Premier Climbing Gym to be National Draw

Out & About in Greater Tulsa By EMILY RAMSEY
Managing Editor

A SPORT FOR ALL: Jason Burks, owner of New Heights climbing gym, expects to break ground on Climb Tulsa, a 17,000-square-foot climbing gym in midtown Tulsa, early next year.

EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers

I can’t remember when I first experienced rock climbing. I have narrowed it down to around my senior year in high school, but the reasons as to why I tried it in the first place, I can’t recall. Maybe I was simply looking for something new to try. Maybe it was fitness related. Or possibly a friend suggested it.

Nevertheless, as to the reasons that I have continued to hold onto the activity for the past 10 years or so, I could go on for hours. And so could Jason Burks, who bought Tulsa’s only rock-climbing gym, New Heights, early this year.

Burks, who grew up in greater Tulsa, recently announced plans to build Climb Tulsa, a 17,000-square-foot state-of-the-art climbing facility near 31st Street and Yale Avenue, next year.

Rock climbing teaches mental prowess and discipline, improves fitness and positively affects our emotional state.

“When you’re climbing, you forget about your troubles and your stress,” Burks says.
Burks, who also owns Retrospec Films, started climbing outdoors 13 years ago. “You get to these beautiful spots, and the only way to get to them is to have this skill of climbing.”

Once he began outdoor climbing, he later added indoor climbing at New Heights as a way to train for his outdoor climbs. So, when the opportunity came to take ownership of New Heights, he couldn’t say no.

“I figured, if this works, we’ll build something bigger,” he says.

And that is now his plan: to build a high-quality indoor rock climbing gym, to be among the largest climbing gyms in the country.

Climb Tulsa will feature two floors of climbing walls, a children’s climbing area, a private party room, and a yoga and fitness center.

The climbing walls will be built by Walltopia, the leading climbing wall design and manufacturing company, known for its first-class rock walls and innovative designs, Burks says.

The gym will meet Climbing standards, which will allow Climb Tulsa to host national climbing competitions.

“It’s rare that people come in to climb for their first time and they don’t love it,” Burks says.

“On average, we see 25-30 first-time climbers every week.”

Climbing offers a constructive activity for youths, but it’s also something older ones can do, he continues. “We have members at New Heights who are in their 60s.”

Burks hopes to break ground on the project by early next year, with construction taking about a year.

“If I’m going to do this project, I want to do it the best that I possibly can,” says Burks. “I just love the sport, so I want to convince others.”

Updated 12-05-2016

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