Story, photos by Cassie Hepler
Imagine a world with no rock climbing gyms. Well, that used to exist. But in Philly, we are luckily spoiled.
Founded in 1994, the first Philadelphia Rock Gym was built by two college friends, Greg and Matt, who had a vision to bring their passion and enthusiasm for climbing back to their hometown and to make a living doing what they loved. By taking the smart step of bringing climbing inside and available rain, snow or sunshine, they became one of the first indoor climbing centers in the U.S. Now these guys dominate Philadelphia and the suburbs with rock climbing gyms in East Falls, Oaks, Coatesville and Wyncote. The further out you go, the taller the climbs because there’s more space in the burbs obviously.
Since then, the PRG has introduced more than 40,000 people to the amazing sport of rock climbing. The dedication to excellence and safety is evident in the way we were immediately trained before climbing (thanks goodness because it’s been since High Adventure camp since I climbed). They also have available gyms to work out or warm up, outdoor training and expeditions all over the U.S., and the philosophy of climbing to promote team development and leadership skills.
Climbing is for people who are sick of the gym monotony. It’s more than just physical activity. It’s also a mental game of strategy, a great way to get in shape, to lose weight, to meet new and interesting people, to build confidence and to overcome your fear of heights. It’s also challenging and hard. Like solving a vertical puzzle, it’s satisfying (and frustrating at points) and you have to slowly build your muscles to finish the task at hand. OK, enough talking let’s get to the climbing!
PRG’s mission statement is to build a community of climbers dedicated to sharing the passion and rewards that this unique and wonderful sport can bring. Each Philadelphia Rock Gym is committed to providing a fun and challenging environment for climbers of all skill levels. And the first climb is free. At the PRG, your total satisfaction is their priority. We concur and will be back again… and hopefully next time outside on real rocks!