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Feature Stories April 11, 2013  RSS feed

Rock Climbing GymComing To L. l. C.; Biggest On East

13,000 Sq. Ft. Of Climbing Surface
by Max Jaeger


Mike Wolfert and his team are still building out the interior of their soon-to-be rock climbing gym Cliffs at L.I.C. on 44th Avenue in Long Island City (top photo). After they are done, the site will look more like his current gym, Cliffs at Valhalla (bottom photo). Mike Wolfert and his team are still building out the interior of their soon-to-be rock climbing gym Cliffs at L.I.C. on 44th Avenue in Long Island City (top photo). After they are done, the site will look more like his current gym, Cliffs at Valhalla (bottom photo). Soon, rock climbers in Queens won’t have to leave the borough to find a gym dedicated to climbing.

The Cliffs at L.I.C. will open in Long Island City in May, said owner Mike Wolfert.

The site boasts 13,000 square feet of climbing terrain for “top rope” and “bouldering” enthusiasts and can accommodate 500 climbers at once, Wolfert said. It may be the largest in the country, and its certainly among the top three, he added.

Top-roping involves a rope, harness and belayer—someone who keeps tension on the rope to prevent long falls should the climber slip. Bouldering is a free climb up smaller, sometimes inverted, faces.

Wolfert said all employees will be trained and certified, adding the facitly has “robust insurance.”

“It’s actually less impact than running,” he said of the sport.

According to Wolfert, climbing routes will be set by a cadre of professionals who create routes for national competitions. To keep patrons from getting bored, there will be new routes to try every day.

“That’s great if you’re an avid climber looking for new challenges,” said Elana Ehrenberg, a climber who lives in Bushwick. “On the flip side, if you’ve been working on a particular problem and the route changes, your work is kind of lost.