Vertical adventures tampa

Vertical adventures tampa DEFAULT

Vertical Ventures



Nov 2,  at  AMNov 2,  at  PM


Date: Saturday, March 15,
Edition: All
Section: PLAY!
Page: E1
Illustration: PHOTO 2

Column: Go!

Dateline: TAMPA
Vertical Adventures
Climbers cling to 'Zen thing' on knobby walls of Tampa gym

Lots of health clubs and amusement parks offer climbing walls these days, but few provide the mood, music and mountain vibe of Indoor Vertical Ventures.

Start with the guy who answers the phone. His name?

"Alpine," he says.

Um, last name?

"Just Alpine," the guy says. "Like Madonna."

Then there's the climbing gym decor, which is airport industrial park overlaid with rocky walls and knobby holds. And the climbing-gym sound system, which throbs with everything from reggae to electronica.

"Not the radio," Alpine says. "Anything but the radio."

Young people crowd into the gym in the evening, especially on half-price college and ladies' nights. They munch energy bars and gulp sports drinks while talking about climbing, paging through Rock & Ice magazine, or signing up for the next Appalachian trip.

"We like to refer to the mysterious vortex at Vertical Ventures," Alpine says. "People come to climb and end up just hanging around; they can't escape the vortex."

'Magic Pants Robin'

Not everyone at Vertical Ventures is a year-old marketing major or Red Bull representative.

Plenty of families have birthday parties in the place, and lots of companies book the gym for team-building exercises. On those days, Vertical Ventures is more of a corporate retreat -- or Chuck E. Cheese -- than cool climbing club.

One of the more colorful gym regulars is Robin Patterson, a year-old computer salesman from Clearwater. He's got an earring, bushy gray moustache and a blonde flattop, and favors purple T-shirts and day-glow green tights.

One day a bunch of climbers were assigning nicknames, and he was dubbed MPR.

"Magic Pants Robin."

Patterson doesn't mind the nickname. He's an inline skater and marathon runner who enjoys the gym scene and appreciates the cross-training.

"Climbing is a good thing for stretching, for suppleness," he says. "Here, you use everything. If you want cardio training, you can go up and down really fast. If you want strength training, you can pull yourself up.

"You're holding onto almost nothing with your fingertips -- it's a Zen thing."

Americans may be aging and many obese, as a people, but you'd never know it at Vertical Ventures.

For an observer from Sarasota, especially, the climbers seem strikingly young and lean. Not a lot of wrinkles or body fat. Lots of sculpted shoulders and veiny forearms.

Christy Van Heugten -- who is a year-old marketing major and Red Bull representative -- attends the University of South Florida. She started going to the gym in November.

"I'm still a beginner, the lowest level," Van Heugten says, laughing. "I fall a lot."

She took to the sport right away, though.

"I've heard stories from my mom that when I was little, at the Grand Canyon and all, I was climbing over the rocks," she says. "Maybe in a previous life I was a climber."

Not so vertical

Alpine, who eventually concedes that his given name is Chris Brown, is one of the gym managers and climbing instructors. The year-old started out as just another customer, though, climbing the walls four nights a week.

Ironically, Vertical Ventures isn't all that vertical. It's set in a warehouse that's two or three stories high, at best.

Much of the climbing is actually "bouldering," which is low-level practicing without harnesses. The gym floor beside the walls is covered with shredded tires and mats, and spotters help break the falls of climbers trying difficult maneuvers.

Just a few years ago, Vertical Ventures drew lots of climbers from the Orlando area. Now there are plenty of climbing walls here, there and everywhere.

Alpine calls this trend a double-edged sword. More climbers means more climbing walls -- and more crowded walls -- but not necessarily more devotion to the beauty of the sport.

"The whole 'extreme' thing has become more popular, though I wouldn't call climbing extreme," he says. "Society has put more emphasis on self-improvement, doing things for yourself, testing yourself.

"And it's fun, man."

If you Go!

