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The Rise of Rock Climbing in Miami

by Benjamin Corral

Photo by Viktor Bystrov on Unsplash

There is a certain allure to rock climbing. The idea of battling a large mountain and winning appeals to many people of many different backgrounds. Unfortunately for many, rock climbing is not an accessible sport, due to there not being any elevation near them. This is extremely true in Miami, where the tallest natural place that most people go is the hill at Tropical Park. Despite this lack of availability, many people are still drawn to the sport. 

There are many reasons that people enjoy rock climbing. Juan Sanchez '24, a climber of four years, is one of these people.

He states, “I started because I believed Rock Climbing was a very stoic sport that required a ton of determination and resolve.”

Rock climbing as a sport requires a large amount of dedication, however also has a massive payoff.

Sanchez says, “There is no better feeling than finally succeeding in climbing a route I’ve been working on for a while.”

Sean Murphy says he has been climbing for 3 years, and says that he joined because rock climbing is an easy way to get active. Alongside being a challenging and rewarding sport, rock climbing is a very effective way to exercise.

The CCHS Rock Climbing Club moderator, Mr. Gonzalez, says that when he climbed regularly, “I was in the best shape of my life.”

The many different appeals of rock climbing have fostered a large community that has only kept on growing. The community is a large part of the reason many people stay climbing. While many things draw people to climb, it is very difficult to start. The determination required to continue climbing is often drawn from other members of the climbing community. Murphy is one such person, who has been able to go consistently due to having a group of friends he climbs with.

“I know most of the people that go to the gym I go to and I have a group of friends that meets every Wednesday to climb for about 2 hours,” he said. The climbing community is extremely welcoming, which means that even if someone goes by themselves for the first time, it is very easy for them to find a warm community. 

This growing community is now causing more climbing gyms to open. Two large-scale climbing gyms are being opened in the greater Miami area soon. Alongside the already existing Edge Rock Climbing Gym, there is Velocity Climbing opening in Allapattah, and Central Rock opening in Wynwood. Central Rock is a chain of gyms that has locations all across the country. The gyms plan on hosting competitions, which serve to increase the appeal of rock climbing even more, extending it to people who may be more competitive and want to climb against other people. These climbing gyms are opening due to the increasing market for rock climbing, which is due to this increase in community.

Sanchez noted, “I have noticed that Rock Climbing as a sport has grown immensely throughout the sports community and my school.”

These new gyms opening up are just the beginning, as there will likely be more opening up in the future. 

Alongside the general increase in popularity of the sport, there has been a rise in interest at our very own school, Christopher Columbus High School. Sanchez says that he had noticed the rising interest in the sport and decided to try to start a club, however was beaten to the punch by students Lucas Hengartner '24 and Alexis Penalver '24.

When asked why he decided to create the club, Lucas said,“I decided to create the rock climbing club because I had been climbing on and off for most of my life and wanted to get back into it more seriously. I saw many of my friends expressing interest in the sport so I figured it was the perfect time.” 

The sport has climbed in popularity in the face of the city's flat terrain, bringing the community to new heights.

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