Vertical World - America's First Climbing Gym® was the first indoor climbing gym in North America.  Located in Washington State, there are currently two rock climbing gyms: Magnolia, Seattle and Redmond, Washington. A third location is scheduled to open to the north, near Lynnwood, Washington in 2017. At approximately 12,000 sq ft, the Seattle location boasts up to 50' lead climbing and top rope climbing walls, as well as a bouldering area. Each location hosts a variety of activities and programs for the beginner to advanced climber, complete with shower facilities and fitness areas. The new North location is anticipated to be over 20,000 sq ft. Vertical World accommodates a variety of offerings beyond just programs to learn how to rock climb, but performance and educational programs in fitness, yoga, and custom group events including birthday parties, school or church groups, corporate events, private parties, and youth camps.
Vertical World was originally established as the Vertical Club by Rich Johnston and Dan Cauthorn in 1987 on Elliott Ave. in Seattle, Washington, later changing the name to Vertical World in 1994. A relatively primitive climbing facility by today's standards, the Vertical Club consisted of approximately 3,000 sq ft of floor space and 2,000 sq ft of climbing surface, with pea gravel as a landing surface. As pioneers of the U.S. indoor climbing industry, Rich and Dan glued actual rocks to painted plywood panels and cinder block walls. Climbing holds and climbing wall paneling weren't available stateside at that time. As of 2017, these materials like climbing holds are now sold at local retail shops, while wall panels, design, and manufacturing are available around the globe by companies like Vertical World's own Elevate Climbing Walls. Elevate has built 7 Vertical World locations over the years and several hundred external wall projects around the country.
Today, Vertical World is known for its identifiable panel colors, world class route setting, 5-time National Championship climbing team, and its deep involvement within the northwest climbing community. Working closely with nonprofit climbing organizations like the American Alpine Club, The Access Fund, and the Washington Climbers Coalition, Vertical World has made a commitment to its relationships by providing monetary donations and stewardship support on an annual basis.
The incorporation of a dedicated fitness area and equipment were always a part of the gym since 1987. Gym members of all climbing disciplines use the variety of free weights, cable machines, and climbing specific training boards. Fitness related programs and personal training are also provided to members, including open-to-the-public health, training, and physical therapy clinics.
Gym locations, hours, website and costs:
The Vertical World Climbing Team, also established in 1987, consists of many of the nation's strongest youth climbers. Its colors are Red and White. Its key symbol/logo is a shield featuring Seattle's icon - the Space Needle with the words reading: Vertical World Climbing Team est. 1987. For the past 15 years, Vertical World Climbing Team has consistently placed in the Top 3 at both the ABS and SCS National Championships.
Team Vertical World has participated in many National Championships across the U.S. the last few years, placing first four times, and also second on two occasions. Vertical World has also had members of their team go to both the IFSC Climbing Youth and Adult World Championships.
Vertical World Climbing Team has sent more kids to international competitions than any other team in the United States behind Team Texas.
Tyson Schoene is the current head coach of the Vertical World Climbing Team.
Ross Halverson was a Redmond coach until his untimely end on 09/07/14 in a climbing accident.
Alex Fritz has taken over the duties as the Redmond coach after Ross's accident.