Climbing walls now open at city park

Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

Bouldering enthusiasts in Grand Rapids now can enjoy access to climbing within the city, thanks to a new installation.

The Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department last week opened two bouldering structures at Highland Park, 523 Grand Ave. NE.

Bouldering is a form of rock climbing without a need for ropes due to shorter walls than regular rock-climbing structures.

The new walls are part of a temporary installation in partnership with the resident-led Grand Rapids Boulder Project. The structures feature multiple routes ranging in difficulty and are expected to remain in the park for three to five years.

“Climbing is something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities,” said Kyle Heys of the Grand Rapids Boulder Project. “I’m so excited to share my passion for the sport with newcomers and long-time climbers alike.”

Conversations between the Grand Rapids Boulder Project team and the city began in 2017. Leaders said the goal of the project is to increase awareness and access to the sport of climbing at no cost to participants.

“We strive to bring innovative and unique projects to parks across Grand Rapids, and the bouldering walls accomplish that,” said David Marquardt, the city’s parks and recreation director. “This is one of the many ways we’re bringing new and accessible experiences to residents.”

The project was funded by $20,000 from the parks millage passed by Grand Rapids voters in 2019 and $10,000 in private donations through the Grand Rapids Boulder Project.

The Grand Rapids Boulder Project also is working with local artist Nick Nortier for a mural to be painted on all walls as part of ArtPrize 2022.

The mural will be completed in September.

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