Want to know our story, the start of Higher Ground? In 1992 Frank began writing a business plan for Higher Ground Rock Climbing Centre Ltd and in December of 1994 he signed a lease for the present location after looking at more buildings than anyone should ever have to see. Named after the hymn ‘Higher Ground’ the gym was born and opened 5 months later (May 20, 1995) with only 1/2 of the rope room completed. Becuase of our strong community of climbers, friends, and route setters, the gym has just gotten bigger and better each year.

Paulie Abissi

General Manager

Frank Abissi

El Capitan

Lena Abissi

Business Manager

To Build A Place Where My Friends Could Come Over And Climb With Me.

Frank's Mission Statement

Nobody Fits Climbing Shoes Like We Do

Properly fit climbing shoes will take your climbing to the next level. Most climbing shoe retailers fit shoes by cramming your feet into the smallest size possible, but only Higher Ground Rock Climbing Gym offers a Phil Oren© certified fit.  Frank Abissi, the gym owner, is 1 of 14 people in the USA who have achieved the Master Boot-fitter designation and only master boot-fitter and Phil Oren dealer in Michigan. To schedule a fitting appointment, call 616-774-3100.

Shoe fittings are free of charge when you purchase your shoes from Higher Ground, but if you would like your size so you can purchase shoes elsewhere, fitting charges will range from $35-$70. This cost depends on the work that needs to be done to get the best fit for you.


I will never forget many years ago when someone told me that they never buy or use “cheap” equipment. They then said “Cheap life, cheap gear.

Many years ago someone told us that they never buy or use “cheap” equipment and then said “Cheap life, cheap gear. Good life, good gear.” As a result of this conversation, we made the decision that we would never sell what we wouldn’t personally use. You can be assured that whatever equipment you purchase from Higher Ground will be “Frank” quality or better. Rock climbing is as safe as you make it and we make sure that we make sure to outfit our customers to climb some of the greatest mountains of the world. If the equipment we offer is good enough to bring customers and employees to the summits of these peaks, you can rest assured they will be able to handle anything that you can throw at them.