Community Sesh Night – Indoor Rock Climbing for All Ages!

Community Sesh Night is here!

Midwest Climbing Academy is happy to announce that Community Sesh Nights have returned! Come climb the best lead wall and most unique bouldering layout in the Twin Cities!

Since the Academy is dedicated to training and supporting youth climbers, the majority of climbers in the Midwest don’t have regular access to our facility. With Community Sesh Nights, we open our doors to everyone! Join us every Friday night from 5pm – 10 pm.

Coach Tom on the sandcrawler at CSN!

Coach Tom on the sandcrawler at CSN!

Single entry is $12 or buy a 5-Visit Pass for $50!

Midwest Climbing Academy sets routes and boulders specifically meant to train and test youth climbers working to grow their strength, confidence, and competition readiness. Because some of our youth climbers are competing at a national level, some routes and problems are going to be very difficult. However, since some of our climbers are starting as early as 5 years old, we also have problems and routes that are quite novice.

The point is, no matter your climbing ability, you’ll find something to have fun on at the Academy!

The sky wall!

The sky wall!

Our lead wall is 38′ tall ranging from vertical to 45 degree overhang and we have bouldering walls from slab to quite overhung. The floors have uniform 16″ padding to help keep everyone safe. We have a comfy lounge area and wifi available during your visit.

If it is your first visit to the Academy, save time checking in by sigining your waiver prior to arriving. Fill it out here: https://midwestclimbing.frontdeskhq.com/welcome

Contact sean@midwestclimbingacademy.com with any questions about Community Sesh Night.

 

Join us for Community Sesh Night, Friday from 5-10pm. All ages $15 or 5 for $60

A video posted by Midwest Climbing Academy (@midwestclimbingacademy) on

Introducing…The Academy Staff!

Coaches

Randy Baum

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I coach the Ninja Cats, North Stars, Scholars, and Comp teams.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history? 
I have been climbing for around 10 years.  I was introduced to climbing at a summer camp in Colorado.  Later, while in college, I cut my teeth at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin.  After college, I lived in China and traveled extensively in Europe and Asia. After a few years away from the sport, I started climbing again.  I have since never stopped.  I enjoy all disciplines of climbing, from big walls to bouldering.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?  
I am a high school teacher, and I use my breaks to travel and climb.  My summer break provides the best opportunity for climbing trips.  Last year, I was in South Africa, China the year prior, Yosemite before that, and so on.  In the future, I hope to use this time to travel to remote big walls in Greenland and Canada as well as historic sport climbing and traditional climbing destinations in France and Australia.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy? 
Working at the Academy combines many of my pursuits and passions in life: teaching, climbing, and interacting with youth.  I am continuously excited to plan the next practice, to work with the athletes, and to work with the coaches.  Oh, and I love climbing at the Academy!
What do you do other than climb?
I most enjoy spending time with my wife, Leigh.  We like to hang with our “son,” a crazy Texas Heeler mix called Gibson.  We also love eating and cooking food, reading, and traveling. 

 

Sam Courtright

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?

Comp Team Coach
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history? 
I started climbing casually when I was in high school. Throughout college I became more and more involved in my school’s climbing community, helping to open an indoor facility and helping facilitate the first climbing competitions in the area. All of this involvement allowed me to grow as a climber, route setter and coach and ultimately set the tone for my love of climbing as an adult.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?  
I strive to be a well-balanced athlete, and climbing provides me a unique physical challenge that is ever humbling. I want to continue to improve my technique and sport specific strength and endurance so I can explore new ways to move on the wall and overcome new challenges.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy? 
I am excited to work with such an amazing and accomplished group of coaches and climbers, and in a facility that focusses on wholistic athlete development and pushes people to accel beyond what they thought possible.
What do you do other than climb?
I work as an Exercise Physiologist in a mental healthcare facility, I play music and I spend time with my friends and my wonderful fiance.

