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The North Face to Build Public Climbing Wall in Denver

Walls are meant for climbing the north face
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Chalk up your fingers, Denverites. The outdoor apparel and equipment brand plans to build its first climbing wall in the Montbello neighborhood near downtown.

Walls are meant for climbing the north face
Children can take naturally to climbing; photo via unsplash.com/@bluehairphotog

One in four people lives in poverty within Montbello, the neighborhood where The North Face will build its first climbing wall. With the project, the company hopes to engage local kids and everyone else in the sport of rock climbing.

The North Face announced it will build the climbing structure in the soon-to-open Montbello Open Space park. The project aims to inspire outdoor recreation by youth and others in communities, with a focus on underserved areas.

The wall is the first to be built under the brand’s $1 million pledge to the Trust for Public Land. The brand made the announcement at the opening of the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in Denver this week.

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Montbello Open Space Park

Construction of the Montbello Open Space park began in 2016. It is a $6 million collaboration between the Trust for Public Lands, the city of Denver, and Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), a group that helps low-income and city youth learn about the outdoors.

As noted above, of the 35,000 people in Montbello, about 1 in 4 live in poverty. Sixty percent are Latino. Sitting just north of the I-70 freeway, heavy traffic and industry dominate the neighborhood.

The new park aims to give the community 5 acres of green space to play, right in their own backyard. It will have trails, trees, an outdoor classroom, and play areas that integrate nature.

Schematic of the Montbello Open Space park; image from the Trust for Public Lands

Montbello Climbing Wall

The North Face will provide the wall as part of its “Walls Are Meant for Climbing” campaign. The brand hopes to celebrate community and make the sport of climbing more accessible and inclusive.

“Building public climbing walls is a dream come true for us,” said Tom Herbst, Global Vice President of Marketing at The North Face. “We launched this campaign to bring communities together. At a time when we may feel division across our country, we want to come together and share in the challenges and triumphs of the sport of climbing.”

The climbing wall will be outdoors in the park. The North Face is meeting with local youth to gather input. As one part of the planning process, athletes Matty Hong, Maureen Beck, and Daniel Woods will brainstorm with kids and others in the community on prototype designs.

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