Business Times of Edmond, Oklahoma March 2020 - Page 18

Blocworks: Helping people to find their path BY TOM FINK | PHOTOS PROVIDED T here’s a place on Broadway that’s going to have people climbing the walls — literally. Blocworks Climbing Community is a soon-to-open rock climbing gym owned and operated by a local man, Evan Small, whose own life has been forever changed through the activity of rock climbing. Before being a climber, Small was an avid sports enthusiast, until an injury forced him to reassess his goals. “Growing up, it was all about sports for me, and by the time I went to college, I played baseball, but after a semester I had an injury which left me having to come home, not really sure what was next,” he said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to study (in school) or where I wanted to work and that’s where (rock) climbing came into play.” Through climbing, Small found a renewed sense of purpose and passion, also 18 March 2020 | The Business Times meeting his (future) wife and several friends because of climbing, realizing that climbing was anything but a solitary pursuit — it was a community. “Having a few jobs in the outdoor industry, we eventually had an idea that came to us of having our own gym to show people what climbing is, to share our love of climbing with them,” he said. Small soon found the ideal location in downtown and has since been working to make his vision into a reality. “With the space locked down, we started designing what our walls should look like,” he said. “We designed two walls that span the entire length of the building, starting right off Broadway from the front, all the way to the back. These two walls will offer about 40 boulder problems each, ranging from climbing up a ladder to the hardest thing you can imagine — people who haven’t climbed may not realize that it’s not just about the physical aspect, there’s also a huge mental component, of which problem solving is a big part.” Blocworks also includes an area to encourage customers to enjoy outside together, and such, the patio is designed for clients to sit outside, enjoy conversation, coffee, and time to connect and strengthen their relationships with one another. Whether amateurs or experienced climbers, all are welcome, Small said, with classes available for beginners to learn the fundamentals of bouldering. “Bouldering is a form of climbing that requires minimal effort, consisting of climbing colored holds to the finishing hold or top of the route,” he said. “Our walls are approximately 14 feet tall with ample padding used as protection. Bouldering really helps novice climbers to sharpen their problem-solving skills as they have to figure out how to move their body