Charlie Houtz

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I am a route setter and I coach the Scholars team.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I started climbing when I was 14 (about 6 years ago). I was on team at Vertical Endeavors for about 3 years in high school, and I was coached by Tyler and Richard. During this time I made some of my best friends and I came to love rock climbing (outdoor climbing in particular). I competed in local competitions and participated in three seasons of youth ABS and four of SCS, although competition was never my favorite aspect of climbing. I have climbed a lot all over the state of Minnesota, in Spearfish Canyon and the Rushmore area of South Dakota, and in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. I’ve also climbed around Boulder, CO, and a little bit in Utah. I’ve done multiple 5.13’s and bouldered V8 outdoors. I have a real passion for climbing outside, for road trips, for travel. Many of my favorite memories were made on climbing trips!
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
As time goes on, I would like to continue climbing, continue taking trips and continue getting stronger. Climbing is a huge part of my life, a healthy influence, and I would like to keep it that way for as long as possible. In the near future, I’d love to be able to visit more bouldering areas and maybe also Rifle, CO.
Although my motivation to climb/work out frequently may wax and wane over time, I think it would be amazing if I was still climbing in 20 years. That is the big picture of where I would like to go in climbing.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I had such a great experience when I was part of a climbing team, and I had amazing coaches. This experience really did shape who I am as a person, and as a climber, and I want to help pass that forward to a slightly younger generation. The idea that I can now give, or try to give to others the experience I had when I was on team is what motivates me as a coach. That creating and maintaining great teams is a fundamental goal of the Academy is why I am excited to be part of it!
What do you do other than climb?
I am a full-time mechanical engineering student at the University of Minnesota, in my third year. This is what occupies most of my time these days, which is great! I love my field of study and I hope to one day be a teacher/professor or a researcher. Or an engineer in industry, of course. We shall see what the future holds for me.

Tyler Thurmes

What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I Coach the Scholars, and am a Route Setter
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I was born and breed in MN. Cut my teeth at Taylors Falls then slowly made my way north year by year. I moved to CO for Year in 2014/15.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
My climbing future will hopefully be full of travel. I am going to South Africa for the summer to climb. I would like to eventually go on an expedition and learn to big wall climb. I’d also like to further explore northern MN.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I am excited to be a part of the Climbing Academy because I love being involved in everything climbing, and I also would like to teach the youth of Minnesota how to become better climbers and more prepared for the outdoors.
What do you do other than climb?
When I’m not climbing, I am usually working as a painter/landscaper/renovator at Renovations Inc. I also have a Passion for route setting and hiking.

 

Tom Zelman

What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I’m a Coach for Comp Team.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I got hooked on climbing about 3 years ago and have been relentlessly seeking to master the sport and myself since then. During this time I have helped to start a competitive collegiate team at the University of Minnesota that I have been coaching and competing with for about 2 years. I love the excitement of climbing competitions and enjoy seeing improvement in those that I coach. I am also Head Routesetter at the University of Minnesota, a position I use to experiment with climbing movement and build relationships in other parts of the Minnesota climbing community.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
As far as the future goes I aim to become a person of value in the Minnesota climbing community. After I graduate from the University of Minnesota this spring I plan to continue coaching at the Academy as well as maintain my position as Head Routesetter at the university. These experiences will set me up for any number of jobs and/or careers in the climbing industry, something I look forward to exploring in the coming years. And as far as my personal goals go, I aim to compete in Collegiate Nationals this coming spring and wish to of course continually master my climbing skills.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
The Midwest Climbing Academy blows my mind. I’m always especially amazed that it exists for the purpose of training youth, which is in my mind not only unique, but just plain cool. I’m excited to be a part of the Academy community because every time I enter our space and see the kids climb I know I am witnessing firsthand the growth and future of the Minnesota climbing community. Tell me that’s not cool.
What do you do other than climb?
When I’m not climbing (or thinking about climbing) or in class, I am writing. I have two novels drafted that I am currently revising in hopes to publish in the next few years.

