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Davis, California

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Rocknasium expands into neighboring suites

After 20 years in the same location, owners Mark Leffler and Carter Shmeck decided to expand Rocknasium, a local rock climbing gym, into its neighboring suites.

The new space, at 4,800 square feet, is quite a bit larger than the old 3,600 square feet space.

“The new space is in the same building, 100 feet to the west,” said Rocknasium manager Andy Fish.

Rocknasium has been a hallmark of Davis since its construction in 1992 by the original owners Leffler and David Schlosser.

Leffler got the idea to construct the Rocknasium when he went back to his hometown of Allentown, Pennyslvania in the winter of 1990.

“I thought to myself, if it can make it here, it can do really well in California,” Leffler said.

The original gym, at 2,400 square feet, took Leffler and Schlosser six months to build.

“Over the years we have expanded,” Leffler said. “Recently the property owners offered us a bit more square footage, and we jumped on the opportunity.”

When they first opened, Rocknasium’s business climbed steadily, but eventually plateaued. Now it caters more to members than big groups.

“A lot of college kids have discovered it, and the teen population,” Leffler said. “There are people here that have been members for 20 years. People graduate and leave, but when they come back to Davis, they visit. Everyone gets along.”

The gym’s strong community even helped them through their recent expansion.

“Me and a climbing company built the climbing wall ourselves, but we had some help from our members,” Leffler said.

Expansion has allowed the gym to build upward, as well as increase their bouldering area.

“Bouldering is when you are unroped and climb up the walls,” Leffler said.

They have also added a yoga room, showers and expanded their bathrooms.

“It’s a lot bigger, there’s lots of different climbing surfaces, and there’s a bigger archway for climbing,” Fish said.

Rocknasium offers a multitude of programs and events, including climbing competitions in the winter months and the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival tour, hosted at Davis Senior High School.

“The festival sells out every night at 500 people a night,” Leffler said. “Rocknasium has been hosting the festival for 12 or 13 years now.”

Rocknasium also offers theme parties for its members. They host overnighters where people can climb from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning.

The gym also hosts clinics and kids’ competitions. One, which takes place in May, is part of the United States climbing tour series.

Climbing classes are offered for climbers of all levels.

“Our main goal is to make all our members get stronger at climbing,” Leffler said. “Climbing is a lot of technique, and we want to give people classes to make them more advanced climbers.”

Yoga classes will be offered in the new yoga room, the schedules for which have not yet been finalized.

EINAT GILBOA can be reached city@theaggie.org.


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