Spartans reach new heights with rock climbing


Chloe Carter

Chloe Carter (12) scales the walls at Memphis Rox.

Up until last year, there was not a single rock climbing gym in Memphis. However, with the recent opening of Memphis Rox, the largest nonprofit climbing facility in the country, and High Point Climbing and Fitness, a new opportunity has arisen for both experienced and amateur climbers in the Memphis area.

“I took a long break [from when I first started rock climbing] because the closest place to us was in Nashville at Climb Nashville. So when I heard there was one here, I was really excited, and I was really stoked to go to it,” Ethan Shepherd (10), who first began rock climbing six years ago, said.

Since these two facilities have opened, Memphians have gained access to an unusual exercise experience—one that can’t be found at a typical gym.

“It’s like an easy way to exercise, and it’s like really fun, too, because there’s different ways to do it,” Troy Lurie (12) said. “There’s like something for everyone.”

In addition to providing a unique physical challenge, rock climbing can also serve as a means to release emotional tension.

“It’s definitely given me a place where I can go to and just like work out any excess anger,” Shepherd said. “If I’m like mad then I’ll climb up a couple walls, I’ll use the upstairs gym that they have at Memphis Rox.”

The appeal is also rooted in the fact that rock climbing is not exclusively an individual sport.

“It’s a really fun group activity. It’s like something people can do with their friends,” Chloe Carter (12) said. “I think it’s growing a lot, and it’s helping the community.”

Whether it’s because of its impact on climbers’ physical health, emotions or the community as a whole, rock climbing has certainly established a firm presence in Memphis and shows no signs of disappearing.