Entrepreneurs / Small Business  June 21, 2024

Climbing Collective coming to Greeley with message of strength, persistence

GREELEY — With any new climb, Bryan Hylenski knows he will fall, probably more than a few times to find the right route to the top. As an experienced climber, it has become a metaphor for life. When you fall, you get back up again and keep trying.

“You may fail on a climb 60 times before you get the moves,” Hylenski explained. “It teaches you that failure is something to be strived for and overcome.”

He hopes to bring those lessons to Greeley through the Greeley Climbing Collective, a bouldering and climbing gym at 1510 Eighth Ave., just north of the Maddie apartments.

Hylenski and the other owners of Hive Greeley LLC bought the old Foundation Hall, which used to be a performance venue for music students at the University of Northern Colorado, from Richmark Real Estate Partners LLC for $1.5 million last year.

The “collective” behind the business consists of Bryan and Shauna Hylenski, Aaron and Heather Tellier, Mack Maier and Heeran Joe. The team immediately got to work last year to build their third climbing gym in Northern Colorado, but they found asbestos, bringing progress on the gym to a halt. Then it became a long environmental cleanup.

But the past several months has given his team a variety of other pitfalls. The building has been broken into and robbed twice, and he’s dealt with significant homeless and drug problems in and around the building. He’s had to hire nighttime security to keep people out.

“It has definitely felt like a cursed project, but I’ve learned that you get to a certain point and push the boulder to the top of the hill and it rolls down on its own,” Hylenski said.

He is certain that once the gym opens, Richmark can make moves on cleaning up other downtown spots they own, and the area will clean itself out.

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Longmont Climbing Collective hosts ice climbing World Cup

The Longmont Climbing Collective, 155 Pinnacle St., Longmont, will host the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup event from Feb. 21-23, 2025. “Bringing an event like the World Cup back to the U.S. is exciting because it supports our mission to serve new and experienced climbers,” said Bryan Hylenski, CEO and co-owner of Climbing Collective. “This event will exemplify the collaborative spirit of Longmont businesses to work together to grow revenue and reinvest in our community.” The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) was founded in 1932 and has a global presence on six continents representing 90 member associations and federations in 67 countries, according to UIAA.org.

“All I’m trying to do is open a gym 10 or 25 times. It’s just like I’m on a tall route. I’m gonna fall, I’m gonna have to come back to the ground and start over. I have a lot of practice at that,” Hylenski said. “The light at the end of the tunnel is, we’re going to bring the same message to the community. We may struggle, but the community will build itself. That’s what we did in Longmont and Loveland. We hope to do that in Greeley.”

Hylenski’s plans for the building include indoor climbing and bouldering areas, as well as fitness and yoga classes. The building also will have a rooftop patio.  

While the Longmont Climbing Collective has outdoor climbing walls, the Greeley Climbing Collective will only operate indoors. The Loveland Climbing Collective at 1503 Taurus Court, also is an indoor climbing gym.

“It took me five years to build in Longmont,” Hylenski said of his experience with setbacks. “The people of Greeley are super nice, incredibly friendly and helpful. I can’t tell you how many people who have offered support.”

Like others in Greeley, he’s heard the common complaint that there is nothing for kids to do to have fun and some exercise at the same time. He hopes to change that by offering youth programs to get kids into the sport. He also will welcome UNC students and residents to feel the rush of making it to the top on their own merits.

The collective sells day passes and monthly memberships for adults and children, and also partners with other businesses such as grocery stores, restaurants and breweries so their employees can use the facilities. In Greeley, Hylenski said he has planned to work with the Greeley Recreation Center to help plot routes in the climbing wall there.

“We’ll do a lot of events, we’ll work with the chamber of commerce, and get the word out, offer a few free days each year, and member nights where they can bring friends for free. It allows us to bring people in who want to try it.”

Hylenski hopes he can open the gym no later than December or January 2025.

With any new climb, Bryan Hylenski knows he will fall, probably more than a few times to find the right route to the top. As an experienced climber, it has become a metaphor for life. When you fall, you get back up again and keep trying.

Sharon Dunn
Sharon Dunn is an award-winning journalist covering business, banking, real estate, energy, local government and crime in Northern Colorado since 1994. She began her journalism career in Alaska after graduating Metropolitan State College in Denver in 1992. She found her way back to Colorado, where she worked at the Greeley Tribune for 25 years. She has a master's degree in communications management from the University of Denver. She is married and has one grown daughter — and a beloved English pointer at her side while she writes. When not writing, you may find her enjoying embroidery and crochet projects, watching football, or kayaking and birdwatching on a high-mountain lake.
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