In 1993, Climbmax was founded with a singular mission: to foster and provide for the climbing community in Western North Carolina. Our founder, Stuart Cowles, had arrived Asheville just a year prior bent on finding a home that was unique, peaceful, and surrounded in every direction by mountains. At the time, climbing gyms were a novel concept (the first gym in North America was only 6 years old!), but he placed a bet on a small building under a parking garage and established “Climbmax Indoor Climbing Center”, lovingly known today as Climbmax Downtown. A year later, Climbmax Mountain Guides was founded, and in 2016 a second Climbmax location was opened in at the Smoky Mountain Adventure Center. After operating for over 25 years, the passion still remains for the city, mountains, and community that have allowed this company to flourish and inspire others.
What sets Climbmax apart is the enduring history of our company and the combined experience of our staff and directors. For over 25 years, we have been a fixture of the climbing community in Western North Carolina, and have seeded the journeys of countless climbers in our area. The history that stands behind our doors is unique, entertaining, and bold, and one that we are excited to share with you.
We strive to always be an organization climbers and guests can place their faith in, and we embrace the challenges of this mission soberly and with dignity. Honesty, humility, and professionalism are the principles that guide our operation, and we take pride in our integrity as instructors, guides, and human beings.
Climbmax thrives with the support of our community, and we pledge to care for our fellow climbers in return. Through our partnerships with organizations like Streets to Peaks, Carolina Climbers Coalition, The Access Fund, and hundreds of other non-profits, schools, and institutions over the years we have been able to make a positive impact on the places we climb and people we climb with.