The Block

The Block

March 25th, 2014 by Tyler Jett in Fyi2014

Husband-wife duo Wills Young and Lisa Rands climb at High Point Climbing and Fitness.

Husband-wife duo Wills Young and Lisa Rands climb...

Photo by Kelsie Bowman /Times Free Press.

The Block is open, as are the outdoor climbing walls that stretch high atop its downtown building. For years, the city has anticipated this new feature, located between the Tennessee Aquarium and Third Street. And now, after months of delays, residents are ready for the complex to take Chattanooga to new heights.

A $6.5 million development, The Block features a 5,000-square-foot outdoor climbing wall, which includes a "speed climbing" section. This area is designed to attract regional, national and maybe worldwide competitions. And then, if the outdoor walls aren't for you, the High Point Climbing and Fitness center offers plenty of indoor activity.

The Block is also a great place for you to hang out and shop downtown. Rock/Creek Outfitters offers a 4,000-square-foot store. And next door you will soon be able to grab a coffee with some friends at Chattz, scheduled to open late in the spring or early in the summer.

But the biggest draw is the climbing wall and its participants. Though the wall opened in December, it won't see its true potential until temperatures rise. The High Point Climbing and Fitness officials determine whether to open the outdoor activities, and they won't do so unless it's warm enough to scale safely.

"We're ready for it," said Amy Donahue, a communications specialist with River City Company, an economic development engine for downtown Chattanooga. "We want to see people out there."

Donahue said The Block could further establish Chattanooga as an outdoor destination. The 5,000-square-foot wall is one of the United States' largest outdoor climbing walls located in a city's downtown area.

Though the full potential for The Block is not yet known, officials are confident that the area will remain active this year, considering the passions of many Chattanooga residents.

"Chattanooga has a great reputation for outdoor climbing and bouldering," Donahue said. "Places that have great natural rock have great participation in their climbing gym."

In the coming years, she said, The Block will be a prominent piece of all downtown activity.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or