- Birmingham Boulders
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The poster-child for why Birmingham was noted in Outside Magazine's Best Towns list, this beautiful facility is actually one of two owned by the same climbers, Joe Ortega and Tim Diegmann. Dedicated specifically to bouldering, Joe and Tim expanded from the original facility First Ave Rocks to accommodate massive growth in the climbing community over the past years. Featuring just over 6,600 sq.ft. of climbing, the design relies on both ARC and MLM construction to provide challenge and variety to their member-base. Whats more, is the 1,500 sq.ft. of climbing walls in The Forge training area, which allows members 24/7 access to tackle getting to the next level. This is truly Birminghams "climber's gym," as you see how much focus is placed on not only making climbers, but making climbers better.
Birmingham Boulders: One of the multiple freestanding bouldering centerpieces at this modern indoor climbing gym, called the Funnel Boulder. Behind, you can see the walls wrap around to form the deep cave designated simply as The Wave.
Birmingham Boulders: The other freestanding bouldering wall called the S-Wall, completed using ARC design and construction exclusively from Vertical Solutions.
Birmingham Boulders: This being a bouldering-specific facility, still has beginner-level rope climbing on auto-belays to transition youth climbers interested in making the jump. Birmingham Boulders sister facility, First Ave Rocks, is also focused specifically on bouldering.
Birmingham Boulders: A separate bouldering section made from MLM design and construction is seen here, incorporating the same custom paint and texture finish used throughout the facility.
Birmingham Boulders: An exclusive area to The Forge members 24 hours a day, this training area is top-notch. It features all of the usual suspects like Campus and Systems walls, but also adds a 40º Tension Board and staggering 28 feet of a 70º roof!
Birmingham Boulders: An exterior view just before dark shows the inviting design of this building's appearance, as well as how consistently branded the whole facility is. Its also easy to see where all of their natural light comes from.
Birmingham Boulders: What you are greeted with upon entry; the front desk for check-in but more importantly a wide-angle view of much of the facility's offerings, including the lounge area up the stairs to the left.
Birmingham Boulders: A view from the right hand observation deck that faces the North Wall and auto-belay areas which are focused a bit more on youth climbing and instruction.
Birmingham Boulders: A wide view of the North Wall which typically features setting for youth on the right hand side, and is conveniently located next to the party rooms.
Birmingham Boulders: Another view of the North bouldering wall, this time a close-up showing the details involved in the seamless MLM geometric design. The branding extends from the climbing walls to the party room walls, which feature custom-stained hardwood strips.
Birmingham Boulders: A detail shot of the Funnel Boulder, up-close and personal showing the texture that was chosen by the owner to produce ample grip for difficult problems. It may not look like much, but Vertical Solutions can supply any level of grip you want in custom stains and paints for your climbing walls.
Birmingham Boulders: A grand shot showing the infamous and aptly-named Wave wall on the right, and the Funnel Boulder in the middle which always has a 360º traversing problem set on it. B2 challenges climbers to execute in both directions!
Birmingham Boulders: The South Wall of the facility that has gentle and subtle ARC curves designed to flow into the classic Wave bouldering cave.
Birmingham Boulders: Another wide shot of the climbing gym which shows how seamless and natural the edges of adjoining ARC walls come together.
Birmingham Boulders: One of the two interior doors that separate The Forge from the bouldering areas. Left open during normal business hours, these get closed to allow 24 hour access to the training area for Forge members who require flexibility in their schedule.
Birmingham Boulders: A classic view of the most challenging climbing walls in this gym. Two climbers are sizing up problems on The Wave, which have some intimidating heights.
Birmingham Boulders: Unassuming from the outside, this facility has an impressive amount of openness and space within, once members arrive and explore. The layout allows for a large capacity without feeling cramped.
Birmingham Boulders: Getting worked on the climbing walls? Consider stepping next door to The Forge to up your game and train at a top-notch facility, seen here through the garage door.
Birmingham Boulders: An unmistakeable branding feature of this facility: The detail wood decor on the locker rooms and party rooms, tying the whole facility together for a consistent look and feel with the climbing walls.
Birmingham Boulders: The south-facing side of the Center Boulder with both Shovel and Comp walls, are immediately to climbers left as you check-in at the front desk.
Birmingham Boulders: The upper mezzanine area for climbers to take a break and catch up on some reading, or fuel themselves for the next session.
Birmingham Boulders: What a climber would see coming down from the mezzanine, showing how steep and high not only the Wave is, but also the north size of the Funnel Boulder.
Birmingham Boulders: This is what a 70º climbing roof looks like. This angle makes the 55º opposite wall look tame by comparison. Both serve to make a serious and unique impression on climbers who think they are worthy.
Birmingham Boulders: Not your average training room: This wide shot shows the abundance of training tools at your disposal, in addition to the menacing roofs lurking in the background (all built by VS!).
Birmingham Boulders: This image shows the North Wall which was built using MLM geometric designs, next to the S-Wall, clearly using ARC curved climbing walls with the same material.
Birmingham Boulders: Lots of space for climbers to spread out in this facility, as you can see here from the S-Wall looking towards the Funnel Boulder and South Wall area.
Birmingham Boulders: Authentically Birmingham, the facade has gorgeous signage on the outside straddling the glass walls in the center, giving passers-by a peek into what is going on inside.