Indoor Vertical Ventures is at Pioneer Park Blvd., Suite E, in the Pioneer Industrial Park north of Tampa International Airport. The climbing gym is closed Mondays but is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, noon to midnight Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Daily rates are $11 weekdays, $ weekends and holidays. For more information, visit or call ()

Caption: STAFF PHOTO / NICOLE FRUG / [email protected]
Robin Patterson, 53, known as MPR, or "Magic Pants Robin," scales a wall at Indoor Vertical Ventures in Tampa.
STAFF PHOTO / NICOLE FRUGE / [email protected]
University of South Florida student Christy Van Heugten, 20, climbs a wall at Indoor Vertical Ventures in Tampa. "I'm still a beginner, the lowest level," Van Heugten says, laughing. "I fall a lot."

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Vertical Ventures

USA Climbing & Vertical Ventures St. Pete Collegiate Regionals


Lead, Top Rope, and Bouldering Rock Climbing Competition hosted by Vertical Ventures St. Pete on March 26th. These comps were sanctioned by USA Climbing - the national governing body of competition climbing in the United States. To learn more about USA Climbing visit them at

Video compilation by EMojave Photography

All photos and updates for all of our climbing related events can be found at

Song: We Rise - San Holo
No Copyright Infringement Intended

Vertical Adventures Climbing Gym

A day at Vertical Adventures

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The U.S. Military in a Dangerous World : How Much is Enough?

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The U.S. spends more on defense than the next seven nations combined. Yet military spending, as a percentage of GDP, is the lowest it has been in fifty years; and is only one-fifth what we spend on entitlements and debt service. Many policymakers worry that we don’t have the armed forces — people or technology — that we need to achieve our international and security objectives. So perhaps the right question is: what role should America play in a dangerous world? And what resources does that demand? What is necessary to defeat ISIS? Keep the sea lanes open? Prevent genocide in Africa? Three of America’s smartest, most experienced “players” will address these questions and more.


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Space Medicine Medical Operations

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The Putin Files: John Brennan

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USNS Spearhead

USNS Spearhead Arrives in St Petersburg on Maiden Voyage By Barb Haselden and Sully Grasso for Eastlake Blister
The announcement came in late that Austal USA ship builders located at Mobile, Alabama, had won a U. S. Navy contract to build ten high-speed transport ships, known as the Spearhead class Joint High Speed Vessels. The design, with a ' long by 93' wide catamaran sea frame, is for transport, not combat.
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These ships will be used for fast, flexible and maneuverable transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment even in shallow waters.
It has been said these ships will be the pick-up trucks of the sea.

The vessel is manned by a crew of 40 and is capable of transporting tons 1, nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities for off-loading tanks and troops.

She has airline style seating for , and fixed berthing for
Other features include an aviation flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations

Besides combat support the ship also has the ability to support operations such as:
Humanitarian efforts
Disaster response
Maritime law enforcement activities.
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Beginning to 22mins - 28secs
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Tour starts 25minssecs
Total time of video 50 minutes

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This video was uploaded from an Android phone.

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Coverage from Tampa and St. Petersburg Florida
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Multilevel Marketing: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Multilevel marketing companies claim to be legitimate businesses, but some seem awfully…pyramid shaped. John Oliver and Jaime Camil demonstrate how they work.

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Harper Lecture with Laura Letinsky: A Proposition

More about the UChicago Harper Lectures:

What’s the difference between your vacation photos on your handheld device, a sexy ad for a car, and the $ million Andreas Gursky print on the museum wall?

When everyone is a photographer and everything has been photographed, why make pictures at all?

What are pictures?

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AIR Dibrugarh Online Radio Live Stream

