— Fitness and fun finds a vertical home in Martinsburg.
Situated conveniently at 54 General Motors Access Road, in Martinsburg, Climbing New Heights (CNH)—a one-stop shop for climbers of any level, any group size, and any desired interest—is under new ownership.
CNH comprises an indoor climbing gym and outdoor guide service dedicated to helping people reach their climbing potential—or find new climbing adventures. The team at CNH consists of PCGI-certified guides who are ready and willing to set up any type of climb for attendees—indoor, outdoor, novice, or seasoned. Established in 2013 by Brance Keesecker, the business was sold earlier this year to Harpers Ferry business owner, Chris Price—a fellow member of the local climbing community.
“I heard about this in early February, and that it was going to close down,” he said. “The thought of the local climbing community losing a climbing gym in this area was troubling to me. I know Brance—he’s mentored me on some projects, and is an Air Force vet—I knew the time that went into this place. So, I was motivated to see it continue.”
Price saw that the business was profitable, but also where it could be expanded upon. “I liked his team—a good team to move forward with—and we added Tracey Moody as a partner. Her son is an aspiring American Ninja Warrior. I met them through the coffee shop [Price also owns and operates Harpers Ferry’s popular Guide Shack Cafe coffee shop]. He liked to come here and climb, and I met him at the Guide Shack, where he’d also come and climb [indeed, a coffee shop with a climbing wall].”
The relationship with Moody made sense, the investment seemed doable, and together, Price and his new team decided to push forward with it. “It seems like a good investment over time, and we can grow the community,” he noted. “So far, the response has been very good; we’ve retained the community that Brance developed, and added to it, while continuing to test the waters in order to touch various parts of the community that would enjoy this.”
Price started climbing at 18 years old with a friend in Ohio. The duo learned many of the skills and systems used in climbing without much guidance, or safety, considered. “There just weren’t many opportunities to climb, but we figured out some (mostly man-made) structures we could climb, and eventually figured out how to do it safely, and slowly ventured out from there.”
Price would soon join the U.S. Air Force and serve as a member of the Ohio National Guard—though he continued to climb throughout his early years. “Then, around 2010-2012, out in Washington state, I fell in love with mountaineering,” he explained. “Alpine terrain, and hiking—not specific rock climbing—though I would still climb from time to time. Once I moved to Harpers Ferry around five years ago, I got back into it—just climbing the rock faces and meeting some of the people around here. I put the coffee shop in and I loved the high ceilings, and knew that putting the climbing wall in the back would be a unique component and create a cool vibe. I also think that climbing is underutilized in Harpers Ferry. I thought putting a wall in that coffee shop would cultivate the community even more … and of course, it was good for me too.”
A few years after opening the Guide Shack, Price was ready for another climb with CNH—this one closely associated with his passions and personal history.
Climbing New Heights offers expanded classes five nights a week, and promotes group events of all types and purposes—from folks with disabilities to wedding parties to veterans to reunions to birthdays. “You name it, we can organize a group event right here for you,” Price assured. “We’re built for it.”
Additionally, anyone can stop in for a daily workout or a larger membership. CNH boasts indoor climbing classes year-round (from no experience to professional), guided outdoor rock-climbing trips in the area, and yoga coming soon. Open seven days a week, they also offer discounts to college students and veterans.
And if you don’t think this place is a legitimate gym, have you ever looked in a climbing magazine at these people? In a word: shredded. “Climbing has that inherent fitness requirement—you’re going to get super fit if you continue to climb,” added Price. “It’s easy to overlook a place like this as a gym, but it’s a serious gym. And speaking of the popularity of American Ninja Warriors: at the top of that game is climbers.”
— For hours of operation and pricing, as well as up-to-date events and additional information, visit the above links.