As of May 11 (South Main) and May 15 (SLC), we’re open for limited operations!*
We have been working closely with the Salt Lake County Health Department and have received approval of our Orange-Phase operating plan!
*We will be following the PHASED RE-OPENING we released in April.
As you might expect, we will all have to operate a little differently to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and meet state and county requirements for our facilities.
We feel confident that by each of us doing our part, we can get back to climbing while staying healthy. We are a strong community and we will watch out for each other. This will help us get back climbing responsibly.
HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT IN SLC & SOUTH MAIN
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Please reference the phased-reopening to confirm you are able to visit our facilities during the limited-access timeframe.
To limit the number of climbers in our facility at a time and provide you with plenty of space to socially distance, we require that you reserve your visit in advance at the red buttons above above. Reservations are for two-hour blocks and we ask that for now you limit your stay accordingly. If you’re having trouble with booking your reservation or wondering how to book a reservation for multiple people, please see our “Climbing Time Reservation Instructions” section below. (Please note: You are now allowed to bring friends to the gym on your guest passes! Existing punch pass holders are also welcome!)
You should monitor yourself for symptoms of sickness and stay home if you are feeling unwell.
This is going to be a little weird at first. We will first screen you about your travel and whether you are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 or any other sickness, we cannot let you climb that day. The only way this works is if we are committed to keeping one another healthy!
You will be required to sanitize your hands when you enter the facility.
After you have gone through the screening process, you will check in at the front desk. Our wonderful staff will check for your registration as well as ensure you have qualified for access to the facility through our phased re-opening.
You are encouraged to wear a mask while in the facility (our staff will be required to wear them at all times).
You must wash or sanitize your hands before and after you climb, and you are encouraged to sanitize your hands between climbs.
Because liquid chalk contains alcohol, we encourage its use between routes. The higher the alcohol content the better!
You must keep a minimum of 10 feet from others while climbing and belaying. We will space or mark our roped climbs so that they are 10 feet apart. While you wait to boulder, we will have our iconic plastic chairs spaced 6 feet apart and please maintain at least 6 feet apart from others while at The Front.
You may climb ropes in parties of no more than 2, even if you live within the same household. We also encourage you to pick a climbing partner and stick with them during your session.
You must stay a minimum of 10’ away from others while in the weight and cardio areas. We have arranged the workout equipment to accommodate this.
Yoga, fitness classes, youth programs and climbing classes will remain suspended for the time being. We will continue to host yoga and group fitness offerings via Zoom. Check out the yoga schedule here and the group fitness schedule here.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Before you leave the facility, you should wash or sanitize your hands.
When you are ready to leave the gym, we ask that you ‘check out’ at the front desk so we can track the number of members in our facility.
ONE LAST WORD ON THESE STRANGE TIMES
There are a wide variety of opinions in this country and state about the appropriate balance between safety, freedom and a functioning economy–and we’re sure there’s a similar variety of opinions among our members. There is just no single correct answer on how best to balance these goals, and no way to satisfy everyone. At The Front, we strive to err on the side of safety, while recognizing that climbing (and life in general) always contains some level of risk. We know some members might disagree with how we go about our opening process, and we welcome your comments and opinions. As always, we take member input very seriously.
Thank you, we love you and look forward to seeing you soon. If you have questions in the meantime, please email email@example.com.
CLIMBING TIME RESERVATION INSTRUCTIONS
Please note, we cannot make adjustments to reservations after they have been booked, so please be thoughtful about which block you are reserving and do your best to make it in!
1. ARE YOU AN ACTIVE MEMBER?
Before reserving a time to come to the gym, please ensure that your account is active. If you need to unfreeze your account, feel free to do so when you come into the gym.
2. YES? THEN SELECT THE GYM YOU WANT TO VISIT.
To reserve a spot, select the gym that you would like to visit by clicking one of the reservation buttons above. Not all members are currently able to visit each gym! If you are unsure, please refer to the phased re-opening plan. (Please note: You are now allowed to bring friends to the gym on your guest passes! Existing punch pass holders are also welcome!)
3. HOW MANY MEMBERS ARE YOU RESERVING A SPOT FOR?
To reserve a spot, first select how many members you are reserving a spot for. You can do this by clicking the plus arrow under in the participants section. Complete this step before selecting the date and time!
4. WHAT DAY WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT THE GYM?
Select the day you would like to visit the gym by clicking your desired date on the calendar.
