Dayton’s Not Dead: Urban Krag Climbing Center

Climbers take advantage of church-turned-climbing center Urban Krag. Photo courtesy of Karl Williamson, Urban Krag.

Andrea Schaaf, Contributing Writer

Dayton’s Oregon District has become a haven for many locals thanks to its vibrant culture, eclectic shops and buzzing nightlife, but just down the street on a quiet corner sits another local hotspot.

The Urban Krag Climbing Center has been a treat to the Dayton community since Nov. 7, 1996, when owner Karl Williamson opened its doors.

Williamson, a fourth generation Daytonian, has been climbing since 1982 when he climbed in Glacier National Park. After seeing how different climbing spots and centers have been created and transformed across the United States, Williamson said he wanted to do something “more original.”

On the corner of Clay and Cass streets and within walking distance of downtown sat a church built in 1888 that had been condemned and set for demolition. The historic building gave Karl the opportunity he was looking for.

“A minor background in restoration quickly became a major background in restoration,” Williamson said. It was a large project, but one that Williamson said paid off. The climbing center features eight thousand square feet of vertical courses ranging in heights from twenty-eight to fifty-six feet, including options for all levels of expertise.

For expert climbers or those who are just getting started, Urban Krag is a healthy alternative for an active lifestyle. According to Urban Krag’s website, daily admission costs $14, but a $55 monthly membership, as well as other membership packages, are available for avid climbers.

Urban Krag also has evening hours in order to offer its services to working climbers, staying open until 11 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday.

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