The Grand Rapids Boulder Project is effort of the American Alpine Club – West Michigan Chapter in collaboration with Grand Rapids City Parks and Recreation Department to build and run climbing structures in Highland Park.
The climbing structures (boulders) are small rock climbing walls built for the public to enjoy. Our goal is to help provide access to rock climbing for everyone and create a lively adventure culture in Grand Rapids. We are particularly interested in welcoming new climbers and those who many not otherwise have access to the sport.
Our long-term goal is to create and activate a boulder park in the Grand River corridor to expand access to climbing and support the creation of an outdoor adventure city. Our goal aligns with the GR Forward Plan, River Restoration/Action Plan, Green Grand Rapid Plan and Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Master Plan. It is our hope that this project helps to create a stronger community, one that is more united and active through climbing. Access to climbing for everyone, and especially underrepresented populations in climbing, is a key motivator.
West Michigan climbers began organizing in the fall of 2016 to encourage the Parks and Rec Dept. to add a boulder park to the current roster of park infrastructure. This push was in response to a broad call for input on the Parks and Rec Dept. master plan. A volunteer-led movement refereed to as the boulder project quickly grew to support the concept.
Participation in this drive includes over 750 climbers, families, and local business owners. The project has held public meetings, met with parks officials, met with insurance representatives, presented at city meetings, and advocated in other ways. The boulder project joined with the West Michigan Chapter of the American Alpine club in 2018.
The boulders and equipment are funded by Grand Rapids, MI 2013 voter-approved parks millage and donor raised funds through the American Alpine Club chapter.
A boulder park is a man-made structure consisting of climbing walls designed to look vaguely like outdoor boulders. The boulder park is designed to be enjoyable for all demographics. The park includes two 12 foot high boulders. Each boulder has unique climbing features and is outfitted with removable climbing holds that allow for creative routes for various ability levels. These routes will change frequently to encourage repeated use. The boulders are surrounded by manufactured wood surface. An informational sign welcome visitors. The boulders and routes are named after sponsors and supporters.
What People Say
Bouldering is a mix of strength, technique, and problem solving. And, its really fun.Kyle H.
Climbing is growing in popularity. We want to make it accessible to anyone.Charlie H.
Goal: Create the outdoor adventure city.GR Forward Plan