Rachelle Pass

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
Primary coach for the Ascenders, also comp team on occasion
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
Flailing, falling, failing and fun wIth intermittent success. In high school, I worked in the kids activities department at a local fitness center – my boss told me he would buy me whatever I wanted (and that he could get away with) on the company credit card if I would work an event when he was short staffed. I chose climbing shoes.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
I would love to be able to say I’ve climbed on 6 continents.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I believe fully in giving more than one takes. I owe so much to a handful of very influential mentors growing up, when I easily could have made decisions that would have taken my life in a much different direction. The Academy is a place for learning, and that goes for me too!
What do you do other than climb?
Gardening. Traveling when I can. Exercising. Volunteering. Old lady things like going to bed early and getting up really early!

Adam “Cannon” Arnett

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I coach the Northstars.  Also a team member on the scholars.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I have been climbing since 2010 I think.  Maybe later, maybe earlier.  I love bouldering and sport climbing is fun, but inferior to bouldering.  I was on team at VE for a while and made it to mountain goats, but then switched to the academy when it opened.  I have been at the academy since it opened and previous to that I was training at VE.  My hardest sends indoors have been V9 (maybe V10 but probably not, there was one really hard thing that only me and Richard ever sent.  It could have been V10.) and 5.13a.  Outside, V7 and 5.11a.  My climbing is more dynamic than static and I have plenty of strength at my disposal, however my technique is lacking in comparison.  But my technique is still pretty good.  When I came to the academy I was pure power with no focus to it.  Because of this, Zach compared me to a civil war cannon and I got the nickname “Cannon.”  I have had episodes of tendonitis throughout my climbing, but I have overcome them all.  Because I have dealt with that kind of stuff a bunch, I know lots about hand injuries and how the tendons in your hands work.  I guess that’s a brief description of my climbing.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
I want to send double digit boulders and have otherworldly strength (I LOVE STRENGTH TRAINING.)  One boulder that I really want to send in my lifetime is Evilution (V11) in Bishop CA.  If you have never seen Evilution, I recommend you look it up because its super awesome.  Also, its not totally relevant, but I also want to travel to angel falls in Venezuela.  There’s probably some cool boulders there.  Lastly, my goal in strength training is probably a one-finger, one-arm pull up.  I have gotten one finger per hand (which isn’t terribly hard), and a one-arm, but have not put those together yet.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I’m excited to be a part of the academy because it’s friggin awesome!!  I have spent so much time there getting strong with super cool teammates and coaches.  People are so nice and funny there, and I would be honored if I could help someone experience it like I have.  It’s a rockin place.
What do you do other than climb?
Other than climbing, I do school work, play video games(Fallout, T.E.S., Civilization, XCOM, and Dead Space are my favorite series) and magic the gathering, and I ski as much as I can.  I really want to start volunteering somewhere like a hospital or a clinic, because helping people makes me happy and because I really want to go into medicine when I’m older.  However, my current schedule doesn’t have space for volunteering on a regular basis.

Phaydara Vongsavanthong

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I coach Comp Team.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I’ve been climbing since 1997.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
I want to continue traveling the world in search of the best foods, most fantastic locals, and the coolest climbing. I want to climb and eat on every continent.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I’m really excited to be part of the Academy because it is a youth dedicated facility. It’s really inspiring to see these young athletes mature and develop throughout the season. I learn as much from them as individuals/athletes as they do from me as a Coach.
What do you do other than climb?
I’m a board member with the Minnesota Climbing Cooperative and Minnesota Climbers Association. I also work with the Access Fund as a Regional Coordinator. Outside of the climbing realm I am working towards becoming a Master Gardener.