M.W m/KHz F.M. MHz


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Deori Song: Artist: Ram Chandra Deori & Pty
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GANYA RAIJOR ANUSTHAN (Rural Programme) /Interview on “Uccha Roktochap Aru
Anusangik Rogbur” With Dr. Pranjal Dutta
Sandhiyar Anchalik Batori
Ajir Prasanga
News in Hindi
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CHAH SRAMIKAR ASOR (T.G. Programme) Interview with Metka Murmoo on his Life and
Contribution towards Tea Garden Community
Adhunik Geet: Artist: Jutika Bhuyan Saikia
Time & Metre Reading: Jivanar Digh Bani (Radio Autobiography) Interview with Homen Borgohain (Eminent Writer, Journalist) Interviewer Jayanti Chutia
English TalkTalk on “Biochar: Future for Enviroment Management” By Prof. Dilip Kr. Patgiri
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North East Collage
National Programme Feature in English Titled “Bapu’s Footstep in North East”
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Vandemataram/ Opening Announcement Mangalvadya
Bhaktigeeti: 1. Artist: Gopa Konwar (Borgeet-Madhabdev) 2.Artist: Pradip Khanikar (Diha Nam), 3. Artist: Ratikanta Rajbongshi & Smriti Rekha Kalita (Lokageet) 4. Artist: Ajit Gogoi (Tokarigeet), 5. Artist: Malabika Ghosh (Bhajan)
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Gandhi Chinta & Programme Summary:
Swasthya Charcha: Interview on “Korkot Rog” With Dr. Gayatri Gogoi Part: I
Borgeet: Artist: Bornali Bora
Classical Music: (Vocal) Artist: Pandit. C.R. Vyas Raga: Bhairav Bahar
Folk Music: (Lokageet) Artist: Ratikanta Rajbongshi
News in Assamese
“Ajir Dinto” /(Morning Information Programme)
Quotation: GEETANJALI: 1.Artist: Khagen Mahanta Lyc: Keshab Mahanta Bondho Asile… 2. Artist: Khagen Dutta Lyc: Nagen Borah Monot Porene… 3. Artist: Kalpana Kalita Lyc: Fazlul Karim, Mor Son… 4. Artist: Kishore Das Lyc: Hiren Bhattacharya, Tor Banhit… 5. Artist: Kalpana Hazarika Lyc: Dijendra Mohan Sarmah, Jor Paati…
Commercial Spot
Samachar Prabhat.
Morning News:
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Jilar Rehrup:
Quotation –-“ANTARA” (Composite) Hindi Film Songs
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AIR Signature Tune/Opening Announcement
News in English
Singpho Songs:
Folk Song: (Diha Naam) Artist: Manu Buragohain & Pty.
Hindi Film Song: Film: Sanam Re, Saawariya, Singham Returns, Shivaay
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Mishing Songs: Artist: Subho Pegu & Pty.
Programme in Mijumishimi
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Anchalik Batori
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Niyog Batori
GANYA RAIJOR ANUSTHAN (Rural Programme) Interview on “Krishi Patharot Jalasinchan Aru Jalanishkashan” With Dr. Bipul Deka
Sandhiyar Anchalik Batori
Aajir Prasanga:
The Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind’s Address to the Nation on the eve of 71st Republic Day
Of India Followed by Marshal Tune
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Time & Metre Reading “Ekalabya” Sponsored Programme of K.K. Handique State Open University
Geetar Sarai: Artist: Shibani Konwar Production: Rajendra Kr. Das
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Nishar Anchalik Batori:
Assamese Version of the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kobind’s Address to the Nation Followed by Marshal Tune
B’cast of Recordings of “Sarba Bhasha Kobi Sanmilon ” (National Symposium of Poets)
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  1. Registered nurse reciprocity
  2. Wacom log in
  3. Red nether brick
  4. Atl to tpa
  5. Village of palatine

Rock Climbing

For an air-conditioned Florida adventure, check out Vertical Ventures, Tampa's indoor rock climbing adventure spot.
Vertical Ventures


Tampa Bay Snow Skiers and Boarders Club puts together trips all over the U.S and the rest of the world. They offer great packages all throughout the ski season. Tampa Bay Snow Skiers and Boarders

The Tampa Bay Ski Club operates in conjunction with Bowen Travel to bring you great savings on ski adventures.
Tampa Bay Ski Club

Mountain Biking

Swamp Club is the area mountain bike club that maintains and creates the trails at several regional parks. For info about where to ride or group rides visit their site.


Think there is no hiking in Florida? If so you should check out the Florida Trail. The Florida Trail is a series of trails that can be connected for a thru hike of the entire state from the panhandle to the glades. Check out the site for backpacking info or spots for dayhikes.

Hillsborough County also has a great variety of local trails to explore.

Hillsborough County Trails

Adventures here and Abroad

Tampa Adventure Group
Hosting local day outings and expeditions all over the world.

