DETROIT (WXYZ) — Indoor rock climbing has continued to grow throughout the United States, and the first indoor climbing gym in the City of Detroit is expected to open later this year in Eastern Market.
Dino Ruggeri, 31, from Grosse Pointe, said DYNO Detroit is expected to open in November. It will be located at 1840 Mack Ave. near Orleans and the Dequindre Cut in the north end of Eastern Market.
Ruggeri got into indoor climbing during his senior year at the University of Michigan. He said he would spend 4-5 days every week at Planet Rock, one of two indoor climbing gyms in metro Detroit. After moving to Colorado and working as a ski instructor and outdoor educator, he moved back to Detroit to begin work on the climbing gym.
While there are climbing walls at Wayne State University and the YMCA that can introduce people to the sport, Ruggeri said he wanted to create a community and a climbing culture in the city, and use the indoors to get people outdoors.
"I wanted to share climbing with people who might not have had an opportunity to try it otherwise. To provide a gateway to this outdoor lifestyle, to this identity of a climber," he said. "I thought it would be a really cool addition to the city that’s not a restaurant, not a bar, or shopping. It’s something that’s really accessible."
Originally, Ruggeri said he found a space in an old church in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood, but it fell through. Then, they found a space in Eastern Market in an old freezer building. That building ended up getting leased out, but with the help of the landlord and Eastern Market Corporation, a new building is being built to house DYNO Detroit.
The building is more than 17,000 square feet and will feature 75 different rope routes, boulder problems and more. There will be top-rope climbing, lead climbing and bouldering, according to Ruggeri. Walls will start at 30 feet and go up to 44 feet. Bouldering walls will start at 12 feet and go up to 15 feet. Those walls are expected to be delivered in the coming weeks and installed after delivery.
For those not familiar, the breakdown of each type of climbing is below.
- Top-Rope Climbing – This is the most-common type of climbing, according to REI, and where most people begin with harness-and-rope climbing. The rope is secured to an anchor at the top of the wall while the other end is held by your partner, a belayer, who holds and runs the rope as you climb the wall and catches the rope in case you fall.
- Lead Climbing – According to REI, when lead climbing, you'll tie into one end of the rope and as you climb, clip it into quickdraws attached to bolts on the wall. You will have a belayer. If you slip or can't stay on the wall, you'll fall a short distance back to the last clipped in spot.
- Bouldering – This is the climbing that requires no rope or harness. You climb different routes close to the group and a crash pad is beneath you in case you fall.
Climbing, according to Ruggeri, isn't accessible if you don't have a gym or a wall, but it's incredibly beneficial for mental and physical fitness.
"It’s movement, strength, coordination, but mentally it’s stimulating as well because it’s problem-solving, trying-again, teaching you to trust yourself and not give up, and when you succeed, it’s really rewarding," he said.
Jason Kehl, a professional climber, is designing the gym. Ruggeri said he wanted the walls to be extremely unique and function so there's a lot of flexibility with the way they set different climbing routes. It will have a cubic theme throughout the gym.
"We paid a lot of attention to wall angles to create a distribution of terrain that serves everyone," he said. "So we have beginner terrain, intermediate, all the way to expert. I want to include everyone in the mix, and not just have one style of climbing support."
On top of climbing, there will be an area for yoga and an area for fitness with different weights and cardio machines.
DYNO is expected to open in November, if climbing gyms are allowed to open under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive order. They will have memberships, day passes and 10-punch card passes.
Ruggeri's wants to use his passion for indoor climbing to get others involved in the sport while having fun and creating that community seen throughout climbing gyms in the country.
"I really wanted to bring something that was exciting, positive, and that you feel better for having done, something that you feel was valuable. Whether you continue to climb or not is up to that individual," he said. "I want to bring down the barriers to get into indoor climbing and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to try it and enjoy it."