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Climbing is one of the fastest-growing sports in America, led by the explosion of indoor climbing gyms in places—like Houston—that don't offer much in the way of mountains to conquer. Seriously: there's been a 46 percent increase in these climbing lifestyle gyms since 2010. But what about the people who have fallen in love with climbing gyms but are unsure about taking their new hobby outside? That's exactly the problem that REI's new collaboration is designed to solve.

The new REI Co-op Climb is a partnership between the high-end outdoor equipment retailer and Momentum Indoor Climbing gyms. The first co-op concept will debut at Momentum Katy—which will be one of the largest climbing gyms in the country when it opens on July 15—followed by a second at Momentum Silver Street in Houston's First Ward, scheduled to open this fall.

The Co-op will be staffed by REI employees and offer climbing gear and apparel for enthusiasts of all levels as well as unique programming and events. Teachers from REI's Outdoor School will join Momentum's own offerings to work with gym members through classes for beginner and advanced climbers designed to help them gain skills and confidence to go from the climbing walls to rock crags.

"These gyms are an important resource for avid climbers, and they’re an onramp for getting more people into the sport," said REI divisional vice president John Sheppard in a press release. "As a respected climber’s gym, Momentum shares the co-op’s ethos around education, and we look forward to introducing more individuals and youth to our growing climbing community."

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