Chris Freund

What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I coach the Ninja Cats on Wednesdays and Club Team on Mondays!
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I myself began climbing when I was 8 or 9 years old. I joined one of the very first climbing teams for youth ever available at the Vertical Endeavors in St. Paul, and spent many years learning and growing through the program there. When I was 14 years old, I developed a strange hand injury that is unexplained to this day; it forced me to take roughly a 3-year break from climbing. When I was 17 years old, I could not stand being unable to climb, and so I eased back into it. Fortunately, my injury had been pacified and it has not given me a single problem since! I began coaching soon after The Academy opened, and it is by far the most rewarding program I have ever been a part of.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
In the future, I plan to spend much of the vacation time I can afford to take in Moab, Utah. I recently had one of the most incredible climbing trips of my life there to summit some desert towers, and there are so many more that I need to do. I will go back. Again. And again. And again!
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I am STOKED to be part of such an amazing team of coaches and staff. Together, we are one of the most like-minded and cohesive groups of people I have ever worked with. Even above the amazing coworkers however, are our gnarly, super-psyched athletes. As a coach, watching lessons taught over time manifest into real critical thinking ability and improved execution of movement and technique is extremely rewarding. By being a part of the team here at The Academy, I have been able to put my own spin on providing  the type experiences that I myself enjoyed so much as a youth.
What do you do other than climb?
Although climbing is a very large part of my life, I am currently an Undergrad student at the U of M, majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Management. Other hobbies and activities that I enjoy are slacklining, reading, writing, camping, and spending time with my family.

Chloe Sanderson

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I coach the Ascenders youth climbing team.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I first started climbing indoors when I was around 12. I have been on a youth team since then, and have started climbing outside in the past few years.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
My ambition is to climb V10 before I turn 20. I would like to get outside more, and become better at climbing on real rock. I’m excited to climb as an adult, and to pursue a career which is complimentary to my interest in sport and training.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I’m excited to be a part of midwest because I love climbing, and it’s an incredible opportunity to learn and appreciate climbing in a new way. In teaching younger climbers I gain perspective on movement, mindset, and leadership. I also get to coach some fun and super psyched kids.
What do you do other than climb?
Outside of climbing I like to read, research climbing, cook, run, and participate in theater projects.

Routesetters

Sam Struthers

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
Route Setting team
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I have climbed for 4 years, been to nationals numerous times and have climbed at the academy since its beginning.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
I want to continue competing, route setting  and climbing outdoors.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
It’s a good work environment and will prepare me if I want to set a competition.
What do you do other than climb?  
I am a sophomore at central high school and run cross country.

Kyle Struthers

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I am a route setting here at the Midwest Climbing Academy and a competitive athlete on the Competition Team.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I started climbing at Vertical Endeavors in 2010 and I have been climbing ever since! I started competing in 2012 for the VE Mountain Goats and have been to nationals six times since then! In addition to competing indoors, I try to get outside when I can. I have been lucky enough to travel around the US and to other parts of the world to climb in some of the best outdoor climbing areas!
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
I’d like to continue climbing while I attend college and after I graduate. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a job that pays well and allows me to climb and travel.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I think the Midwest Climbing Academy is an incredible place for youth climbers in the Twin Cities, and I am very happy to be a part of it! I’m excited to work here because climbing has taught me so many valuable life lessons, and I hope to help future generations get as much out of climbing as I have!
What do you do other than climb?  
I eat, sleep, spend way too much time on social media, occasionally try to convince myself to run, and go to school when I am not climbing.

 

Leadership Team

 

Zach Bramel

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
Admin
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I started climbing with my father and brother at VE Saint Paul as a teenager. I then got a job during college there and became a “climber”. I have spent the time from then until now doing my best to live a climbing lifestyle in Minnesota. It has brought me many places and given me focus. While I have a history of sport climbing, My primary motivation is to pursue bouldering as a primary discipline.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
My current climbing hopes and dreams: – Climb internationally. Top destinations are Fontainebleau, Switzerland, South Africa, and Japan.
– Find a sustainable relationship with physical training.
– Climb every boulder in Minnesota.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
One of my purest joys is watching someone grow or succeed, knowing that I was able to help them, in some way big or small, achieve that moment. I know no better place to combine my lifestyle and that joy.
My passion is to enrich lives through rock climbing, and I believe we can do that here.
What do you do other than climb?
My favorite rest-day activities are: Video games, Magic: the Gathering, and challenging myself to read more books.

 

Richard Cargill

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
Admin
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I have been climbing since 2005, I found sport climbing first but spent time trad climbing following an injury, and since my children where born I have exclusively been bouldering.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
8B enough said.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I love seeing people grow.
What do you do other than climb?  
Family!

