Shasta Rock Club Climbing Gym
By Jon Lewis
Photos by Benjamin Goodpasture
For many, a key ingredient to health and fitness happens to be one of the most abundant things on Earth: rocks. Actually, to be more precise, it’s boulders and rock formations and the climbing thereof.
“Rock climbing is such a healthy lifestyle,” says Benjamin Goodpasture, an avid climber and the founder of the Shasta Rock Club. “It’s not something you do, it’s something you become. It makes you want to eat well, get outside and explore. It builds community; it brings people together and creates lasting bonds.”
The Athens Avenue climbing gym, which opened last month after outgrowing its original location on Keystone Court in the Enterprise area, addresses a need Goodpasture recognized back in 2010 when he first relocated to Redding.
“I fell in love with climbing—the sport, the culture, the people—and Redding didn’t have a gym. There was a need and an opportunity and I pursued it and created it. It’s been a very catalytic, transforming part of my life. I saw it as transforming and healthy for other people and I knew I had to build it,” Goodpasture says.
Rather than simply installing a generic climbing wall and calling it good, Goodpasture put significant thought and planning into the Shasta Rock Club. Its colorful climbing walls have plenty of movable knobs and handholds that allow for climbing routes to be adjusted to match a climber’s skill level.
Specially designed mats are arrayed to protect climbers who may fall while practicing their bouldering and aid climbing techniques on other walls and outcroppings. “We’re constantly creating challenges for people to improve and get better,” Goodpasture says.
The club will offer a variety of classes on traditional and sport climbing as well as mountaineering, in addition to an afterschool program and summer camps.
One of the club’s goals is to develop a “climb-fit” class that blends rock climbing instruction with Crossfit-style elements. “It’ll be a very athletic, multi-functional, fun class where they’ll be getting their heart rate up, climbing things and doing multiple exercises. It will be strength training and cardio at the same time,” Goodpasture says.
For Goodpasture, a Roanoke, Va., native who fell in love with climbing while attending Appalachian State University in North Carolina, the sport is a lifetime pursuit for adventure and health and he brings that passion into the Shasta Rock Club.
“We’re all about teaching them, building community, educating people, getting outside, staying healthy and being fit. It brings people together and creates lasting bonds; it creates a family, a home for people to come. I like to call it a base camp. You come to it, connect with people, you exercise, and then you take it out to the mountain.”
Farren Forcella takes it out to the mountain on a regular basis, but when she isn’t scaling granite peaks or scrambling over boulders, she enjoys the facilities and camaraderie available at Shasta Rock Club.
Forcella, a member at Shasta Rock Club since it opened three years ago, says climbing is a vigorous sport that improves one’s mental and physical fitness.
She cites bouldering, a type of freestyle climbing without ropes on shorter routes, as one example. “You’re using your whole body for a short period of time and making very dynamic movements. It requires strength and flexibility. Beyond that, there’s a little more to it—a body awareness—that can help any athlete or anybody looking to improve their fitness.
“Beyond just the physical part of it, mentally it’s really great. It increases confidence and helps you get over your fears,” Forcella says. “For me, it’s a mental thing. When I started, I was a little nervous going to the bouldering gym because there are no ropes.”
Indoor climbing employs the same muscles, skills and mental wherewithal that are required in the outdoors, the Redding resident says, but the climbing gym has an added bonus of helpful company. “There are numerous folks there and they’re all supportive and pushing you to do your best. You don’t always get that outside. Ben has built a community here that’s pretty important to someone’s fitness and wellbeing.”
It’s not an accident that Shasta Rock Club is located in Redding, Goodpasture says. “There’s a potential for it, that’s the cool thing. We’re in such a central location for anything: There’s lots of climbing, hiking, mountain climbing, backpacking, water sports. We’re the Northern California mecca for outdoor sports. I feel like this place is untapped, not developed yet. It’s kind of like the Wild West.”
Shasta Rock Club • 2325 Athens Ave., Redding
(530) 691-4505 • www.shastarockclub.com