FAQ REGARDING MEMBERSHIPS DURING THE COVID-19 GYM CLOSURE

Can I freeze my membership?
Yes, you may freeze your membership for $12/month + tax at any time by filling out our change membership form. We will process your request as soon as we can. We will not use this freeze against your allotted annual freeze periods.

Can I cancel my membership and get prorated for the remainder of this month since billing took place on March 10?
Yes. If you’re willing and able to keep your membership active during this closure, you will be helping us keep our salaried and full-time hourly staff paid and we appreciate your support very much. We understand every situation is different, so if for whatever reason you would like credit for your payment email membership@thefrontclimbingclub.com and we will credit the remainder of your March membership dues to your account.

Will you be offering any online classes during the closure?
Yes! Right now we’re experimenting with offering online yoga and group fitness classes through Zoom! View the schedule and join links on our yoga page and fitness page.

When will you reopen?
Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, we do not know how long the gym will be closed. We are all anxious to get the gym 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!

When will The Front South Main open?
South Main will be ready to open once SLC and Ogden are back in business.

FRIDAY, MARCH 20 – EMPTY THE CRAGS

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!

Respectfully Yours,
Julia Geisler
Executive Director
Salt Lake Climbers Alliance

MONDAY, MARCH 16 – A NOTE FROM DUSTIN

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 membership@thefrontclimbingclub.com 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!

SUNDAY, MARCH 15 – THE FRONT CLIMBING CLUB IS TEMPORARILY CLOSING TO ASSESS OUR ROLE IN PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

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.

Sincerely,

The Front Climbing Club