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Glendale Heights welcomes nation's largest rock-climbing facility

GLENDALE HEIGHTS – Attention daredevils and adventurers: The largest rock-climbing facility in the United States is currently under construction in Glendale Heights.

Although the grand opening celebration for the new Vertical Endeavors will not take place until Aug. 16, climbing enthusiasts will be able to come and climb as early as Aug. 1.

“For the grand opening, we’re offering free climbing all day, along with all kinds of vendors, food trucks and bands,” said Nate Postma, president and owner of Vertical Endeavors. “We’ll have five of the best climbers in the world come in and do demonstrations.”

Rock-climbing movies and slideshows also will be shown, after which people can try climbing the wall for themselves, Postma said.

The new indoor climbing gym, which is the fifth location for Vertical Endeavors, has 42,000 square feet of floor space, 44,000 square feet of climbing surface and more than 180 climbing routes.

Vertical Endeavors took out a loan to pay for this $4 million project, Postma said. The climbing wall is being built by Nicros Inc., and all the interior structure is being completed by Klien.

The project has taken about nine months to complete, after starting off with an empty warehouse.

“We had to bring in electrical and water, sewer, gas, doors, windows, exits and bathrooms,” Postma said. “This will be the biggest climbing facility in the country. Someone may come in and build a bigger one later, but for now, we have the notoriety.”

The gym, located at 246 Windy Point Drive, has all the amenities typical to indoor climbing gyms, such as bathrooms, lounge areas, showers and party rooms, he said. It also has dedicated areas for hardcore climbers and beginners.

“Beginners don’t need to be in the hardcore climbers' area and vice versa,” Postma said.

Vertical Endeavors is for all ages and abilities and offers a full range of services, from beginner lessons to high-end training for serious climbers. The gym also contains areas for birthday parties and Boy Scout troops.

“The gym welcomes all the newcomers to the sport," Postma said. "It’s unique and was built for everyone."

Another Vertical Endeavors site is located in Warrenville, and the rest are in Minnesota. The company is already negotiating the terms and lease for its sixth indoor climbing gym, which will be located north of Chicago, Postma said.

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