South Lake Tahoe’s first climbing gym set to break ground in spring |

South Lake Tahoe’s first climbing gym set to break ground in spring

Claire Cudahy
The Leavers hope to break ground on the new climbing gym, designed by local firm Monarch Architecture, this spring.
Courtesy / Monarch Architecture |

The Blue Granite Climbing Gym is one step closer to breaking ground on its state-of-the-art building after resounding support from City Council on Tuesday.

Brad and Gianna Leavers, the couple behind South Lake Tahoe’s first full-fledged climbing gym, requested 4,873 square feet of Commercial Floor Area (CFA) from City Council on Dec. 13. Their request was granted unanimously, and at no cost.

The Leavers already purchased 1,600 square feet of CFA, bringing total CFA for the project to 6,473 square feet.

“I’m very excited about this. This is going to be a great gateway to the city,” said Mayor Pro Tem Wendy David.

The gym will be located on the city’s scenic corridor, and will be highly visible as visitors drive in along Emerald Bay Road.

“We hope to be ready to submit our plans to the building department in January and then we should be able to start construction May 1, which is the beginning of grading season,” Gianna told the Tribune.

The LEED-certified building, designed by local firm Monarch Architecture, will be modern and feature steel walls, wood accents and large windows allowing in natural light.

“The building will be approximately 5,000 square feet of a footprint, and 35 feet high above ground level — that’s the height restriction in that area,” explained Gianna.

“Then in order to get extra height for the climbing walls on the inside, in about half of the building we’re excavating an additional 10 feet, so that will give us climbing walls of up to 44 feet.”

The gym will offer climbing routes for all ages and skill levels.

“When you go inside there will be an entry area that will have a climbing wall that is more oriented towards beginners, groups or parties. Then you’ll be able to walk downstairs, below grade, which will be the main climbing area where there will be top roping and lead climbing,” added Gianna.

Downstairs there will also be a yoga studio. Upstairs on the mezzanine, climbers can practice bouldering or make use of cardio and weight lifting equipment.

Both monthly membership options and day passes will be offered, but no prices have been set yet.

The Leavers, who met because of their shared love of climbing, hope the gym will be a place for people to not only improve their climbing skills (or get introduced to the sport), but also to socialize.

“It will be a great place to climb, but also a great place to meet friends and hang out. There’s a ton of climbers in Tahoe — there’s a strong outdoor climbing community — but I’d say there’s not really a good central location to go and hang out,” said Gianna.

“I also think it’s going to be really cool for families and for people with kids.”

The construction of the building is expected to take six to eight months, putting the completion date between November 2017 and January 2018.

In the meantime, climbing enthusiasts can stay up-to-date on the project by liking the gym on Facebook at

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