I’m a founding member of the Minnesota Climbing Co-op. I didn’t help build the structure, as I was hurt at the time (I tend to hurt myself). But, I participated in the fundraising comps that raised seed money and bought an access pass and co-op membership while it was still just a hopeful idea.
A dedicated group of Twin Cities climbers, fed up with dodging birthday parties and scout troops at the commercial gym in town, banded together and shared in a vision of a bouldering facility where they could climb and train in peace and without contributing to a mission of profit over community. The co-op is pushing two years old now and looking back, it has been an impressive journey by climbers, for climbers. The fruition of this vision serves as a reminder of something that was told to me recently, that reality is based in dreams. So keep on dreaming, son.
Once a month, I host an Intro to the MNCC night at the co-op for my climbing group, the Twin Cities Rock Climbing Meetup. Last night was one of those nights. It attracts some regulars, but mostly noobs who have either never climbed at the co-op before or simply never climbed. The MNCC lets me host these nights when they are not otherwise open (this is a 24/7 facility with key fobs for access pass holders and open hour nights three days per week for anyone to join in).
By holding this event on a quieter night, I am free to slowly introduce people to the facility and to our other climbers before getting on some problems myself. Usually, there are other co-op members climbing while we are there (24/7 access, remember!) and my group ends up interacting with some of the hard core folk that the co-op naturally attracts.
Last night was no exception. One of the things that keeps me so psyched about this monthly event is to watch the experienced climbers start engaging with the new folks from my group. It is not a standoff, it is not a clique driven atmosphere, rather it is a welcoming, embracing community where beta freely flows and encouragement is doled out in spades.
Aside from my once a month event (last Thursday of the month), the MNCC holds open hours most M,W, F nights and offers a Ladies Night on many Mondays. They also have a slackline setup, campus rungs, trapeze bar, some weights, and shoes to borrow (if you are that green). For members of the co-op, you can also train to become a setter and help keep problems fresh by contributing to bi-weekly setting sessions.
Me on a problem I set in February 2012