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Good news for social climbers

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Rock-climbing gyms have appeared in many cities in recent years, but this climbing wall could easily pop up in your back yard or neighborhood park.

A pair of longtime friends from Orem take the portable wall to parties, city celebrations and other events so Utahns can get a taste of climbing. Steven Frandsen and Greg Schauerhamer, owners of Klimbing Xpositions, say the wall is fun, safe and unique."A good percentage of the people who use the wall have never been rock-climbing before," Frandsen said. "But we also have people show up at the wall who bring their own climbing shoes and harnesses.

"That's the beauty of it - we have a lot of extremely easy routes, and we've also set some routes that are very hard."

Schauerhamer, a recent University of Utah marketing graduate, and Frandsen, a U. student, purchased the wall from Rebound Action Sports in Smithfield. They expect the wall to be a good investment and hope to eventually purchase several more and book them at events throughout the Intermountain West.

Klimbing Xpositions' wall is unique because of its portability and hydraulic belay system. Instead of posting an employee at the top to make sure climbers don't fall, Frandsen and Schauerhamer take advantage of a mechanical system that guarantees safety.

"The machinery is more reliable than humans," Schauerhamer said.

For a couple of dollars each, would-be climbers can strap themselves into a harness, hook onto a rope and take their best shot at scaling the 24-foot wall. At full capacity, the wall can accommodate 50 climbers per hour. The only requirement is a little courage.

"We've had kids as young as 2 years old get on the wall," Schauerhamer said.

"Everybody can be happy," added Frandsen. "Everybody can meet their challenge."

For those who just wish to reach the top, the most straightforward route is relatively easy. But color-coded holds mark more difficult routes for the more skilled or more adventurous.

So far, the wall has been a hit at events such as a Utah Jazz rally at the Gallivan Center, a Snow College student party, Mayfest at the U. and Orem's Summerfest. It will reappear at Provo's Freedom Festival in July and several other events this summer.

"We've had a great response," Schauerhamer said. "People get really excited about it."

Both Schauerhamer and Frandsen have enjoyed rock-climbing as a hobby for several years. But it was through their work as ski instructors at Deer Valley that the pair were introduced to a California man who told them about the wall and his plan to rent one out.

They followed suit, forming a company that is one of the few in the state with a portable wall. The wall is connected to a trailer that helps support it in the upright position while being used and carries it from one location to another.

For Schauerhamer and Frandsen, the business capitalizes on the recent popularity of rock-climbing while also keeping them connected to their hobby. It's also a partnership the two Orem High School graduates have been planning for decades.

"We've been best friends since elementary school and we've always wanted to run a business together," said Schauerhamer.

Klimbing Xpositions rents the wall for $200 an hour, including use of all necessary equipment, staffing and insurance. The company can be reached at 221-5898.