Canoe/ Kayak

Want to paddle a blackwater river filled with Cypress trees and wildlife within an easy drive of downtown Tampa? Then check out Canoe Escape. They offer self-guided canoe rentals and shuttles that allow you to paddle down the Hillsborough River. If you haven't paddled this river and you love outdoor adventure, you have been missing out!


What images come to mind when I say the word Florida? I recently posed this very question a friend who lives out of state and she responded with a sad, yet accurate description of arguably one of the weirdest places in the US. “Florida? Um…the beach, Disney World, hate crimes—Oh! Didn’t a guy eat someone’s face off there? That place is a disaster!” Too true. One thing that certainly never comes to mind is mountainous terrain. Florida is primarily a flat state, the majority of which barely peeks above sea level. Its highest point is a pathetic feet (a fourth of the size of the Empire State Building) and even this may be overreaching as the hilltop, located in the panhandle, basically belongs to Alabama. With all the flatness surrounding Floridians, I was surprised to learn that Tampa has an avid and active rock climbing community.

It&#;s probably not a stretch to say that Vertical Ventures (VV), a rock climbing gym on Pioneer Park Boulevard, is at the heart and center of Tampa&#;s climbing community. When I asked gym owner Chris Brown what made the climbing community in Tampa unique, he said &#;A better question is what makes the climbing community in Tampa, period. This place. This is where people can come to build relationships and have fun. It&#;s the nicest facility in the area.&#;

I&#;d visited the gym on a Friday night to interview climber and ultimate gal pal Gina Larsen and experience the gym first hand. I wanted to find out why so many people in Tampa are crazy about a sport that seems counterintuitive given the environment in which they live. Like most good things, it is hard to describe. &#;I don&#;t know,&#; said Gina. &#;You just fall in love with it and it becomes part of who you are. I couldn’t imagine my life without climbing.&#;

As I walked into the gym, almost all of my senses were tantalized. Multicolored patterns of hand and foot holds representing varying levels of climbing difficulty were fixed to every available surface, a DJ was pumping some heavy bass into my ears, a squishy padded floor added extra bounce to my step, and the smell of sheer determination (aka sweaty ball sack) smacked me in the face. I was immediately intimidated by what I saw.

A DJ spins every Friday night &#; image courtesy of Chris Brown

It seemed like almost everyone there was a living example of the perfect human form, a eugenicist&#;s dream. I was surrounded by men and women who might as well have been sculpted by fucking Michelangelo himself. Gina could probably read the fear on my face and told me not to worry about looking stupid or out of place. While I&#;ve never been afraid of looking stupid, I have almost always been afraid of falling off a wall and breaking my back in front of attractive strangers. For this reason, I prefer a lower-key climbing move that I like to call &#;scuttling”, but is apparently called traversing in legit climbing circles. Traversing involves using hand and foot holds to climb across a wall, in my case the lower portion of the wall, a very safe and comfortable distance from terra firma.

As I scuttled along, I observed people using harnesses or their bare hands to climb colorful paths up, across, and down each surface of the gym. Some thoughtfully watched as fellow climbers slowly and meticulously followed the paths. Others worked independently, concentrating on some secret problem or goal that only they understood. The more people I observed and met, the more I could understand Gina&#;s love affair with climbing. Not only is climbing physically challenging, it also requires significant mental acuity and problem solving skills.

Brown explained, &#;Rock climbing is all about solving problems. You need to build the requisite physical strength, but after that it&#;s all about your mental abilities. For whatever reason, being able to follow these pieces of colored duct tape on the wall gives people a sense of accomplishment that maybe they don’t get in their everyday lives.” I could see this play out as I watched a shirtless Ian Sutherland try repeatedly to get past an orange plastic foothold that had been giving him the business all evening. Witnessing his determination and defeat, I could imagine the sense of accomplishment he would feel when he finally overcame that orange, plastic bastard.

