If you haven’t already noticed, rock climbing gyms are becoming more popular these days. More and more rock climbing gyms are popping up everywhere, and everyone is flocking to find one. You may have had a rock climbing gym open up near you or have a friend who raves about the intense workout it gives.
If you’re curious about rock climbing and have been researching “how to find rock climbing gyms near me", we've done the work for you and have covered just what you might look for in a climbing gym.
How to Find Rock Climbing Gyms Near Me in 4 Ways
1. By the Types of Gym Climbing they Offer
When you research “rock climbing gyms near me,” the first thing you might want to consider when choosing one is what kind of gym climbing they offer. The three types of gym climbing are bouldering, top roping, and lead climbing.
You can find bouldering gym climbing in most indoor rock climbing gyms since they use shorter walls and you’re not attached to a rope. When bouldering, you’ll follow color-coded paths that have different difficulty levels. If you’re a beginner rock climber, bouldering is an excellent way to start climbing.
Bouldering is great for solo climbs and is budget-friendly since the only things you’ll need are climbing shoes and chalk. Even though you won’t need much equipment, bouldering still has its risks. During your climb, you should always be aware of your surroundings and other climbers.
Even though challenging routes may seem tempting when bouldering, it’s best to take routes according to your skill level until you become more advanced. Biting off more than you can chew can put you and other climbers at risk.
Top roping is another form of gym climbing you might be looking for in your search. With a top rope climb, you’ll have a climber and a belayer (someone who takes the slacker as the climber ascends), who are both attached to a harness and attached to a rope.
The rope is pulled through an anchor at the top of the wall and will allow you to be held the moment you leave the ground. Similar to bouldering, top roping also used color-coded routes. When top roping, you’ll need a harness, climbing shoes, belay equipment, and chalk.
When top roping, you’re able to build endurance when you take on longer routes. If you’re still trying to build muscle, you might want to try a beginner top rope route as opposed to bouldering.
Lastly, if you’re already experienced in climbing and trying to find a rock climbing gym, you might be looking for one that offers lead climbing. Similar to top roping, lead climbing also uses a climber and belayer but uses more climbing tools and equipment.
With lead climbing, instead of the rope being pulled through the anchor at the top, you’ll start with your rope detached from anything besides yourself and the belayer. As you climb, you must complete the route gradually, stopping every several feet to set gear that acts as an anchor point.
With this approach, you can be caught from where you last set your gear. Despite lead climbing being more of a risk, advanced rock climbers are tempted by the physical challenge that lead climbing brings.
Whichever type of gym climbing you’re trying to explore, there’s always much to learn, so finding the best rock climbing gym is essential.
2. Are They Kid-Friendly?
Another way to find rock climbing gyms near you is to research if they’re kid-friendly. If your kids are adventurous and enjoy physical activity, then they’ll love rock climbing. However, you’ll want to choose a kid-friendly gym that suits their abilities.
Many kids of all ages will enjoy rock climbing, starting as early as four to five years old. By this age, many kids have mastered their gross motor and problem-solving skills. Kids who have mastered these skills are capable of following directions and following the rock climbing gym rules.
When your kids are ready to take on indoor rock climbing, here are some things to keep in mind along the way. Many indoor climbing gyms have walls with multi-colored grips and footholds. These colored grips show the different routes on the climbing wall.
Many beginner rock climbers will follow one color during their climb up and down the wall. As your kid becomes more advanced with rock climbing, they might move on to rainbow climbing, which means they’ll use different colors along the way.
Even though indoor rock climbing has its risks, it’s an excellent opportunity for kids to learn. Rock climbing gyms are a perfect place to start when your child is interested in rock climbing.
3. How They Teach the Ropes
Another thing you’ll want to consider is if the rock climbing gym requires specific tests, which most do. If you’re interested in using the ropes at a rock climbing gym, you’ll need to have a climbing partner who has passed the belay test. In most climbing gyms, you’ll need to pass the test yourself, too.
Belaying is a term in the climbing world that refers to securing and handling the rope while your partner is climbing to catch falls and to safely lower your climber. When you take a top rope belay test, it will typically be on tying in, climbing commands, equipment checks, catching falls, bringing in slack, and lowering.
While this may seem overwhelming, it’s simpler than it sounds. At Climb on the Rocks, we offer a variety of classes for all age types.
This involves checking that you have the knot adequately tied and secured through the tie-in areas. This is followed by the belay device and carabiner. During this stage, you should speak up when you have the belay device correct and when you have the carabiner locked.
In addition, you’ll also want to ensure that the harness and buckles are fastened correctly.
When learning to tie in, you’ll probably learn the Figure 8 technique.
You’ll need to know the climbing vocabulary and commands to ensure you and the belayer are prepared before the climb.
Catching falls is one of the easy parts, as long as you’re using the “pull, brake, under, slide” method. Catching falls is easy as long as you have your hand in the brake position when your partner falls.
Lastly, lowering entails simply letting the rope pass through your brake hand, making a slow and controlled descent. You may need to practice this to find a good speed at which you're comfortable with.
4. By Price
When researching “how to find rock climbing gyms near me”, one of the final things you’ll want to consider when finding one is the price. During your first time at a rock climbing gym, you’ll most likely want to purchase a day pass ($9 & up at Climb on the Rocks) and rental equipment. For most day passes, you’ll need to climb all day until closing time with unlimited routes and climbs.
At Climb on the Rocks, we offer special pricing for monthly and yearly members for events, classes, and rental equipment. You are also able to bring a guest for free once a month.
The truth is, many people either love or hate rock climbing. If you become an avid climber, you probably won’t keep purchasing day passes and rental gear. At Climb on the Rocks, our monthly autopay memberships start at $60 & up. In addition to memberships, you’ll have to put out money for climbing shoes, chalk, and a chalk bag.
If you’re planning on rope climbing, you’ll need to get a harness, carabiner, and belay device. This might run you anywhere from $150 to $250 investment if you plan on becoming an avid climber, but for practice, a membership is all you’ll need.
The Bottom Line
In most cases, you can probably find a rock climbing gym within an hour of where you live. Rock climbing has become increasingly popular, and more gyms have continued to open. There are many rock climbing gyms located in many cities.
Keep in mind that many avid climbers consider rock climbing a destination sport, meaning you’ll need to travel to participate. Our advice? Don’t rule out a rock climbing gym just because you need to travel out of your zone. Many rock climbing gyms are worth the drive!
Check out our guide for rock climbing gyms in Cleveland.
Rock Climbing Gyms Near Me: FAQ
1. Can you get fit by just rock climbing?
Rock climbing will allow you to work every muscle in your body and is an excellent cardiovascular workout.
2. How do I get involved in rock climbing?
Many people who rock climb start at a rock climbing gym, where you’ll meet other climbers.
3. How often should you go bouldering?
Depending on your climbing experience, you should go bouldering around two to three times a week.
4. How many times a week should a beginner rock climb?
A beginner rock climber should climb a maximum of three times a week and should not climb for two consecutive days.