Steamboat Climbing Collective hopes to bring new energy, experience to indoor gym

Gabriela Boomgarden climbs inside the Steamboat Climbing Collective during a camp on Monday, June 6, 2022. The climbing gym at 2673 Jacob Circle in Steamboat was purchased by Karla Lankford in December and reopened earlier this spring.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

On Monday morning, June 6, the space inside the Steamboat Climbing Collective was filled with the energy of dozens of children as they played games and tested their skills on the gym’s 2,245 square feet of brightly colored climbing walls.

“We are working to make it more of a family and community-oriented gym,” said Karla Lankford, who purchased the Love, Climbing, Adventure gym in December. “I owned a climbing gym in Boulder for 10 years and I had retired. This gym was being liquidated, and I just didn’t want the community to lose the climbing gym. I felt it was important.”

She spent four months cleaning, painting and making improvements that she hopes will carry the gym into the future before reopening at the end of March as the Steamboat Climbing Collective.

Lankford said the new gym will offer camps, walls and areas designed with children in mind, but she is also hoping to offer a place for more experienced climbers in Steamboat Springs as well.

The gym features plenty of climbing and rope walls with a few added features for more advanced climbers, including an adjustable climbing wall and a campus board training tool for improving one’s rock climbing skills.

Lankford is also waiting for a floor pad that has been held up by supply chain issues to complete a children’s climbing area that includes a slide. There will also be a birthday room coming in the next few months.

Lankford spent decades working in the outdoor industry, in sales and marketing at different ski areas and as the majority owner of the recreational side of ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder until last summer.

Clark Melton, 6, takes on a climbing course at the Steamboat Climbing Collective during a camp on Monday, June 6, 2022.
John F, Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

She had planned to retire, but when she learned that the climbing gym was for sale, she reached out to one of her long-standing managers to see if they would join her in Steamboat.

As a result, Holly Seamans agreed to come along to work as a manager at Lankford’s newest venture.

Seamans grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts and began climbing at age 18. She has worked at several climbing centers, including MetroRock Climbing Centers and EVO Rock+Fitness, where she earned her certification as a climbing wall instructor provider and was promoted to program coordinator.

After climbing the ladder, Seamans took some time off starting in 2021 to pursue her own climbing adventures traveling across Colorado, Arizona, Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, Moab, Indian Creek and Yosemite National Park. She spent a summer in Mammoth Lakes, California, and enjoyed climbing all over the Eastern Sierra region.

Seamans will help develop and train the staff at Steamboat Climbing Collective, which will offer programs for children ages 6-12, including camps ranging from three-day to five-day camps that run half and full days.

Lankford is also excited about foundation classes for children ages 4-14, where they can learn or improve skills though interactive games and activities. The new gym will also offer a couple of competitive programs for youth, including pre-Team for those age 7-9, and Team for 9 and older.

There will also be plenty for adults, including belay and bouldering classes with a class for people 55-and-older coming soon. The Steamboat Climbing Collective also plans to reserve the first Thursday of every month for female climbers.

The climbing gym is open from 9 a.m to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. However, Lankford said Monday through Friday mornings are limited to children’s programs, and the gym is open from noon to 8 p.m. in the evenings.

The Steamboat Climbing Collective offers daily passes for $17, memberships for $60 a month and monthly passes for $70. There are also family memberships and punch pass options for those looking to save some money.

“I’m looking forward to establishing a family-friendly gym where people of all ages can climb,” Larkford said. “I really am excited. But the upstairs area, the kids area, it’s just all coming together really, really well.”

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