Rock wall- image courtesy of Chris Brown

Rock wall- image courtesy of Chris Brown

Sense of community seems to be another major draw for climbers at VV. All of the gym regulars know one another and spend time together out in the real world. When I asked about the possible incongruity of such a strong sense of community surrounding a very individual sport, Gina explained  that although people at VV &#;definitely have their own individual goals, it&#;s really important to have a community and feed off of each others&#; energies and work through problems together.&#;

Fellow VV climber Aroldo Vitorio, who recently moved to Tampa from Washington DC, said that the climbing community in Tampa is much more appreciative and laid back than in other places he has lived. &#;The cool thing about the community in Tampa that I have noticed is that when you go on a climbing trip it is super epic&#; [everyone] comes out because they don’t always have the opportunity to do outdoor climbs. They don’t take it for granted.&#;

Although the Tampa climbing community seems to be tight-knit, it is not exclusionary. According to Brown whose personal motto is probably &#;be cool&#;, his goal was to create a welcoming space with a &#;cool vibe…like a tree fort for adults. Whether you are a seven year old kid or a thirty-seven year old kid, you can come here to have a good time with cool people.&#;

If you are interested in trying your hands and feet at climbing, I&#;d definitely recommend visiting Vertical Ventures. If you are nervous about climbing for the first time, try visiting the gym with a few friends on a Friday night. A lot of newbies along with some regulars climb on Fridays and the DJ makes the whole experience seem more like a party than a work out. Also, I highly recommend the scuttling.

Rock Climbing Lingo

Here is a list of rock climbing terms that you can memorize so you don&#;t look like an asshole if you decide to try climbing. Thanks to Gina Larsen, Aroldo Vitorio, Ian Sutherland, Kendall Melendi, and Chris Brown for defining these terms for me. I hope they are all real and I wasn&#;t being bullshitted&#;bullshat&#;whatever.

  1. Route &#; A path used to reach the top of a rock or wall
  2. Beta &#; A sequence of moves that help you get to the top
  3. Sending &#; Short for &#;ascending&#;; solving or finishing a route;
  4. &#;Let me give you some beta&#; &#; T ell you how to solve the problem
  5. Spray &#; When you are telling someone how to complete a route but they don’t want help.
  6. Sprayed down/ throwing beta &#; W hen someone tells you how to tackle every part of a route
  7. Dirt bag climber &#; Someone with a pair of shoes and a chalk bag who hangs out or lives in climbing areas.
  8. Crux &#; The hardest part of a route; a route can have multiple cruces.
  9. Ticktacking &#; Grabbing smaller parts of the wall

Vertical Ventures is located at  Pioneer Park Blvd Suite E Tampa, FL
Open Tuesday &#; Thursday 2pm &#; 10pm,  Friday 2pm &#; 12am, Saturday 10am &#; 10pm, and Sunday 10am &#; 6pm .
All images courtesy of photographer and Vertical Ventures owner Chris Brown. To see more of his work, visit

  • Rock wall- courtesy of Chris Brown

  • Rock wall- courtesy of Chris Brown

  • Bouldering is done without ropes or harnesses. - courtesy of Chris Brown

  • A DJ spins every Friday night - Chris Brown


Tampa vertical adventures

Regardless of the lack of natural cliffs, rock climbing has seen a flourishing fanbase appear in Florida.

And at USF St. Petersburg, the new student Rock Climbing Club is trying to make its passion infectious.

Brandon Burke, a junior at USFSP, started the club in January to find other passionate rock climbers. He saw the growing student body and the nearby rock climbing facility, Vertical Ventures, as the perfect combination.

During one of their meetings, members of USFSP’s Rock Climbing Club display the organization’s flag at Vertical Ventures in St. Petersburg. Courtesy of Jeremy Stanton

The club’s meetings are held on Fridays at Vertical Ventures, a state-of-the-art indoor climbing gym.

“It’s a lot more fun when you go there with a group of people,” Burke said. “There’s a huge resource with thousands of students, and young people love to climb.”

When he first tried to start the club in the fall, Burke said he had trouble finding officers.

But his hopes were restored at the start of the spring semester when Brian Dinsmore, a transfer student from Colorado, contacted Burke after he saw the group’s Facebook page.

Burke said Dinsmore, who is an experienced climber, has been instrumental in the club’s growth.

The pair recruited about 20 people during the college’s Get On Board Day event, and have been adding members since.

Vertical Ventures offers severalclasses for beginners starting with the required “Intro to Belay” class that teaches inexperienced climbers how to safely manage equipment.

