The other day I had the privilege of visiting my friend Andrew Hou at his new gym, Uplift Climbing. As one of the genuinely nicest guys I know, I was excited for him and to see what he's been working on over the last several months throughout the pandemic.
Walking into Uplift was awesome. Opening with bright and inviting walls as soon as you enter the door with an unimtimidating and welcoming atmosphere. It brought me back to a time in my life when climbing was all I had, and really all I wanted.
That time dates back to the mid 90's, when I worked as a route setter for Climbmax, a local gym in Tempe, Arizona owned by my friend Mike Covington. It was a smaller gym compared to its neighboring counterparts, and located in a less busy part of town. But what it lacked in square footage and locale was made up by the adamantined, tight knit community of climbers who sessioned together throughout the weekdays, to meet again to climb outside on the weekends. It didn't matter how hard anyone climbed, but that everyone believed the same thing: climbing was everything.
Since then, while I've made lifelong relationships across my hometown communities over the years, I'm always drawn back to that quiet corner of Tempe and that small gym je ne sais quoi. I felt a bit of that old nostalgia when I was sessioning with Andrew that night. Looking around and imagining what it'll be like when the doors finally get a chance to open and the community develops around the gym. I idealize the thought like a scene out of the 80/90's tv show Cheers. "Where everyone knows your name."
"Uplift Climbing is my dream gym. Putting a gym on the North side of town is exciting enough (no more cross town drives during rush hour!), but we're really focusing on building a gym where trying hard is the norm. We want Uplift to be a community of people where asking "what's your proj?" is common, and people give their all on V0, V10, and everything in between. I feed off that energy to become the best climber I can be, and I can't wait to give that energy back to this community." - Andrew Hou
Speaking of microgyms, there's the added benefit of the microbrew pub Monka Brewing Co. in the adjacent parking lot. The raspberry sour is tasty, and Trez, one of the owners, is pretty rad.