A December update for everyone on where we are at and where things are going!
Climb Together, Reach Higher
Dear Skyhook Bouldering Community
We're excited to provide you with the latest updates about Skyhook Bouldering, the upcoming bouldering gym in Portland, Oregon. As we tirelessly work to bring you an extraordinary climbing experience, we want to share our progress, challenges, and our unwavering commitment to delivering the best climbing gym possible.
Construction Progress: We're thrilled to announce that about two-thirds of our climbing walls are now standing tall, a testament to our unrelenting dedication to building an exceptional climbing facility. We started applying the epoxy coating to the walls, and the color scheme already looks sharp! The remaining walls are ready to be put up, the panels are cut and t-nutted, and the steel frames are welded and ready to be tipped up and installed, but here's where we've hit a roadblock. Delays and Challenges: We want to be completely transparent with our community. The biggest hurdle we've faced during this journey is the permitting process. Despite our best efforts, it's been an arduous and slow journey that feels like hitting our heads against the walls—pun intended. We've partnered with Faster Permits, an engineering company, and an architecture firm to navigate this challenging landscape, and spent more than $250k on their services and the permits themselves. But even with these resources, we've come to understand why more than one in four businesses in Portland open without permits. The process is not only expensive and time-consuming but often seems arbitrarily cruel. Our interactions with city officials have generally been positive, but the process itself leaves much to be desired. However, rest assured, we remain steadfast in our commitment to doing things the right way, even when the path is fraught with obstacles. Timeline Updates: Originally, we aimed for a quarter one 2024 opening, with hopes for the earlier end of that range. Due to the permitting delays, we're now looking at the later part of quarter one, and possibly even April as a more realistic opening target. Despite these challenges, we're working tirelessly to minimize further delays.
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Graffiti Heartbreak: In addition to the permitting challenges, we've been continually heartbroken by the amount and frequency of graffiti on our new buildings walls. This building sat vacant for more than 15 years and became known as one of the spots to go tag in the area by local teenagers. While we understand the history, it's painful to see our building marred by graffiti each week. Hours that could be spent on construction are instead dedicated to repainting and/or stripping paint from the walls. Despite these challenges, we're determined to turn this space into a vibrant climbing haven for our community. Between labor and materials, we have spent at least 10k on cleaning up graffiti, which is unfortunately money we had to remove from other parts of our budget, so we have less to spend on things to actually improve the space for you, our members.
Pictured above, are just a random selection of some of the graffiti we have gotten. The ones that get put on the aggregate stone siding that cant be painted over are the worst. Even with corrosive chemicals, a 1ft by 1ft tag takes about 2hours to remove.
Facility Highlights: We can't contain our excitement as our climbing area takes shape. Our gym features wall angles that are unlike any other across the country, which we hope will provide a unique and thrilling climbing experience. What sets us apart and makes it so we can craft such cool walls, is that we own the construction company responsible for the walls, allowing us to craft a design that is truly exceptional. Because of that, we will also open with more than 300 volumes, more than 4 times as many as most gyms our size would have! Additionally, our location in the vibrant heart of the city will be a "third space" for climbers to relax and socialize, not just climb! We are going to make that happen by having a dedicated co-working space (on weekdays), and tons of space for people to hang out, sit, relax by the wood stove, play board games, and train, of course!
Membership and Pre-Sales: We've launched pre-sales for memberships, and the response has been incredible. Secure your spot today and take advantage of our exclusive founding membership rates. Your support helps us keep pushing through the permitting challenges! We are currently offering the best possible price for our first 100 founding members, lock in that good good pricing now, before prices go up!
Staff and Instructors: Meet some of our passionate team members: Joel Benner (pictured above middle), our Head Routesetter, and Jamie Buck (pictured above left), our General Manager. More positions will be filled soon, and staff from our Tigard location can request shifts at the SE location as we expand our team. We have had a fair number of people inquire about working at Skyhook Bouldering, currently we are hiring at our Tigard location, just 16 minutes away from our SE location, so apply and let us know that you want to switch locations once we need more staff in SE! Events and Programs: As we approach our grand opening, we have exciting promotions in store. The first 100 members will enjoy unbeatable rates, and our paid-in-full pricing is truly exceptional. We're also offering hard hat tours for those interested in a sneak peek of our gym. Email us to schedule a tour—spots are limited! (hard hat tours are just a way for us to say the gym is still under active construction, you don't need to bring a hardhat.) Community Involvement: We are committed to engaging with the local climbing and outdoor community in Portland. To ensure inclusivity and accessibility, we will establish a board of community members to advise us on various policies and initiatives. We are happy to say that we will be getting help on this front from the founders of Rock and Run, a Portland based climbing and running club who are passionate advocates for their community. Know someone who might be a good fit on our advisory board? Have them send us an email! More details still to come, as we have just ironed out the large parts of this process, and are still working on what exactly it will look like.
Get in Touch
For inquiries, membership details, or more information, don't hesitate to reach out to us:
Despite the challenges we've faced, we're more determined than ever to deliver an outstanding bouldering experience to our community. Stay tuned for further updates, and we can't wait to climb with you in the near future! Climb on! Cody K-J CEO, Owner Skyhook Bouldering