“One of the first (classes) we took as a group was the intro to movement class,” Burke said. “It’s basically technique and learning how to climb with form, not strength.”

A variety of climbs can be found at the facility including a top-roping section, bouldering area and a more specialized sector for advanced climbers known as “The Pit.”

Burke also spoke with the president of USF Tampa’s Rock Climbing Club, hoping to bring the organizations together to climb at one of the two Vertical Ventures locations in Tampa or St. Petersburg.

Though still in its infancy, the club has started planning trips to put their training to the test in authentic, outdoor environments.

“Alabama is in May, June is Colorado,” Burke said. “By the end of the year, we’re looking at a couple different spots, like Chimney Rock in North Carolina.”

The Rock Climbing Club has something to offer everyone, from seasoned veterans to aspiring climbers.

“I think it could eventually blow up. It’s a great time and a cool, dynamic way for students to get off campus.”


USFSP Rock Climbing Club meetings

When: Fridays at p.m.

Where: Vertical Ventures St. Petersburg, 18th St S.

Visit the USFSP Rock Climbing Club on Facebook for updates and information on the club’s upcoming activities.

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Written by: Jason Saabon March 7,
Last revised by: Jessica JagodzinskiMay 11,
Vertical Endeavors Orientation Video

Vertical Ventures' co-owner sent explicit videos, messages to undercover officer, say St. Pete police

ST. PETERSBURG — The co-owner of the climbing gym Vertical Ventures was arrested Wednesday on charges that he sent sexually explicit messages and videos to who he thought was a year-old girl, according to police.

It was actually an undercover St. Petersburg detective.

Christopher Brown, 41, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on 10 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor and one count of the unlawful use of a two-way device, according to jail records.

Brown started messaging the “teen” via an unspecified social media app last month and continued through September, according to arrest reports. He knew he was communicating with a minor, St. Petersburg police say, and used his phone to send explicit messages and videos.

He also had “sexually explicit” conversations with who he believed was a year-old girl, police say. He sent pornographic-like videos as a way of suggesting the acts he wished to engage in with the teen, police say.

Vertical Ventures is located at 18th St. S and has several different artificial rock walls that patrons can climb. Brown had been a co-owner at the gym since , said another co-owner, Hal Thureson.

He told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday that Brown is no longer associated with the gym’s management.

“Since we don’t accept or tolerate this inappropriate behavior we are parting ways with Chris Brown,” Thureson said. “We want to assure our customers and employees that we are open for business and that we do not tolerate this behavior.”

Thureson said did not believe that the allegations involved any of the gym’s staffers or members.

Brown was freed from the Pinellas County jail on Wednesday night after posting $, bail. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.


Now discussing:

Rock-climbing reaches new heights in Florida

Business continues to grow for the owners of Vertical Ventures. The indoor rock-climbing facility attracts experienced climbers and beginners.

Chris Brown and his partners purchased the Tampa location at Pioneer Park Blvd. nearly 10 years ago.

"It is one of those rare things that gets you completely involved in the moment," said Brown of rock climbing. "It completely engages you in the moment."

Brown and his partners are expanding operations. The second facility opens in St. Petersburg later this month. The 20, square foot building, located at 18th Street S., is situated on the Pinellas Trail with easy access to Tropicana Field and local breweries. A dedicated parking lot provides space for cars.

"Vertical Ventures is Florida's biggest and newest climbing gym," Brown said of the new facility on 18th Street South .

The location offers more than climbing routes. A members-only training area provides access to weights and cardio equipment. Classes are available for beginners.

"Ninety-five percent of the people who come in are first-timers," at the Tampa location, Brown explained. It's a trend he expects will continue in St. Petersburg.

"It's a powerful feeling I think everyone wants to experience because you leave the worries of your day behind and are fully engaged. It's stretching all your muscles. It is very similar to yoga except you are moving up a vertical wall," he said.

The building's tallest wall is 40 feet high. It's part of the project's first phase. Brown says phase two includes working with local vendors to provide food and drinks for customers. The second floor service is expected to open in

Vertical Ventures provides multiple options for those who want to indoor rock climb:

  • 1 hour - $10
  • All Day - $18
  • Class - $25 plus unlimited opportunities to return for two weeks

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