BKB is described as an “epic climbing haven — a 22,000-square-foot facility with sister sites in Chicago, Somerville, and just this year, New York’s Queensbridge – playgrounds of inclusion and ever-changing physical challenges”, by OUT Magazine .
As there is always a diverse mix of people coming in, we’re consistently humbled by the powerful stories of transformation and self-betterment from our members, from conquering control over conditions like cerebral palsy to overcoming drug addiction.
For James Cobb, 29, a tech guru and military vet who served from 2006 to 2011, the biggest obstacle for a while was basic everyday life. Having spent two years of duty in Korea, Cobb, though not on the front lines, began to feel the weight of certain warfare consequences (“You’re helping to make decisions that affect a lot of people,” he says). His return to the states to Santa Barbara, California, was a transition on many levels. “I was trying to shift from a regimented environment to a carefree civilian lifestyle,” he says, “and right before I got out of the military, I came out to my very religious family as being an atheist and bisexual. I didn’t have many people to talk to, so I dealt with it the only way I really knew how, which was to exercise.”
A friend turned Cobb on to a Santa Barbara climbing gym, and he immediately took to the sport’s requirement to “be in the moment” and “focus on a very specific task.” When a job led Cobb to Boston, he soon found his way to Brooklyn Boulders’ Somerville campus. When another job brought him to New York last summer, he simply transferred his membership.
Along the way, he dated men and women, sometimes at the same time, and he’s currently in a monogamous relationship with a girlfriend. When he needs to decompress, he knows where to go. “At a regular gym, I would just work out and talk to someone from time to time,” he says, “but at Brooklyn Boulders I eventually felt comfortable expressing certain issues I was having outside of climbing. It builds friendships.”
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