Reach new heights at a Latitude, Hampton’s first climbing gym

Denise attempts a difficult boulder problem.
Denise attempts a difficult boulder problem.
Isabelle Richardson

If you love to exercise, socialize and learn, consider spending a day at Latitude Climbing at Peninsula Town Center in Hampton. People who visit say they come for the climbing but stay for the community.

A view of the gym from the second floor. (Isabelle Richardson)

Hampton’s first climbing gym, Latitude opened this past summer in June of 2023. Latitude was founded by Jason McKenzie, a former military man who had a passion for climbing with his friends. The new facility is bringing a new kind of fun and adventure to our city.

“In this area, there’s not a lot of mountains naturally, not a lot of rock formations,” Kenton, a staff member, observed. “So they started these gyms to give people the chance to be introduced to the sport and just the activity of rock climbing.”

Since the pandemic, more and more people have been drawn to adventure sports like climbing. In the past few years alone, 3 new climbing gyms have been opened in the greater Hampton Roads area. Now that Latitude is open, Hampton residents no longer have to drive to Norfolk or Virginia Beach to try out this phenomenon.

Staff member Ethan shows our staff the ropes. (Isabelle Richardson)

“I’ve been rock climbing for about 2 years now,” Ethan, another staff member, shared. “I got into it when I was in college. I used to climb at Latitude in Norfolk…They wanted to expand over here, just to branch out [and introduce more] people to climbing.”

The new Peninsula Town Center location is more convenient for Hampton climbers and anyone interested in learning more about the sport, and so far, it has been a hit. While visiting the gym, several of our brave staff members had the chance to see what the hype is all about. 

“If I had the money, I would probably go and get a membership right now,” Denise Penn, our editor, shared after her session at the gym. 

“It is easy to start learning to climb if you just listen to the instructors,” Ashani Middleton, one of our reporters, added. “I liked climbing the taller walls because I had a rope and harness, which made me feel really safe.”

Ashani and Denise crush their first climbs. (Isabelle Richardson)

If you just want to try out climbing, it is open to all ages (with some safety guidelines). Also, the facility offers a $22 day pass for adults and a $18 day pass for youth, so you do not need a membership to visit. Climbing might seem intimidating, but the Latitude team is welcoming and makes the experience very accessible. 

“We say, ‘we build climbers,’ and we’re definitely doing a good job with that,” Ethan shared. “We have…kids classes, youth teams and stuff like that. We try to get them in young and teach them this. It’s not something a lot of people know about. It took me a while to know.”

Curious about climbing? Take Ethan’s advice: “Latitude builds climbers of all ages. Come try it out – you might discover a new passion!” The climbing community in Hampton is scaling new heights, one ascent at a time.

Ashani Middleton
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Comments (5)

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  • S

    Saniyah berryFeb 15, 2024 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for saving new ideas for kids in Hampton va because I thought that Hampton didn’t have a lot of fun thing to so in it but I watch the video and know I have a ideas of fun places to go in Hampton va.

  • O

    omari felderFeb 15, 2024 at 10:06 am

    people will enjoy things like that

  • J

    Julian HolmesFeb 15, 2024 at 10:03 am

    Wow that’s pretty cool, I might try it one time.

  • K

    KamiFeb 13, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    I thought Michael and I did smoothly with this article with Ms. Boudet’s help it really improved what our vision was.

  • A

    Ashai middletonFeb 13, 2024 at 12:09 pm

    I love this article and d how it will bring more Bethel high school students to these locations. I have no serious critiques for this article, ut some details like the other climbing gym locations should be more accurate.