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Top Ten Gyms in the US
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Partner the_shoe


Dec 5, 2005, 3:59 PM
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Top Ten Gyms in the US
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I am just wrapping up a 63 city in 90 day tour of the US with Bonnie Raitt. And I thought I would take a moment to post my top 10 gyms in the US.

(This list is personal opinion and is according to where I went on this tour. Some others may have been missed because of my destinations and days off from the tour, so please don't cry. This is a list from the 27 or so gyms I went to in the four months I was on the road.)

#10: Upper Limits
St. Louis, MO
http://www.upperlimits.com
(Very poor bouldering)

#9: The Climbing Wall
Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.theclimbingwall.com

#8: Go Vertical
Philadelphia, PA
http://www.govertical.com

#7: The Crux
Eugene, OR
http://www.cruxrock.com

#6: Climb Nashville
Nashville, TN
http://www.climbnashville.com

#5: Portland Rock Gym
Portland, Or
http://www.portlandrockgym.com

#4: Touchstone
San Francisco, CA
http://www.touchstoneclimbing.com

#3: Vertical Endevours
St Paul, MN
http://www.verticalendevours.com

#2 Rockreation
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.Rockreation.com

#1 Planet Rock
Ann Arbor, MI
http://www.planet-rock.com
(Truly an amazing gym with 85ft lead routes and three bouldering caves on two stories)

This is not a definitive list of all the gyms in the US but some of the ones I visited. There are some great route setters out there pushing the limits of indoor climbing as well as some who are just pushing the limits of there egos as well.

A big thanks goes out to all the friends I have met along the way and I hope to see you all really soon.

I will be going out again with Bonnie this spring and summer so keep an eye out for my future lists that will include gyms in cities I have not gotten to frequent.

8^)


hibby11


Dec 5, 2005, 4:19 PM
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Glad to know my gym comes up in your #3 spot, god do I love VE


milominderbinder


Dec 5, 2005, 5:12 PM
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w00t for Planet Rock Ann Arbor...I climb there 3-4 days a week, as long as I dont have an exam or five to study for (like now :( ), and can find a ride to the gym (take the bus a lot too)...It is a sweet place.


punk_rocker333


Dec 5, 2005, 5:14 PM
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Planet Rock's website is not the one you listed.

http://www.planet-rock.com/main.php


scottquig


Dec 5, 2005, 6:08 PM
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I can't believe that you put the climbing wall at number nine in the country! Granted, the bouldering area is awesome...but the top-roping and leading area needs a lot of work. In addition to that, the staff is very impersonal. I go to another gym in Washington state that has a decent bouldering area, decent top rope, and decent leading area, but the staff is amazing. The staffs at both gyms are very professional, but at the climbing wall the employees are just...not nice. My opinion may also be worse just because I dislike gym climbing and bouldering in general.


hortisb


Dec 5, 2005, 6:24 PM
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The Quarry
Provo, UT


b2bivy


Dec 5, 2005, 6:50 PM
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Out of the ten you list I have only been to the one in Ann Arbor, and though I enjoyed my visit I was not overly impressed. Maybe that is because my gym is OKC Rocks, and a 85 foot lead is no big deal there. The owner is more concerned with teaching people how to climb on real rock than pulling plastic, and the emphasis is on climbing more than bouldering. But each place has its good and bad traits, and anywhere that promotes climbing is okay in my book. But check out OKC Rocks.....


Partner the_shoe


Dec 5, 2005, 6:53 PM
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Once again I will state that my list is is devised out of 27 gyms that I went to while on tour. I stated that future lists will follow as I go back out on tour and stop in other cities. I know that cities such as Utah and Colorado certainly have competing gyms. And when I have visited more I will compile a list that is more detailed and thorough.

Essentially this list was devised to open the eyes of others to the gyms that are out there. So don't take it personally if your gym is not listed. This is my opinion.

Plus a lot of these gyms have no listing on this site or are listed without a web address. I will eventually list the web address and the gyms in the routes section when I return in three weeks.

Again these are the ten gyms that I enjoyed the most.

And I do agree with your Climbing Wall assessment, however I had no partner for that day and enjoyed very much their bouldering. Bouldering wise it deserves to be on my list.



rgbscan


Dec 5, 2005, 7:15 PM
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Woot! Go VE! (yeah I'm another mn climber)


Chris


sneetch


Dec 5, 2005, 8:33 PM
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Holy shit! Crux? Sure, it's my home gym, and I love climbing there, but damn. Number seven in the country is a little over glorified.


midwestishell


Dec 5, 2005, 8:51 PM
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Hey man-Even little ol' upper limits made the list! And watch out y'all, we are working on making our boulder problems better. We are bound to move (somewhere) on the list...

Th


chalkfree


Dec 5, 2005, 8:51 PM
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If you're going to put a VE up, the one in Duluth is superior in my opinion. Sure there's a bit less variety, and the building it's in is depressing as hell. But you can't beat the atmosphere and the company. Besides all the good stuff Nicros has come up with is at the one in duluth, not the one in St. Paul.