5. WHAT TIME WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT THE GYM?
Once you have selected the day you want to visit the gym, a list of reservation options will appear below the calendar. Check how many spots are available under “Availability” and select the time you would like to visit the gym.
6. FOLLOW THE REMAINING PROMPTS TO COMPLETE YOUR BOOKING.
Enter the name and birthday of each visiting member and confirm that each member’s account is active before completing your booking.
We released the following phased re-opening plan in April. This plan is a way to thank those who were able to support us during the closure, and we believe it is the fairest way to limit the number of climbers allowed in our facilities, which is a prevalent requirement. The timeline below is activated on our re-opening date.
COVID-19 UPDATES ARCHIVE
We want to start by saying thank you. Many of you were able to support us in March, which allowed us time to find some footing during all this.
We miss you, and we miss the normalcy of having you here. We’re all doing our best to deal with the challenges of navigating life in this crisis. “Unprecedented” has been used ad nauseam over the last couple of years, but for the last month it’s been inarguably true. The anxiety, unknowns, isolation and inability to plan is taking its emotional toll.
Yet, there are silver-linings throughout. Families are spending more time together at home. We’re finding new ways to stay connected virtually with social video chats usually reserved for business. These new ways to connect can be pretty fun and are certainly convenient! A lot more people are taking their dogs on walks around the neighborhood. Winter is almost over, and we’ll continue to look forward to this crisis ending, too.
But enough of that. Here’s what we’re up to at The Front.
Due to overwhelming member support, we have retained our 100+ full-time hourly and salaried staff. Many of our part-time coaches and instructors have continued some level of employment through our online classes as well. We even had a Zoom yoga class the other day with 60 people in it!
We’ve also used this opportunity to take care of deferred maintenance and make improvements at both locations that we think you’re going to appreciate. The bathrooms at SLC are about to go through a remodel – a highly requested project! We’ll be ready to welcome everyone back to refreshed Ogden and SLC gyms, plus, of course, our new South Main gym.
For April, we’ll keep moving forward within the confines of current restrictions. However, some of the unknowns are becoming more clear. The CARES Act is very likely to provide some financial support to The Front, as well as millions of other small businesses and 10’s of millions of workers nationwide. For the business as a whole, the CARES Act, at some point and if received, will provide important financial support, but some costs will still exist outside of this government aid. So, we have asked that those who are able to consider continuing their support, and have prepared some perks for doing so.
Can’t wait to see you all again.
We love our climbing partners, our community, our tribe. Show this love and #flattenthecurve both nationally and locally. We implore you to empty the crags.
In the meantime, let’s continue to take some deep breathes outside and share our collective stories from our homes.
Many have already responsibly chosen not to take spring climbing trips with considerations towards stressing rural communities and their resources. Indoor climbing gyms voluntarily closed. Your fellow climbers in the medical field are risking their health on the front lines and don’t need to be stressed more with rescues or climbing related injuries. Show your love for this community and let’s do everything we absolutely can to limit the spread for the greater good.
There are simply too many of us to all take to the crags and expect to socially distance. This has become apparent in the crowds at local climbing areas the past few days. Even the “No Star Tuesday” routes are busy. The shared surfaces of climbing (from holds to ropes and more) are a way that we, as climbers, can potentially spread the virus.
As your local climbing advocacy and stewardship organization, we have paused trail maintenance and fixed anchor replacement. We’ve postponed our annual fundraiser in the Black Diamond parking lot until further notice – (but we sure look forward to a time when we can gather again to celebrate Wasatch climbing!). We are at home – on conference calls with our land agencies and governments offering our assistance. Emptying the crags is what we as individual climbers can do right now to curb the spread of the virus. We are resilient, and with collective action, more lives will be saved and we will all be back out at the crags sooner.
Since our ability to collectively enjoy the outdoors is on pause for the moment, let us hear from you with your home inspirations and antics. Thank you being an upstanding member of the Wasatch Climbing Community. I look forward to a time I can see you at the crag!
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance
Hi, this is Dustin Buckthal and I wanted to clear up misunderstandings that came up in some of the comments from our previous announcement on our @thefrontslc Instagram account, and share a bit more about where we are as a business.
