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Love Local: Reach for Your 2022 Fitness Goals at Stone Summit Midtown

Rock climbing gym offers fun, socially distanced workout right on Peachtree Street

Published: 01/06/22


Lots of people go into the New Year with fitness-related resolutions, but find themselves burning out by February.

You won’t find any boring gym routines at Stone Summit Midtown, a bouldering gym located on the lower level of the 715 Peachtree building. 

Bouldering is free climbing, in this case on artificial rock walls, without the use of ropes or harnesses. It might sound scary — and the workout definitely comes with an adrenaline rush — but there are plenty of cushy mats surrounding the walls to catch you if you fall. 

Stone Summit Midtown Manager Jake Wylie talked to us about how he got into rock climbing and why it’s the perfect socially distanced exercise. Read more below.


Removing the Mundane

You’ve probably seen the original Stone Summit in Chamblee while driving down Interstate 85. It was the first mega rock-climbing gym when it opened more than a decade ago, and the company has since opened locations in Kennesaw and Midtown. Wylie has worked for the Midtown location since it opened in 2017 and has been climbing since he was in high school.

“I found myself in the gym to maintain for other sports, and it was so monotonous,” Wylie said. “What drew me to rock climbing is it always offers something new, it remains a full-body workout and it removes the mundane.” 

Stone Summit’s walls are covered with various holds in a rainbow of colors, each of which is meant to designate a different route to the top (or “problem” the climber can solve). They are graded by route setters on a numerical scale, with higher numbers indicating a higher degree of difficulty. 

“There are people of all skill levels here, from beginners to people who have been climbing since before the original gym opened,” Wylie said. 

Part of the wall is reset every week, which means there’s always something new to discover. 

“Climbing keeps you physically and mentally engaged,” he said. “I think it offers you a lot, including problem-solving. That’s probably why we get a lot of Georgia Tech students.” 


An Inclusive Community

Every new climber who comes into Stone Summit goes through a brief orientation to learn basic techniques, bouldering lingo and signage significance, and how to fall properly. 

“If you just popped in, it would be so confusing, but we run through everything to make sure everyone is equipped with the basic information,” Wylie said. “The community itself also does a great job of being inclusive and welcoming.” 

The only must-haves to climb at the gym are a bag of chalk and climbing shoes, both of which Stone Summit has available for rent and for members.

“My main goal is to open it up and remove as many barriers for entry as possible,” Wylie said.

Although indoor rock climbing has been a professional competitive sport since 1986, it has remained relatively niche until recent years. It didn’t make its debut in the Olympics until 2020, and Wylie has noticed more buzz around it since then. 

It’s also a great way to stay fit during the pandemic, since climbers already have to maintain social distancing in case of falls. Every time the holds get reset, they are power washed before being replaced on the wall, and climbers at Stone Summit are asked to mask up and sanitize their hands before they get started.

“If you come during quiet times, you can basically have the gym to yourself,” Wylie said. “Outside of climbing in a mask, it seems like everything is normal.” 


Get Hooked

Stone Summit has day passes available for people who would like to give rock climbing a try, but aren’t ready to commit to a monthly or yearly membership. It also sells “punch cards,” where you can buy 5, 10, 15 or 20 visits for less than individual day passes cost and spread them out however you’d like over time.

“Exposure therapy is a strong thing, so if you’re scared, just come in and start slowly,” Wylie said. “In general, if you come two or three times and you’re not hooked, it’s very clear it’s not for you. But three times is enough to hook a lot of people.” 


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