Managing Director, Entre Prises
// Photo by Joseph Eastburn
Thanks to Smith Rock State Park, Central Oregon has long been known as an outdoor climbing mecca. Thanks to Entre Prises USA, the area has also become renowned for indoor climbing.
The company, which started in France in 1983 and expanded to Bend in 1988, specializes in custom climbing walls. Its modular holds were among the first commercially marketed climbing holds anywhere. Today, its walls, made of everything from plywood to innovative complex composites, are among the most sought-after in the U.S. — and possibly the world.
“Both in volume and in reputation, we are probably the biggest globally, and in the U.S. we definitely are,” says Jason Stollenwerk, managing director for Entre Prises in Bend, which employs 40 people.
In addition to the longevity that comes from being one of the first climbing wall manufacturers, Stollenwerk says the company’s innovative designs and surface materials — from angular wood walls to hand-formed, natural-looking rock faces — have kept it at the front edge of the industry.
To date, Entre Prises has manufactured and installed more than 4,000 projects. The Bend operation alone builds between 50 and 60 each year primarily for North America, ranging in price from $20,000 to more than $800,000. And while there are lots of walls going up in the U.S., Stollenwerk says indoor climbing here is still four or five years behind Europe.
“The U.S. has a good ways to go yet,” he says, “and that’s a good thing for us.”
“I think we’re really able to push the design envelope, but we also really focus on the client’s return on investment. It’s great to have a beautiful wall, but it’s also got to be practical and profitable.”