Summit figures to be the climbing enthusiast’s climbing gym, with 1,600-plus holds to grace the new space (under construction, above).
Keith Kubiesa is standing in front of what looks like a giant framed cave at Summit Strength & Fitness, a new climbing-focused gym opening south of the Beltline off Greenway Cross in mid-January. “It’s a work of art,” he says. This impressive work of construction will soon be finished into a complex climbing wall, complete with 1,600 holds (some of them made locally by Driftless Climbing) and challenging angles.
Kubiesa, who has a background in snowboarding, got serious about climbing when a snowless winter five years ago pushed him to try something new to stay active. Since 2012, he’s been a coach for the climbing team at Boulders, currently Madison’s sole climbing gym.
Summit will be a climbing-specific training facility. While the gym will welcome climbers of all ages and abilities, it’s designated for serious practice. “When you’re in here, it’s just you and your group,” Kubiesa says. No kid birthday parties, team-building outings or people trying out climbing as part of a first date. “You have to come in here with a mindset that you’re here to work out. It’s not a social club.”
Summit Strength & Fitness won’t serve only the climbing community, though. With six years of experience as a personal trainer, Kubiesa will continue to work with all types of athletes. In addition to climbing-based activities, the gym will offer general fitness classes and has space devoted to exercise equipment like weights and a pull-up bar. There will be a strip of astroturf for agility training. “You don’t need to feel like you have to climb to come here,” Kubiesa says. However, he says that climbing does make a great addition to any athlete’s training regimen: “Climbing allows you to move your body in a different way, and it’s a big mental challenge.”
The gym’s climbing classes home in on specific aspects of the sport. A movement class will help climbers perfect their techniques, and a training class aims to make climbers more efficient. A fitness class focuses on warm-up techniques and endurance. There will also be personal training opportunities and a youth climbing team.
Kubiesa says coaches and climbers in the community have offered a hand as he worked to establish his new gym.
He’s excited to see how climbers will continue to grow in his new space. “Madison is still, in the climbing world, not really known.” He’d like to see that change. “I hope that Summit Strength & Fitness will produce strong climbers and athletes who are proud to call Madison home.”
Summit Strength and Fitness 3118 Kingsley Way, 608-515-8385, trainclimbsummit.com