Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Gym is not just Atlanta’s largest indoor climbing gym, but tops out as one of the largest in the nation as well. And now the gym has a protégé, as its second location opened in Kennesaw, Georgia in early December 2014.
At 31,102 square feet, Stone Summit Kennesaw is now the fifth largest climbing gym in the country, according to the “Climbing Business Chronicle.” Ranked just behind it, at number seven, is Stone Summit’s original Atlanta gym with 30,000 square feet.
“The city of Kennesaw has excellent demographics with young professional families, nearby colleges, and it’s still local enough where upper management can easily get to both facilities for monitoring,” said Daniel Luke, owner of Stone Summit, on the Kennesaw location.
The master builder behind these bright orange, red, and blue non-traditional walls is Walltopia—a Bulgarian-based wall builder recently named as 2014’s top project builder by “Climbing Business Chronicle”.
“When the first Stone Summit opened, it was groundbreaking,” said Walltopia’s US Sales Manager Adam Koberna. “And now they are doing it again. They made a statement as a landmark climbing gym.”
According to Koberna, Kennesaw’s gym is designed to be more approachable to all levels of climbers, whereas the Atlanta gym emphasized competition. And perhaps the most stand-out part of Kennesaw’s gym is the starburst color scheme; bright orange, red, and blue are streaked in bold stripe-like patterns.
“When you have a variety of flat planes at different angles, how do you do something different?” Koberna asked. “The color scheme is not usual for us to do, but it ties in with the gym’s bold statement.”
Walltopia began building the interior walls of the gym on Labor Day. By November 5, the team was setting routes. “The walls focus more on consistence of angles and we use volumes to create versatility in the walls,” Luke says. “Plus we have almost twice as many top ropes with taller walls than the Atlanta gym.”
In the climbing portion of the gym, 27,000 square feet of routes reach up to 60 feet tall for both top rope and lead climbing. A shorter 35-foot wall can be used for both as well.
Similar to the Atlanta gym, Kennesaw has a lot of boulder space as well—5,000 square feet, to be exact. But, whereas the Atlanta gym's bouldering is separated into its own room, the bouldering walls at the Kennesaw location become more of a widespread area, flowing seamlessly into the main gym to make up one massive climbing area.
“Stone Summit Kennesaw is a boulderer’s dream with more bouldering space, complete with two huge sides that stretch along the length of the gym that you can literally walk around,” said Ashley Tindall, a climbing instructor at Stone Summit Atlanta. “If you are looking to top out all day long on some hot new boulder problems, go to Kennesaw.”
The bouldering walls are angled to offer more technicality. They reach to 18 feet with 1.5 feet of padding. According to Tindall, these bouldering routes are more clearly labeled and provide less confusion of where routes start and end, compared to the Atlanta gym.
Stone Summit Kennesaw is the perfect training gym for boulderers, not just for the sheer variety of different problems, but for their training wall. The bright orange and red painted wall has hundreds of well-marked holds that are strictly for training, just like the tread wall that is so popular at the Atlanta gym.
As Luke says, “This is a chance to grow the Georgia climbing community even more. Climbers are my kind of people, so the more, the merrier.”
Expect to see Kennesaw State University’s climbing team working their routes here. The Kennesaw gym will also have its own youth climbing team, led by Stone Summit Atlanta’s Head Coach Claudiu Vidulescu.
And for beginner climbers, a beginner’s area includes 20-foot walls with top ropes, auto belay and three hydraulic walls for system board training. The gym has climber’s training needs covered with a full fitness area containing free weights, machines and cardio equipment.
It’s rare for Atlanta’s climbers to get their hands on fresh, new holds. The last gym to open was Stone Summit’s Atlanta location on Presidential Parkway in 2010. Now the Kennesaw location extends the indoor climbing scene “Outside the Perimeter” toward Chattanooga, where many avid climbers go for outdoor routes.
Stone Summit Kennesaw is located at 2801 George Busbee Parkway, Kennesaw. Hours and directions can be found on their website. Note that Stone Summit Atlanta and Stone Summit Kennesaw have separate memberships. Information on rates can be found here.