Editor’s note: This Vs. That is Travel Boulder’s weekly comparison guide designed to help you pick the activities, food, drinks, hotels and events that best fit your preferences. It’s like if a traditional newspaper review had a love child with Yelp, except always reliably researched and experienced firsthand by our local writers. Because sometimes you can best understand an option by seeing what it is not and by placing it side by side with something else.
Boulder’s name points to one of its most popular activities. The rocks here are a playground.
Rock climbing is popular in Boulder year-round. But when the temps drop and some routes close down, many climbers head indoors.
Boulder has a handful of rock climbing gyms, as well as climbing walls scattered throughout rec centers and fitness centers. Each wall is a little different.
Here’s a closer look at two of the many indoor climbing options in Boulder: Movement Climbing + Fitness Vs. The Spot Bouldering Gym
Movement Climbing + Fitness: More Than a Climbing Gym
2845 Valmont Road
Climbing is the focus here, but it’s not the extent of the offerings.
Movement is a climbing and fitness facility that offers sport climbing, bouldering and fitness, cycle and yoga classes.
For the climbing itself, Movement changes its routes regularly, to keep regulars consistently challenged. It has routes for all levels.
Movement can get pretty crowded at times, especially during colder weather, and parking can be a challenge.
Movement offers more than 50 different classes per week, as well as quality TechnoGym equipment. Every member gets a free fitness consultation.
Classes here span training that will make you a better climber, like Climbing Fitness (designed to strengthen muscles related to climbing), as well as technique and safety classes for all levels, from basic to elite. Movement offers youth classes, camps, coaching and teams, too. It also offers a women’s specific climbing group.
But there are also plenty of cross-training options, like Cycling Cinema (a weekly indoor cycling class set to a movie), Acro Yoga, Movement Labs and Alpine Fit (a winter sports training class to prepare you for skiing). For one-on-one attention, sign up for personal training.
Another thing that makes Movement unique is its emphasis on energy efficiency; in fact, it claims to be one of the most environmentally friendly commercial buildings in the nation. More than 80 percent of its energy comes from solar thermal heaters and efficient building materials. The gym also has solar panels.
Movement also has a location in Denver and is opening a second Denver location soon. The gym offers childcare and full-service locker rooms.
The Spot Bouldering Gym: More Boulder Than Boulder
3240 Prairie Ave.
The Spot, which opened in 2002, is unique because it’s exclusively a bouldering gym. It claims to be the first dedicated indoor bouldering spot in the entire nation.
Here, you’ll find more than 15,000 square feet of climbing, two 17-foot freestanding boulders, four additional bouldering walls, sweet top-out boulders, a slackline and more. All in all, you can work on more than 200 different “problems,” and they’re ever-changing. Every week, you’ll find a new challenge.
Lots of the features are inspired by actual bouldering spots, like Huevo Boulder, the Colorado River Granite Wall and the Yosemite Wall, for example. Practice indoors in the winter and then take your new skills and knowledge to the outdoor spots in the summer.
The Spot is also proud of its special flooring, made by a climbing company.
While The Spot’s emphasis is bouldering, for all abilities, it does also offer a workout area with fitness machines, free weights and other equipment to cross-train and build strength. Members can take advantage of free fitness classes, such as a climbing conditioning workout, slacklining class and even kickboxing.
In addition to regular day-to-day climbing, The Spot offers lots of special events and competitions, both national and local. It claims to hold some of the biggest climbing events in the world.
The most popular annual event is Psychedelia, a blacklight Halloween climbing party. Yes, climb in costume while the walls glow in the blacklight. These parties include raffles, food, drinks, competitions and a costume contest.
The Spot also has a bouldering league.
The Spot has a locker room, showers and — get this — two beer taps with rotating local beers. (Uh, no drinking and bouldering. This is an after-climb celebration.) The Spot also has snacks, including burritos. Mmm, beer, burritos and bouldering.
The atmosphere here can be pretty upbeat. Depending on who is working, the space may be filled with loud hip-hop music or other jams.
Like most climbing gyms, The Spot can get packed in the winter, especially in the evenings.