And so it begins . . .

One June 1, "The Pad Climbing" for profit took possession of the new location at 888 Ricardo Lane. We start construction this week, with the old laminate flooring being carted off by people living in vans to pimp their rigs, as it should be.

We hope that by mid-to-late October, "The Pad SLO" will be open to everybody, and you know we'll update you as things happen. It's a good idea to follow us on Facebook and Instagram (links top right) or to join our email list if you don't want to miss the grand opening.

Last night we had a tour of the newly acquired building. We put up little signs to show you where stuff would go, and it was so awesome to see the psych. One of our investors, and a long time loaner and SLO Oper seemed to be literally vibrating with psych. :) 

Next steps:

  • Remove the existing interior structures to make way for the ones we'll be adding.
  • Walltopia comes in to install walls
  • Foam floors and other finishing touches installed.
  • Route setting!

What's happening on the membership front?

  • We will likely have to close SLO Op two weeks before the new gym is ready to open to move stuff over. SLO Op itself will be demolished and become a blank warehouse again, ready for rental by a new group. If you have anything you want out of our fixtures, please let us know. We'll likely be selling and giving away stuff, and knowing you want it ahead of time is good for us. (Not holds, we're keeping our holds.) We will NOT be suspending or prorating your membership during this time - it will cost us too much in labor and time to do so - hopefully you feel your membership support is worth it (we do need your money!) and if you feel a climbing hankering coming on, that's a great excuse to check out the Pad in Santa Maria.
  • Membership rates: the new gym is EXPENSIVE. It will also be AWESOME (see below). Rates will be going up, but not exorbitantly. The plan right now is by $10. The Pad members in Santa Maria will not see a rate change, however if you want reciprocal membership with the new gym, you'll need to pay the fee difference.
  • 24 hours is still the plan for the bouldering area and weight rooms
  • Stuff coming with the new gym:
    • Climbing - DUH. Cracks, leading, all of it.
    • Classes! Learn to lead. Learn to top rope. Get better, faster, stronger!
    • So many fun events!
    • Youth program! We'll have after school stuff, camps, and birthday parties. EVEN a toddler group! (And regular members don't stress, there's a kid area partitioned off from everything else.)
    • Bigger weight space with more amenities
    • Showers!
    • The slackline is back!
    • Lounge area reservable for meetings and whatever
    • Barre, more yoga, and more! We have two studios available for all the good stuff all the time!
    • Village Parenting - we're going to try using our kid area during slower times in the middle of the day for parents to come and watch eachothers' kids while you take turns climbing, training, or getting work done.

What's happening on the organization front?

SLO Op, the nonprofit 501c7 will dissolve on opening day of the new gym, transferring assets to founders Kristin and Yishai Horowitz, who will then transfer their share to The Pad Climbing (an S Corp) with an already established pool of investors and board members who are working now to prepare everything. The country's first nonprofit bouldering gym is saying goodbye so that it can grow. We're so grateful to everyone that made us what we are today - whether you helped put a piece of the gym together, loaned us money, or simply were a member or supporter.

The gym itself will be rebranded as "The Pad" (SLO) to keep it simple - but we'll all know what you mean when you call it SLO Op. We are making last-run T-Shirts that will be available to order online or buy in person before we shut down so you can rep being  a part of something amazing.

The same people that ran the gym you loved for years are still the same people running the new entity. Our early founders are now investors and board members, our crew and route setters are going to be given priority at the new desk, belay, and other staff jobs. Kristin and Yishai will remain majority owners and day to day heads of operation. 

Are you worried stuff's gonna change for the worse? Don't be. We worried when we moved out of Alamo Self Storage. We worried when we moved out of E5 Suburban. We worried when we moved to Santa Maria. But the honest truth is that it literally only gets better. We expect nothing but the same trend now.


Update on new construction in SLO!

It's been a while since we put anything out, so I thought it might be a good idea to do so!

SLO Op IV, aka, The Pad for-profit, is on track for opening this fall!

  • We've secured our new location (888 Ricardo Court in SLO)
  • We've gotten city permits to raise the roof to 35' in the roped climbing area
  • We're done with architectural permitting and through the first round of plan checks
  • We've completed the wall design and look forward to having Walltopia install the walls in the fall
  • We've hired Precision Building Group to execute our tenant improvements; this is especially exciting because they happen to be long time SLO Opers, and they are in support of hiring local contractors who are also SLO Opers for work to keep the tradition of SLO Opers building SLO OP - so you know construction will be great and this huge part of it will be done with love for what we're doing.
  • Founding of new for-profit S Corp, "The Pad."
  • We've completed our investment funding rounds, and formed a corporate board of SLO Op/Pad lovers and supporters
  • We're finishing up the new business plan and starting to thinking about the hiring process
  • We've hired our former assistant setter, Joe Maier, as our full time head setter 

Final steps :

  • Securing bank funding for the rest of the money needed for tenant improvements (our bank was bought out and we're working with a new one)
  • Hiring (do not send resumes, please - we will put the call out when it's time)
  • Physical building once we begin the lease on June 1! We will be constructing concurrently while the old gym stays open - it will close down (with ample warning) RIGHT before grand opening so we can take over needed equipment, etc.
  • Closing current SLO Op location a couple weeks before hand to take parts out and start deconstruction of the gym

We'll keep updating you as more comes along!

