Barry Clement’s family tells him they would like to see a few nice pictures from his trips, but the less they know the better. Barry, a Decatur native and resident, has been rock climbing for more than a decade, and the sport has taken him to some breathtaking and precarious places.
“I remember one trip to climb a route named Remember Appomattox when I became dehydrated and had low blood sugar … and then a storm came in,” said Barry. “With the steepness of the cliff, the only way out was up. We slept on the side of the cliff wall, rationed out our food and waited out the storm and eventually moved out. For a while there, it seemed like the world was bearing down on me.”
Barry got his first taste of rock climbing at age 14 at a summer camp. Later, he received training from the National Outdoor Leadership School to become a adventure ropes course instructor and started leading climbing activities. By the time he got to Georgia Tech for college, Barry was hooked on the sport. During every school break and most weekends, he and a group of friends would head off on climbing trips.
“There’s a sense of accomplishment with climbing and an adrenaline rush,” said Barry, who majored in industrial design. “It’s a certain amount of scariness and excitement at the same time. And, it’s addictive because when you start, you can see yourself progressing in the sport really quickly.”
For the past two years, Barry has served as general manager of Unique Outfitters, a specialty sporting goods store located in the country’s largest indoor climbing gym – Stone Summit. With several new climbing gyms in Atlanta and some of the country’s best natural climbing located just two hours away in the Lower Appalachians, Barry says the climbing community in Atlanta has exploded in the past five years.
Unique Outfitters seeks to outfit Atlanta climbers with the needed gear and apparel. The store’s employees are all expert climbers like Barry, who has traveled all over the world climbing – from Hidalgo, Mexico to Fontainebleau, France.
“The longer I have been climbing, the more I’m drawn toward the aesthetics of the sport,” said Barry. “Now, I’m looking to climb something aesthetically pleasing to me. Imagine looking an Ansel Adams photo and thinking ‘I want to be a part of that.’ That’s what I think when I go climb. I want to be a part of it.”
Unique Outfitters is an online and retail location, located in Stone Summit. The store features more than 60 pairs of climbing shoes, extreme hammocks, hangboards and other items for climbers. Side note: Barry is also a co-inventor and co-founder of Superhooper, lighted hulu hoops.