Climbers find community and environmental stewardship in a beloved local gym.
If you drop by the Stone Age Climbing Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico during the busy hours after work, you’ll see hundreds of people from all over the city not just climbing, but also talking, laughing, and sharing. For these folks, the gym isn’t just a space to get exercise, it’s a place to build community. And that’s exactly what Stone Age wants.
“We want people to come here and challenge themselves and grow, but we also want the gym to be a place where everyone can feel like they belong,” says Kenton Puckett, 34, the gym’s Retail Manager.
Part of this community focus comes from the history of climbing. It’s a team sport (unless of course you’re Alex Honnold), and climbers have also rallied around each other because their sport depends on collective environmental stewardship. To ensure pristine outdoor climbing spots continue to exist, they’ve been at the forefront of the environmental movement and built bonds around preservation.
“No one is paying us to be stewards, but we care about where we climb. It's as simple as that.” Kenton says.
One other way Stone Age builds community is by carrying local products, including Taos Bakes. We’ve been selling our bars at Stone Age since 2013, back when the brand was called Taos Mountain Energy Bars. Kenton was the buyer who brought us in and says that carrying the bars was not just about supporting local businesses, but also about ensuring climbers always have the best and tastiest snacks possible.
“We want to make sure people can put good, real fuel into the gas tank and that’s what they get with Taos,” he says.
"We love that the bars actually taste good. We want their entire experience at the gym, from the climbing to the snacks, to be at the same level. All things positive."
Going forward, it’s only up (pun very much intended) for Stone Age. They’ve grown their audience significantly since they first opened in 1997, and they’re set to open a second location next spring.
“Ultimately, we’re just really proud to be in New Mexico, and to be part of a community of local brands like Taos Bakes that are growing and showing the world what this part of the country has to offer,” Kenton says.