Go ahead flame away. I like to climb there alot and I don't like to climb in the cities as much.


tennesseeclimber


Dec 5, 2005, 9:41 PM
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hey nice to see climbnashville on the list out of the 7 gyms i have climbed at in the south east climb nashville wins hands down.


crazyscuba


Dec 5, 2005, 9:44 PM
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i understand the list is subjective but i gotta complain a bit about ve. the dude owns a hold company, yet they still refuse to have any footholds and the holds they do have are rarely cleaned. the route setters lack creativity and nearly every move is one big throw or hand-foot match.

i'm obviously biased, but did you make it to boulders in madison? or prairie walls in rochester? both are much nicer gyms than any of the ve's that i've been to. praire walls has a bunch of freestanding boulders with some of the best setters i've ever seen. then you can go to boulders and go to one of the only gyms in the country that uses and makes their own clay holds. they have shapes that NOBODY else will ever have.

steve


Partner the_shoe


Dec 7, 2005, 3:50 PM
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I created this list with the sole intention of creating conversation about our respective gyms. I appreciate you all letting me be subjective in making my list. I am lucky to have a job that allows me to travel the country and visit all of these great places.

I am happy to see some of the responses to this post coming in with some recommendations to gyms that I will no doubt visit when the tour resumes in February.

Climb hard and keep breathing


midwestishell


Dec 7, 2005, 4:07 PM
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Shoe-
I was actually curious as to what struck you bout these gyms. Why are these on the list rather than the other 17?

Thanks
Th


climbingbums


Dec 7, 2005, 4:09 PM
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i think the spot in boulder shoud be on there. its pretty cool. but ive been to none of those places, so what do i know?

bobby


caughtinside


Dec 7, 2005, 4:09 PM
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Tell me, did you do any Real Climbing while out on tour with Ms. Raitt? :P


jt512


Dec 7, 2005, 4:22 PM
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Rockreation - L.A.? The gym we love to hate? You've got to be kidding. I can think of three better gyms in the L.A. area.

Jay


caughtinside


Dec 7, 2005, 4:52 PM
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THat's right Jay. The 4th best gym in LA is the 2nd best gym in the US. 8^)


craghag


Dec 7, 2005, 4:57 PM
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Glad you enjoyed VE......it's twice as big now as it was a year ago :D


Partner the_shoe


Dec 8, 2005, 11:17 AM
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The reason I choose to list the gyms that I did had alot to do with the overall experience, be it, route setting, management, new friends, and environment, all subjective. Sure there were some gyms in my travels that were bigger and more asteticly appeasing with better routes, but some of these gyms were sterile and had no personality. I ran into alot of comp climbing as well along the way which really created kind of an odd climbing experience. (I think kids in climbing are missing out on the true climbing expereince.)

The title " Top 10 US Gyms" was created more to draw attention to the post and open conversation. When choosing the top ten of anything the results are truly subjective to the author. I by no means am attempting to alienate any other gyms but merely am trying to open the doors to future climbing.

As I mentioned in another post my intention is to gather information about these gyms for this site. It was quite difficult to find alot of these places, whether from this site or from where my hotels were. I hope to find the time to add all the info I have into the routes database.

As for Rockreation, again subjective, this is my home gym and it was great to be climbing at home again when we had shows in LA. Plus Rockreation in overall experience makes my list in that spot. I can say that confidently after this first leg of my tour.

And last but not least, unfortunately my schedule did not allow me time to climb outside. Some may recall I tried to find partners along the tour on this site some time back, and although I met some great friends, I am never in town more then one day. So gym climbing was convenient being that most gyms were within blocks of my downtown hotels.

Thanks for adding fire to the conversation and if you know of better gyms in the areas mentioned please name the gyms and place there website address. As I said it's tough finding places to climb when you are in a different city everyday, any info will help myself and traveling others.


midwestishell


Dec 8, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Thanks Shoe-I was wondering if some of those other ideas factored into your decision. I was curious to know if this was a list of which gyms had the best 5.10 or the ones that gave you the best experience.

Come on back through St. Louis sometime and look us up.

Th


jt512


Dec 8, 2005, 12:08 PM
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In reply to:
As for Rockreation, again subjective, this is my home gym and it was great to be climbing at home again when we had shows in LA. Plus Rockreation in overall experience makes my list in that spot. I can say that confidently after this first leg of my tour.

At a minimum, if you are going to attempt to rank gyms nationally you should at least be familiar with all the gyms in your local area. My sense, from talking to climbing partners, is that the new gym in Westlake is the best, followed by Hangar 18 or the L.A. Rock Gym, then maybe Rockreation - Costa Mesa, and then maybe Rockreation - LA.

So, as caughtinside quipped, you've ranked maybe the 5th best gym in L.A. as the 2nd best in the country. That leads me to wonder how bad the rest of the gyms on your list might be.

Jay


Partner the_shoe


Dec 8, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Jay,

:oops: --------> You missing the point!

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