Opening of the climbing room at the end of the summer | New

When Recreate Climbing and Fitness Gym opened on January 17, two dreams came true. For Butte resident Jen DeLong, he was opening a climbing gym, and for resident Lisa Howell, he owned a business.

DeLong and her husband Matt DeLong have always loved climbing. In fact, when they moved to Butte, one of Jen DeLong’s reservations was that there was no climbing gym. She and Howell had seen each other around Butte, but they didn’t meet until they met at Jen DeLong’s cousin’s house on their way to a Garth Brooks gig years ago.






Jen DeLong and Lisa Howell, co-founders of Recreate Climbing and Fitness Gym, are pictured on the climbing walls under construction in Butte’s new exercise room. The duo transformed a historic building on Utah Street.


Meagan Thompson, the Montana standard


DeLong had wanted Howell to open a climbing gym with her for years, but Howell, a dental hygienist, wasn’t quite ready. When COVID-19 hit and the practice where Howell worked closed for a few weeks, it rocked her world. It also gave her time to work on her mental and physical health and reevaluate her life, her career and what was best for her family.







Recreate in Butte

Lisa and Brian Howell and Jen and Matt DeLong are pictured in the upstairs fitness center at Recreate Climbing and Fitness Gym on Utah Street in Butte.


Meagan Thompson, The Montana Standard


Howell also had a shoulder injury at the time, and DeLong, a health and life coach, began training with her several times a week. According to Howell, her shoulder pain went away as she continued to exercise and avoided surgery.

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“I saw (Jen) more than three times a week working out in her basement. And the injury, the pain started to go away,” Howell said.

DeLong said throughout their training that she felt Howell, who was also once a hygienist, wanted to own a business. Soon, Howell realized this for herself.







Recreate in Butte

Left to right: Lisa Howell, Jen DeLong, Matt DeLong and Brian Howell are pictured on the climbing walls under construction in Butte’s new exercise facility.


Meagan Thompson, The Montana Standard


Both Howell and DeLong are born-and-raised Montanese and lifelong athletes, but Howell had no rock climbing experience until DeLong took him to a climbing gym. They kept going and the idea kept growing.

Last year they had what they call “a divine moment”.

They were looking for the right place for their gym, when Howell walked past the building at 1101 Utah Ave.

Howell said she saw the building and knew it was supposed to be their gymnasium. But it wasn’t listed – until two days later it was. DeLong found the list online and sent it to Howell, who had not told DeLong about it.

They closed the building in August and opened a no-climb gym on the second floor early the following year. Although the ultimate goal was a climbing gym, they decided to wait because they weren’t sure how much interest a climbing gym in Butte would generate at first.

Over the past few months they have been in business, DeLong and Howell have found many people to be enthusiastic and supportive.

“The climbing community is awesome,” Howell said. “Climbers show up here regularly, like, ‘Is it open yet? Is it still open? »







Recreate in Butte

Lisa Howell and Jen DeLong demonstrate one of the gym equipment they use in the upper section of their new gym in Butte. “We do functional fitness, so we really want people to have fun while they work out,” DeLong says.


Meagan Thompson, The Montana Standard


“It’s really just an honor to have a community,” DeLong said. “And to see our vision for a conscious approach to fitness and where people see them really building from within.”

The gym’s name is pronounced rec-ree-ate, like recreational activities, DeLong and Howell said, although some people call it ree-cree-ate. DeLong said they don’t have a problem with that because part of the gym’s mission is to empower people to recreate.

The non-climbing part of the gymnasium includes a bridge, climbing ropes, sleds, showers and a dry sauna, among others. Howell and DeLong took special care in designing every part of the space, from the equipment in the gym to the paintings in the bathrooms. This part also offers classes taught by qualified trainers and has very little open gym time. There are yoga classes, kids’ events — like a speed and agility camp for elementary and junior high students this summer — and team training, which is a central idea for kids. gyms without climbing and climbing.







Recreate in Butte

The sauna at Recreate Climbing and Fitness Gym in Butte.


Meagan Thompson, The Montana Standard


Team training is all about working out in a group, and DeLong and Howell believe it’s the best way to stay motivated and in shape, regardless of experience level.

“We wanted it to be really enjoyable,” Howell said. “Butte deserves this.

The bridge is a spartan-style piece of equipment, similar to that used in the reality TV show “American Ninja Warrior”. DeLong rode her first Spartan Race last summer in Big Fork and was inspired by the experience.

Another fundamental principle of both parts of the gym is functional fitness, which builds strength in a way that you can use in everyday life.

“It helps you do real things in life,” DeLong said. “So our vision is that what we do here will help you there.”

The Recreate logo features a mountain with the slogan around it, “Climb your mountain”. The message is that if there’s a fitness-related goal or dream a client wants to achieve, DeLong and Howell want to help.

The climbing part of the gym is underway, with DeLong’s husband, Matt, and Howell’s husband, Ryan Howell, working to build the actual walls.

Unlike climbing gyms which require harnesses and ropes, Recreate’s gym is for bouldering, which is similar to rock climbing, except you only need climbing shoes and chalk.







Recreate in Butte

Showers for women at Recreate Climbing and Fitness Gym in Butte.


Meagan Thompson, The Montana Standard


The Howells and DeLongs estimate that the climbing portion of the gym will be completed in August. They were hoping to do it earlier this summer, but because of a delay in some equipment, like 12-inch-high mats that climbers can safely fall on.

Sport climbing made its debut at the 2020 Olympics, with bouldering being one of three specified disciplines.

DeLong and Howell’s plans include a storefront next to the bouldering room that will sell bouldering gear like chalk, branded items like t-shirts, and more.

While pricing for the climbing gym is yet to be decided, Recreate offers three different membership options: a $120 pass good for 10 workout classes, which is a limited-time offer; a 30-day subscription for $109; and a self-paying subscription for $89 per month, with a one-time $49 sign-up fee.

When the bouldering gym opens, there will be a single-use day pass option, a recurring monthly membership for the climbing gym only, and a recurring monthly membership for both gyms.

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