym where we are an actual customer and where the routes are changed routinely, the temperature is perfectly maintained and the safety of the wall and ropes are regulated and monitored. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have ideas of how we think things should be, but  we are happy to let the management of “Bliss” run things.K_7D2569_70_71

IMG_9349IMG_0140

 

 

The facility  has an upstairs training area that includes a HIT system wall, Moon Board, campus rungs, hangboards, weights, and cardio equipment. It has been mentioned that we have yoga soon. Downstairs there is a full pro shop, lockers, shower, and all the necessary amenities.

 

IMG_9326psIMG_9321-2IMG_9326psIMG_9332

This upcoming weekend 1/8/2016-1/10/2016, Bliss Bouldering and Climbing Complex will be hosting there Grand Opening event and ribbon cutting ceremony. This is going to be an entire weekend of climbing, socializing, events, games and friendly competitions, music, celebration as well as climbing workshops held by professional climbers, Jon Cardwell and Ryan Sewell out of Boulder, Co.  Both Jon Cardwell and Ryan Sewell are seasoned climbers and route setters and have been busy with an entire reset  of the bouldering room for the climbers to test their abilities on.  So if you are already a member I am sure you will be there. If you are thinking about exploring the sport of climbing you must check out this event. If you are traveling through and want to be apart of a first for our community then make a detour, grab a rope and harness and stop by. Directions