For a town as outdoorsy as Bellingham, a top-rope climbing gym feels long overdue. Luckily, Chalkboard climbing gym plans to open doors in 2022, joining Vital as a space where climbers can train, socialize, and practice their sport. The gym will be located in downtown Bellingham, at 315 W. Holly Street.  

The gym’s founder, Gabe Rogel, has lived in Bellingham for eight years, working primarily as an adventure photographer. During this time, he also noticed the need for a climbing gym.  

“I want this for my career…but the real passion is that we don’t have this, and to be able to provide it for our community,” Rogel explains. 

Rather than draw business away from Vital, Rogel hopes to collaborate with the bouldering gym. They’ve already discussed creating climbing teams and collaborating on community events.  

In addition to 15,000 square feet of climbing terrain -– think 60-foot walls with top-ropes, lead-climbing, and auto-belays — Chalkboard will also offer yoga, dance classes, and both traditional and climbing-focused fitness equipment. Rogel also plans to host festivals, competitions, and live music.  

Perhaps most unique, the gym will house various office spaces dedicated to wellness. Rogel plans to lease space to a physical therapist, masseuse, naturopathic doctor, and acupuncturist, creating an all-in-one hub where people can train, recover, and stay healthy.  

The gym will also offer a café that serves coffee, tea, and health-forward food.  

“The idea is to create this community hub where people gather,” Rogel explains, noting that a café where climbers can refuel, meet with friends, and watch people climb is a key part of his vision.  

After finalizing the floor plan with Zervas Architects, the next step involves permitting. After that, it’s construction time.  

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