If there’s an unofficial ranking of the top hobbies in Boulder, rock climbing has to be somewhere near the top. With Eldorado Canyon not even 15 minutes south of town and Rocky Mountain National Park about an hour north, some of the best outdoor climbing in the country is right around the corner.
But for the winter months, beginners and the days where you’re just trying to get in some convenient climbing before work, Boulder offers more premier indoor climbing than just about anywhere. If you’re looking for somewhere to get into climbing or just a place to keep in shape during the colder months, here’s a guide to help you find the right fit for you.
Movement Climbing + Fitness
From the open, airy space to the pros climbing next to you, everything about Movement is top-of-the-line. You can take a break for a day and use the gym, where the treadmills look out at the mountains, or get in a great yoga or spin class. Long hours mean you can easily get in a pre-work session, or wait until the post-work rush has died down a bit, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to go during normal business hours, you’ll have your choice of routes most days. In fact, the only real downside to Movement is the parking, which can get challenging during busier hours or on weekends. No one should climb indoors in Boulder without trying Movement.
Hours: M-F 6 a.m.-10 p.m./S-S 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Rates: Adult monthly: $75. Adult day: $20. Single month: $88
Boulder Rock Club
If Movement is designed to accommodate everyone from beginners to pros with state-of-the-art equipment, Boulder Rock Club is intended to be approachable, accessible and instructive. With a warmer, cozier atmosphere, along with plenty of options for introductory climbing lessons, the point seems less to push yourself to the limit as to be comfortable climbing and having fun with it, while getting a great workout.
BRC has auto-belayers, as well, so you can really go get a full solo workout in ways that you can’t at Movement, where you need a belay partner for top-rope climbing. The bouldering area has some great built-in challenges based on long routes and hard angles — plus, your reward for finishing a tough bouldering problem is a slide to bring you back to the main floor. Overall, Boulder Rock Club is a great option for beginners, families and casual climbers.
Hours: M-F 6 a.m.-11 p.m./S-S 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Rates: Adult monthly: $70. Adult day: $20. Single month: $82
It can be tough to compare The Spot to the other two big clubs in Boulder, as it is a bouldering club. If you’re looking to work on your lead climbing or top rope, don’t bother. On the other hand, if what you’re looking to do is get strong, blast out some great bouldering and hang out, you’re in luck.
The Spot is as casual as climbing gyms get, in a good way. Being bouldering-only means no waiting for people to finish long top rope routes; you just jump in when there’s an opening, crush a problem, then look for your next one. On the other hand, if you’re trying climbing for the first time, there are a couple beginners-only walls you can test out top roping on.
Unlike most gyms that change routes monthly, The Spot redoes its bouldering problems weekly, so things are always changing — just don’t get too attached to any one section. When you’re done climbing, it has snacks and even a couple beer taps to decompress with. (For post-climb only!)
The super-simple Spot route-grading system is easy to get the hang of, but for newer climbers, you’ll have to work out your level on the standard V-grades if you decide to pop in somewhere else. That said, if you’re having fun at The Spot, you may never bother.
Hours: M-F 7 a.m.-11 p.m./S-S 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Rates: Adult monthly: $65. Adult day: $18. Single month: $75
Bonus: ABC Kids Climbing
As if all the other gyms weren’t proof enough that Boulder loves climbing, ABC should do it. Exclusively geared toward helping kids get into the sport, the classes, tours and open gym hours are great for anyone from 2 ½ years old up to 19. If your little one is interested, check this out for a safe, skilled intro, and even for the three- or five-day summer camps.
Whether you’re visiting and just want to get in a workout, or a resident looking for their new membership, one of these gyms will do you right, no question. If you do live or have friends in Boulder, talk to them about it, as well. Each gym has a discount (or free) buddy pass system for newcomers if you know an existing member. For those who work in Boulder, there are often corporate discounts. Your company might have one set up already, or you can do it yourself with a few coworkers. With all that, there’s really no excuse not to get out and try it.