Taking Climbing To A Higher Level

Kahealani Alapai

Kahealani Alapai at Volcanic Climbing & Fitness in Honolulu NATHALIE WALKER PHOTOS

Climbing professional Justin Ridgely has partnered with business executive Marshall Wells to open Volcanic Climbing & Fitness at 1212 Punahou St., providing rock-climbing enthusiasts a new indoor playground to explore.

Ridgely, who also owns Volcanic Rock Gym in Kailua, is originally from Maryland and has been climbing for 16 years. He started while in college in Chattanooga, Tenn., and became a professional climber in California. In 2009, he moved to Hawaii to be closer to his son Ronin, who is now 5, but couldn’t find an indoor rock-climbing facility, so he decided to open one himself.

“The rock-climbing community is definitely growing,” says Ridgely, 32. “It’s addicting, it’s fun and it’s different. It’s also a full body workout. You work a lot of the core, you burn a lot of calories, and there’s a lot of hand, eye and foot coordination.”

Justin Ridgely

Justin Ridgely at Volcanic Climbing & Fitness in Honolulu NATHALIE WALKER PHOTOS

The Kailua location (at Kapaa Quarry Place) features 30-foot climbing walls with top out bouldering and ropes. The new Honolulu location (in the space previously occupied by Punahou Fitness & Spa) is a 10,500-square-foot fitness center featuring 2,500 square feet of rock-climbing surface, free weights and gym equipment, a cardio room, yoga studio, fitness classes and spa amenities, including an indoor salt-water swimming pool, steam room, full-size redwood sauna, Jacuzzi and ice plunge. There also is Arch Cafe serving acai bowls, boba tea, coffee by Morning Glass, smoothies and more.

“I opened this location because I received calls on the regular (from people wanting it),” says Ridgely. “My goal is to bring climbing to the masses, to put any form of climbing into the heads of everybody. In this space it’s how to do it more healthy and convenient, and to be able to cross train.

“If the climbing community is going to continue to grow, it’s got to be introduced to more people, and I feel like there are so many people still on the island who don’t know that it’s here … We’re also working on having climbing and cross-training clinics.”

Gym membership costs $99 per month. A day pass is $25 and includes shoes and chalk rental for the climbing wall. For more information, visit volcanicrockgym.com.