New Name Same Values

We’ve been in this business for 25 years, so we started with that old school, laid back, hand-made climbing wall crag. And then the sport exploded, it was added to the Olympics, people were telling us how great that “Free Solo” movie was, and bam, it’s moved from fringe hobby to center spotlight. We love it, we love growth, and we love our community. Which is why as everything has evolved around us, we wanted to make sure we were keeping up and capable of offering our members everything they could want or need.

If you’ve been with us from the beginning, you know that we started out in Columbus, Ohio in 1994. Just a young, local family operating a climbing gym while letting the kids run around (safely supervised by the staff). We were having so much fun, and the kids were growing up, so we took on some partners and launched an even bigger gym just down the road. We transformed the original spot into a youth training facility, where the kids have coaches dedicated to their development and this year, we’re sending 5 to represent Team Vertical at Youth Bouldering Nationals. #humblebrag

Of course, that wasn’t quite enough, we wanted to try this Bouldering-only thing that everyone’s been talking about so last year we opened Chambers in the heart of Grandview. We don’t mean to boast, but it’s mega cool, featuring the ONLY Tension Board in the state, and since we’re foodies we can’t get enough of all the local eats and craft brews that come with the urban setting.

Now that we’re operating 3 facilities, we figured, let’s do some more! To help manage everyone and everything, we decided to launch 5.Life as a parent company for the different community gyms. Each location keeps its name and programming and atmosphere remains tailored to the community. The administrative responsibilities get rolled up to the top, so our amazing staff can serve the needs and personality of their local communities and focus on what matters most: giving every climber the most fantastic climbing experience they’ve ever had.

We know, you’re wondering where that name came from. As a pro climber yourself, you probably recognize the 5.[Number] as a rating system for routes designated by the Yosemite Decimal System. Since we’re life-long climbers, and we hope to impart a life-long love of the sport in everyone who climbs with us, we thought, hey 5.Life. Because flappers and climbing shoe stank are FOREVER and our enduring project no matter what we accomplish on rock or in business is “Life” itself.

Now that you know how we got here, stay tuned to hear about where we’re going.