BLOOMINGTON (WCCO) — When you have guests in town, there’s a good chance you’ll make a trip to the Mall of America. But in this week’s Guest Pass, Matt Brickman is to taking us to another Bloomington spot, the Pinnacle Climbing Wall at REI.

“You see a lot of jaws drop and ‘oh, wow, how can I do that?’” Matt Poppleton, the manager of REI’s Outdoor School, said.

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If your daily commute takes you along Interstate 494 East in Bloomington, the Pinnacle is probably a familiar sight.

“The one here on the right is about 40-feet-tall. The one on the left is 55-feet-tall. We have 12 total routes along these climbing pinnacles,” Poppleton said.

The 3-D climbing structure was built in Minnesota and designed to look like another local climbing destination.

“The exterior is modeled after the same kind of rock that you’d see at Taylors Falls at Interstate State Park along the St. Croix,” Poppleton said.

But on the Pinnacle, there’s no risk of falling into the river. The floor here is nice and spongey. Still, Poppleton was a little nervous to give it a try, but his instructor Amanda Dekan put him at ease.

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“I’ve been putting people up this wall for about three years. Personally, I’ve been climbing for about seven,” Dekan said.

“Climbing has a series of ratings as far as the difficulty, and we have a 5.5 that’s kind of our bell route, that almost anyone can try for the first time,” Poppleton said.

Ratings at the Pinnacle go up to a 5.14.

Poppleton reached the top of a 5.7 route and felt the sense of accomplishment that he says keeps people coming back.

“They’ve overcome their fear, they’ve accepted the challenge and after they’ve done that first route, they’re like ‘what’s next?’” Poppleton said.

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REI is a co-op, and they have open climbing free for members. If you haven’t joined already, it’s only $20 for a lifetime membership. Details can be found on their website.