19 Jun 2024

Transforming Indoor Climbing: Mesa Rim Climbing Gym's Success Story 

Originally published on Solatube International  


In January 2015, Mesa Rim Climbing Gym embarked on a groundbreaking project in San Diego, California, to create their newest Climbing and Fitness Center. Their vision was ambitious: to convert a vacant building into a premier indoor rock climbing destination. Ian McIntosh, President of Mesa Rim Climbing Gym, expressed the goal succinctly: “Our plan was to create an inspiring environment. We want people to walk in and have a wow factor.” 


The Challenge of Bringing the Outdoors Inside 

The design team faced a significant challenge: to bring the essence of outdoor climbing inside. Ian McIntosh emphasized the importance of natural light and an open, clean aesthetic to simulate wilderness climbing. Bob Kain, President and Partner at Mesa Rim Climbing Gym, highlighted the critical role of lighting in creating the desired atmosphere: “It’s all about the walls. The walls tower above you, attract you, and they pull you in.” 


A Solution with Solatube Daylighting Systems 

To meet this challenge, the design team adopted an integrated approach, leveraging Solatube Daylighting Systems to illuminate the facility. These systems were strategically placed to daylight 60 feet from the top of the walls to the occupied floor level, enhancing visibility and creating a dynamic climbing environment. 

Ian McIntosh praised the flexibility of Solatube Daylighting Systems in achieving their lighting objectives: “The Solatube Daylighting Systems gave us a tremendous amount of flexibility when laying out the locations of light.” Bob Kain echoed this sentiment, emphasizing how multiple Solatube systems allowed them to control light angles and achieve their desired lighting effects. 

Results and Impact 

The integration of natural lighting with Solatube systems yielded remarkable results. Rock climbing holds and routes became more visible and navigable, enhancing the overall climbing experience. The gym's popularity soared, reaching near capacity in memberships and becoming a hub for competitions and events in Southern California. 

Mesa Rim Climbing Gym's success story showcases how innovative design and lighting solutions can transform indoor spaces into vibrant, engaging environments. By seamlessly blending natural light with architectural vision, they have created a lasting impact on the climbing community, igniting passion and inspiration among climbers of all levels.





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