Boulder, Rock Climb at RoKC in the Kansas City area

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – About seven years ago, Andrew Potter was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan as captain of the 75th Ranger Regiment, when he dreamed of climbing the cliffs around him.

It was then that the idea of ​​“RoKC” came to my mind.

“After I left the military, I just wanted to wake up and do what I love to do every day, which is climb,” Potter said. “So I started working on a business plan to see if that was something that could be possible, and obviously it is possible.”

Potter opened its first location in North Kansas City in 2016. It now has three locations, the most recent in Olathe, opened in 2020.

Gyms have options for all experience levels, from bouldering to high climbing walls up to 50 feet high. If that intimidates you, remember what Potter said: anything is possible.

“Climbing is quite natural. If you can climb a ladder, you can climb our gyms, ”he said.

For the youngest in particular, there is no limit to the distance they can travel.

“Climbing is going to be part of the Olympics, so no different from progressing with gymnastics. If you want to start competitive climbing at age 7, you can skip the US National Championships and someday compete for the US Olympic team, ”Potter said.

It’s not all about competition. Rock climbing is a mind-free exercise, which Potter calls “active meditation”.

“Climbing really forces you to focus on what exactly you are doing at the moment. And so what a lot of people find when they come to climb for the first time is that they stay longer than they think they would, and when they do go they get a feeling of relaxation or almost like a break. I don’t feel like they just did a workout, ”Potter said.