Ali Bradway

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I am the Director of the Academy and I primarily coach Ninja Cats, North Stars and Homeschool Team. I also have coached Monday Club Team, various school teams and the Adaptive Climbing Team.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I was introduced to climbing through some new friends I mad after I moved to Minneapolis in 2013. I immediately fell in love with it, specifically bouldering. I have been a member of the Minnesota Climbing Co-op and quickly became a part of the community. For me, climbing is more of a lifestyle than a hobby. I love how climbing can challenge you physically, mentally and creatively. I also have experienced and enjoyed climbing outside and hope to do more in the future.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
I want to continue to challenge myself through climbing. I want to continue to learn and grow as a climber and develop more relationships through the climbing community. I also hope to climb outside more in the US as well as in other countries.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
Two things I love: working with youth and climbing. I appreciate that the Academy’s purpose is to enrich lives through climbing and how the programming is based on athlete motivation and goals. This place is unique and I am grateful to be along for the ride!
What do you do other than climb?
I love being outside, whether that is hiking, biking or napping in a hammock.  If I’m not climbing, I’m usually spending time with friends and family.

Noah Ridge

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What team(s) do you work with/what do you do here?
I work with comp team primarily, along with scholars. I am also head routesetter and I do some admin.
Tell us about your climbing past. What is your history?
I’ve been climbing for 11 years, beginning with climbing teams at vertical endeavors. I also competed in youth USA climbing competitions both bouldering and sport climbing since I was 14. I also compete in adult open USA climbing competitions and try to climb outdoors as much as possible.
Tell us about your climbing future. Where do you want to go?
I would like to compete in the world cup circuit and spend some time climbing in europe.  I would like to flash 5.14 someday.
Why are you excited to be part of Midwest Climbing Academy?
I really enjoy working with youth athletes and helping them grow into experienced competitors.
What do you do other than climb?
I am currently in my senior year at the University of Minnesota majoring in materials science and engineering.

Kids Open House

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This week (Dec. 16 – 20):  We will be open for Kids Open House every afternoon/evening from 4p – 9p. All youth climbers 19 and under are welcome to come in and try hard. We will be charging a $5 entry fee.

Hope to see you.

-Academy Team

Thank You Parents!

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Thank you to all the parents who attended our Q + A last night. We are extremely excited about the next few months with you.
If you couldn’t make it, know that our website will be going live next week. The site is looking sharp and should be able to answer many questions.

Also:  first Tryouts next week (FREE), Wednesday and Thursday nights, from 5:30 – 8:30 both nights (pick one). Tryouts will be held as one group.
You must email tyler@midwestclimbingacademy.com to reserve a spot. Send all questions here as well.

-Academy Team

 

Parent ONLY Q & A

TWO ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1) Our Parent ONLY Q +A will be this coming Thursday night (Dec. 5), from 7:30p-9p at the Academy. Our coaching staff and health professionals team will be on hand to answer all of your questions and concerns to the best of our ability.
Remember, your kids are not allowed at this meeting! This, of course, will rarely be the case. We’ll get them in here very soon….

2) We will be having our FIRST EVER team tryouts on Wednesday, Dec 11 and Thursday, Dec 12 – both nights from 5:30p to 8:30p. Interested in joining an Academy team?Come to a tryout (only one night required) and be ready to work hard and have lots of fun. Everyone is required to tryout.
Tryouts are for ages 8-19. (6-7 will be on another night).

Tryouts are FREE, but you must email tyler@midwestclimbingacademy.com now to reserve a spot on one of the nights, space is limited.
Please list your child’s name and age in your email.

NOTICE: Our main climbing area will be finished in 2-3 days, but we will still have work going on in other parts of our facility when you come. While we would love to have a completely finished gym for you, we decided it’s more important to get kids in our climbing area to start having a blast.

WHERE?
575 SE 9th St, Suite 70
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(Go under the building, you’ll know what we mean)

Happy Climbing,

-Academy Team