The Source’s building, on the southeast corner of 12th and Main, is the first new construction on Main Street in a number of years. Lary and Kroesen built from the ground up, creating 4,973 square feet of bouldering and roped climbing areas, restrooms, a lobby and mezzanine. The bouldering area includes 1,100 square feet of climbing terrain, and the roped area features a 100-foot-long and 36-foot-high climbing wall with slabs and overhangs that create 3,900 square feet of climbing surface. The mezzanine includes mixed and roped climbing terrain, at about 850 square feet. The owners also took great care to create a dedicated kids’ area, which can accommodate birthday parties and kids’ classes while still serving other clients – something no other facility in the metro area has.
A state-of-the-art HVAC system pre-filters climbers’ chalk dust from the air and gives the Source the best air and light quality in the area, according to Lary. And then, of course, there’s the building’s striking exterior – one-of-a-kind stainless steel artwork that evokes a climbing wall. On the building’s east side, a 34-foot window looks out onto Main Street and gives passers-by a view inside.
Lary and Kroesen met in 2002 and worked together at the Portland Rock Gym. They had the spark of an idea for a Vancouver climbing gym in 2007. By 2009, they’d found local interest and private investors, and began searching for the right property. In July 2010, they purchased the current location. Construction began in May 2011, finished in September, and they opened the doors on November 11, 2011. Since opening, the Source has organized events like the Reel Rock Tour that filled the Kiggins Theater, and a USA Climbing-sanctioned route-setting clinic that drew attendees from across the country.
One of the reasons Source has been so successful, according to the owners, is their friendly, helpful staff. Lary and Kroesen make it very clear to all employees that the business’s mission is “to provide a better climbing experience every day.” They strive to offer climbing opportunities for any level of experience: group lessons, private lessons, technique classes, a clinic just for women and much more; it simply depends on what their climbers want and need.
In just a few short months, the Source Climbing Center has become an integral part of Vancouver’s developing downtown, and a valuable member of Southwest Washington’s recreation community.
“With the success and support of our community already in the first four months of operating,” says Lary, “we look forward to many more innovative events, programs, and developments in 2012 and many years to come.”
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