Buffalo, New York, isn’t a climbing hot spot, but it appears that could be about to change. A project dubbed Silo City Rocks is renovating a 100-year-old grain elevator on the Buffalo River into one of the largest and most unique climbing facilities in North America.
The plan is to convert the abandoned grain elevators into a massive system of indoor and outdoor climbing routes. Skyscraping, 190-foot-tall outdoor routes and 120-foot indoor routes will be accompanied by bouldering caves, rappelling platforms, and a yoga studio in the 6,000sq.-foot space.
The project, which is currently in fundraising on Indiegogo, came in response to the community of Buffalo seeking to develop its waterfront into a place to “do stuff” rather than “buy stuff.”
“Buffalo is going through a revival,” said Jason Schwinger, one of the three entrepreneurs behind the Silo City Rocks project. “Millions are being invested on the waterfront downtown. Initially, the thought was to bring retail shops and restaurants, but the community has really been outspoken, demanding more experiences — things to bring family and friends to, something fun and recreational, as opposed to just another ‘mall-on-the-water.’”
Over the winter, Schwinger and his partners have been working furiously on cleaning and preparing the abandoned elevator. The plan is to have a bouldering area and several outdoor routes ready by Memorial Day, with dozens more climbs opening throughout the summer.
The facility’s level of epic in the near term will hinge on the fundraising effort. If this sounds like your kind of thing, chip in and book your plane tickets to Buffalo in a few months.
—Patrick Murphy is an assistant editor.