I am CEO and 100% owner of The Front, and have been since 2005. I am the fourth owner of the Front lineage. I live in a 2000 sq.ft. house between Sugarhouse and 9th and 9th, with my fiancée, Jackie, who is also COO, and between 2 and 4 Vertical Solutions traveling employees at any given time (this saves money on their housing and I enjoy spending time with them). I have a two year old Toyota and a six year old bought-used electric Fiat. I don’t have a retirement fund. There are no investors in The Front. I do not have a trust fund, I come from middle-class. I personally guarantee every loan.
For contrast and only because comparison was brought to that Instagram thread, Momentum is nearly wholly investor-owned, and is majority-owned by Walltopia, the Bulgarian wall builder and largest climbing wall builder in the world. This thread has talked about investors “taking the hit”. There are no investors to do that, no deep pockets. Although we have had success, and we employ about 90 full-time staff, I would very much consider The Front a small business. I am involved in the business every day, 7 days a week. So is my fiancée. We do not have a board to direct us. The amazing team that we now bring together twice a day, 9a and 4p, to discuss our actions in this pandemic are our managers that are involved in everyday operations.
Further, this is very bad timing for The Front financially. For the last 4 weeks, many of us at The Front (myself included) and Vertical Solutions have been working literally 15 hours a day 7 days a week to get South Main opened in time for the USAC Sport & Speed Nationals. This was canceled three days before the event due to CV19. Additionally, we have now invested three years and either spent or borrowed $13 million dollars to open this facility, which was scheduled to be open on Friday. That is, we are fully dispersed on this project. We truly think it will be the best gym in the country, and it was designed and built all locally using small businesses.
Over the past 3 months, we have also been hiring and training Front Desk and support staff for the South Main gym, this means that as of today we are staffed to operate three large climbing gyms in Salt Lake City and Ogden, with the supporting member base of two gyms, and now none of them are open. We have invested a lot in these employees. We want to keep them employed in order to keep our team together.
As a business owner, I also want to do what I can to mitigate the economic impact of this pandemic and continue to pay staff, so they can pay their bills and we can all help the economic engine sputter along until the landscape changes. Yes, this is where we are asking for your help. Not by paying us any more money, just allowing the dues you have, yes, recently paid go to support us for the next two weeks. Many of you are supportive of this, and we thank you! If you are not, for whatever reason, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will credit your dues for the days we are closed. We will continue to employ our full-time hourly staff as long as funds are available.
It’s hard to know what everyone is thinking out there. There have been many words of support and understanding here, which are much appreciated as we try to navigate the complexities of this pandemic with limited information. We are people trying to make the best decision we know how with the information we have. We do not know how long the gym will be closed. The Front is my life’s work and a place many of you consider a home away from home. We are all anxious to see it make it through this turmoil and get back up and running as soon as possible. When we receive guidance from health and government leadership on when and how we can start even limited operations again, we’ll be stoked to see you back in!
Dear The Front Community Members,
Our entire community is going through a time of crisis with ongoing unknowns and tough decisions. We are continually monitoring federal, state and local guidance to understand how we can help minimize the spread of COVID-19, while trying to avoid unnecessary panic. In an effort to carefully consider emergent concerns and make informed decisions through this crisis, we have decided to temporarily close our facilities, effective March 16, 2020. We hope that the local outbreak will be better quantified and understood in the coming days, and guidance will be available for businesses along the Wasatch Front to better assess how to operate in the confines of this outbreak. With that information, we will reassess reopening (including reopening with limited operations) on a daily basis. Please stay tuned for updates through all of our channels.
We are confident that our community can weather this pandemic and be back to doing what we love soon. We are as concerned as you about reducing the direct impacts of this crisis on those that may become ill, and the collateral impacts of this crisis on our economy and employment. We will be making efforts to continue to employ our staff and be ready to open our new South Main facility when we return to normal operations. However, we will need your support to do so. We reinvest nearly everything into providing you the best facilities and attentive staff possible, and rely on your membership dues to do so. If you are thinking of freezing or terminating your membership at this time, we ask you to first consider whether you can keep your membership active during this time, so we can quickly return to providing you the best facilities and staff on the planet. If you do need to freeze your membership, we will freeze memberships immediately effective upon your request.
Stay healthy and thank you for being part of our community!
One more thing; some good news: when our normal operations resume, our new “South Main” facility will be open! Here are is a link we will be updating of previews of what will be the coolest climbing gym in the world.
The Front Climbing Club