Hoping for a late September opening date, but we'll see - construction is a process!

Questions? Email

Looking for info on the comp this weekend?

Our next comp is Feb 11 at <The Pad> - Click to register online and save $$


The best way to harness your psych!

It's our annual spring event! We have two comps in one: CCS for the collegiate climbers and Open Citizens for everyone else.

Why compete? For most people, climbing is not inherently a competitive thing. While there is a format that allows us to quantify skill, the real value in climbing comps is the level of support you get from your peers, the extra “push” you get in trying to do your best that day on all-new routes you’ve never climbed before, and the big ol’ party that celebrates what you love!

We will have finals and a children's division!

SLO Op comps feature:

  • cheap entry that covers guest setters, free beer, and refreshments for the setters who work three solid days to get ready for this thing
  • new shirt designs
  • prizes like chalkbags, ropes, shoes, and stickers
  • free beer
  • food available from neighboring vendors
  • dj or emcee keeping the energy up the whole time
  • And don’t forget the extras, like our famous ALPINE KNOT TYING CONTEST!

We'll also be doing a gear swap! Bring your gear with a price and we'll sell it for you! (10% will go to SLO Op, checks made at the end of the comp, unclaimed gear is considered a donation)

If you’re not from here, we suggest you check out all the awesome stuff there is to do in SLO: we’ve got beaches, wine tasting, great food and bars, and climbing *in town!*


  • CCS is for college students participating in a statewide competition. Everyone else registers for the citzen class.
  • Be courteous of others (obviously). Be aware of your surroundings at all times and do not climb if it is unsafe for you or others around you.
  • How to compete:
    • Points are earned by completing a problem from start to finish with a controlled final hold.
    • Record each attempt made (every time your feet leave the mats).
    • All natural features are "off" unless otherwise noted.
    • If a hold breaks or spins, step off immediately or the attempt will count - contact a staff member for a fix.
    • Please have 2 witnesses initial your score card to verify falls and completion.
    • Final score is the sum of your 5 highest point problems with a 10 point deduction per fall.
    • If you think you are doing well, save some energy for finals - about an hour after the general competitions close. We do top CCS AND top Citizens' Comp
  • Do not sandbag - if you climb below your ability and then do a three or more hard climbs for points, we will bump you into the next category. 
    • Categories are:
      • CCS (no gender or skill division)
      • Beginner (V0-V2), men's and women's
      • Intermediate (V3-V4), men's and women's
      • Advanced (V5-V6), men's and women's
      • Open (V7+), men's and women's
      • Youth (14 and under)
  • Falls count, but don't make or break you. Climb accordingly.
  • You will have four hours to climb your heart out. Turn your scoresheet in at the front of the gym. After we will have food for sale, beer for donation, and games. Enjoy!

Up at the Pad, we're serious about fitness!

We’re hosting a summer party at The Pad to bring all the active outlets and fun people of Santa Maria together and celebrate our one year anniversary!

You’ll find our vendors will each have a fun game that rewards booth visitors learning about health and fitness with Pad monopoly money. Redeem your bucks for prizes after and get your climb on!
Free for all, $12 to climb for nonmembers. All entrants must sign a waiver. You can fill out our waiver here ahead of time (you have to create an account:

List of current vendors attending:
Discovery Museum
SB Bike Coalition
Cycle Star Bike Shop
Social Ice Cream
Whalebird Kombucha
Get Out Stay Out youth outdoor program
Los Flores Ranch Park
Juice Plus
US Cryotherapy
Project Teen Health
SMV Trail Runners
Moxie Cafe – appetizers
Marian Regional Hospital
Orcutt Fitness Club
Central Coast Skate League
Norwex Cleaning Products

SLO-Op is raising the roof!

We know we’ve been hinting at it for a while, but we were waiting for the official word from the city for use approval: SLO Op will be moving to 888 Ricardo Court in SLO in Fall 2017 – and we’ll be raising the roof in order to make room for ropes! Keep reading for the answers to all of your questions!

What will the new gym be like?

We’ll continue to offer 24/7 bouldering – and we’re expanding our weight room and yoga offerings – while adding a ton of new features!


This month, in honor of the month of gratitude, we wanted to thank our champions and their stories by starting a campaign called #imapaddie

Meet The Pad Climbing supporters, friends, and members and find out why they are Paddies!

If you see this shirt around, ask what their story is or find out their @!

You can follow all the stories here on our TagBoard and we’ll be giving out shirts and appreciation prizes throughout the month to great #imapaddie stories!

Get involved and tell the world why you’re a Paddie!

Rules to be elligible for a shirt or other prize:

  • Please tell your social media family about your the Pad/SLO Op story.
  • Include a link to the video when you do so.
    • Here is the video link on Facebook (use it for Facebook posts, please):
    • And on youtube:
  • Please include #imapaddie in the message
If you see this shirt around, ask them what their story is and their @!

If you see this shirt around, ask them what their story is and their @!