Southeast of the heart of downtown sits a 10,000-square-foot facility that many would consider a rock climber’s dream.
On Sept. 16, Cody Erickson, owner and rock-climbing enthusiast, opened Terra Firma Bouldering, a business he’d been designing for over a year.
“I really love rock climbing, and we wanted to bring something to the area that’s happening on a national level,” he said.
The modern, sleek design and furnishings of Terra Firma Bouldering creates a warm aesthetic when you walk through the door. The gym has multiple climbing walls, free weights and ropes, and a yoga studio. Along with its training space and equipment, Terra Firma offers a snack bar and a café area with tables and free Wi-Fi so members who need a place to work away from the office can enjoy a social environment.
More than anything, Terra Firma Bouldering offers a place where everyone feels at home.
“There’s this idea called the ‘third space.’ The idea of the ‘third space’ is that if you’re not at work, or you’re not at home, you’re here (Terra Firma) because that way you can work out and also be social. You can have fun and also be in an encouraging setting. You’re putting yourself basically within a community,” Erickson said.
Terra Firma Bouldering aims to be a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can go to be surrounded by others who share similar interests.
With 4,000-square-feet of bouldering surface and more than 90 unique routes, Terra Firma Bouldering has something for beginners and professionals alike. “We offer rock climbing for any age, we really pride ourselves on our product. We try to have a variety of styles and movements for every grade range.”
The routes also change regularly. “We change over a quarter of the gym every week so there’s always something new to engage with.”
Numerous membership packages are offered, from daily to annual options, to “meet people where they’re at.”
Growing up as a skateboarder in eastern Michigan, Erickson pursued many outlets to overcome stress and anxiety. Over the years his activities morphed from skating to art school to bouldering. Now, he has taken his personal passion for rock climbing and used it to create a space accessible to everyone, in hopes it will help them the same way it helped him.
“West Michigan doesn’t have the same exposure that a lot of the western states do to climbing, and rock climbing has been something that’s been really great in my life and a lot of my friends’ lives.
“When you have a space for those people to come together and encourage each other, you feel like you have a place you belong even if you are away from the mountains, and by paying attention to what the communities needs are, you kind of hope you can strengthen that group of people, or the community, because you’re offering a chance that encourages them to grow and challenges them.”
Terra Firma Bouldering also offers three yoga classes a week. Erickson believes “the overlap between yoga and climbing is being in the moment.”
“It’s not about getting good at yoga, it’s about the mindfulness and being aware of your body and all these sorts of activities compliment rock climbing,” he said. He hopes to add more classes and instructors to the yoga schedule in the coming months.
The business is looking to bring in people who are looking for a sense of adventure and a sense of belonging. Erickson wants the facility to be a place of perfect harmony between working out and growth. Ultimately, he wants Terra Firma Bouldering to enhance people’s lives.
“The cool thing about rock climbing, or bouldering, is that it puts you in the moment. So, physical and mentally, if you’re scared, or if you’re doing something at your limit, you have to stay engaged or you’re going to fall. In a lot of ways that can be really scary, but through that you can start to see symbolism between your own life, with what you face and what you’re actually doing.”