Detroit rock climbers no longer need to plan a vacation to get their climbing fix because Dino Ruggeri, a Grosse Pointe native, is opening Detroit’s first rock climbing gym, yoga and fitness center at Eastern Market later this fall.
DYNO Rock Climbing and Fitness center, which is named after rock climbing’s dynamic movement, is set to open in late November or early December — as long as gyms stay open around that time.
After living in Colorado and experiencing things like hiking, skiing and climbing on a daily basis, he moved back home to Michigan and decided to bring climbing to Detroit — a place that hasn’t had much access to it in the past.
“I wanted to provide access to climbing and the outdoor lifestyle in general and Detroit was a natural fit for that,” Ruggeri says. Climbing is “a fun, active and healthy activity and climbing gyms are a way to use the indoors to explore the outdoors.”
Fun for the whole family
According to Ruggeri, rock climbing is for everyone from age five to age 95.
“One of the things I liked so much about it is it accommodates all experiences levels, body types, strengths and comfort levels (you can be afraid of heights and still experience it),” he explains.
Rock climbing also teaches things like problem solving and how to deal with failure, which makes it the perfect activity for kids.
“From a problem-solving standpoint, it encourages critical thinking,” he says. “If you fall off the same spot, you decide to reach for another spot.”
And since the gym is all about a community, kids will feel encouraged to get up and try again.
“People on the ground are always cheering each other on. I built the gym with the intention of being welcoming to families and young children, especially for kids that are under resourced that wouldn’t get to try climbing,” he says. “By the end of our session the one child that was afraid of heights was at the top and at the end of the day the girls were climbing harder than the boys.”
About the gym
The 17,000-square-foot climbing portion of Ruggeri’s gym features more than 75 rope routes for patrons to try and 120-plus bouldering problems to solve.
“Rope climbing starts at 30 feet for beginnings and goes to 44 feet,” says Ruggeri. “Ropes are dynamic and stretchy and for littler kids and older folks. Meanwhile, “Bouldering is 12-15 feet tall and has patted floors with no ropes.”
He recommends that beginners start on the ropes course and work their way up to bouldering, which is for more advanced climbers.
“The grips are color coded and have a difficulty rating, so you know what you’re getting into,” he explains.
There will be different price options for families and individuals. Guests will even be able to do weekly trial period before signing up.
The price of admission is not yet set but there will be day pass, punch card and membership options. Rental equipment and an intro climbing class will be available for newcomers.
The fitness part of the gym will be for ages 14-up and will expand its programming when the state will allow it. Right now, “it has free weights and cardio equipment,” he says.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the gym is taking the necessary precautions to keep all of its staff and members safe and healthy.
“Plastic grips are taken off wall and power washed, 30% fresh air circulated throughout,” Ruggeri explains. They also have a strict mask policy and require that guests wash their hands before and after climb and sign in and sign out so they know how long a person has been there.
In addition, they have a limited capacity, encourage socially distancing and use a mixture of liquid chalk and alcohol on, rather than standard dry chalk.
“At the end of the day, we just want this to be a safe space to come climb, have fun and feel good,” Ruggeri says. “We want you to be a part of our community, discover new things about yourself, learn to trust yourself and your partner on the ground and feel better than when you came in.”