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redraider0102


Mar 7, 2011, 1:27 PM
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Good Indoor Climbing Gym Attributes
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I'm looking at joining a climbing gym/researching what makes for good indoor climbing and was interested to see what other climbers look for that makes a good indoor climbing wall and gym. Anything that you think makes the gym you climb at or have climbed at before better than others.


vegastradguy


Mar 7, 2011, 2:17 PM
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two things. if you're lucky, you'll get both.

excellent route setting (both quality and frequency)

excellent social scene.


cornstateclimber


Mar 7, 2011, 2:38 PM
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well depending on where you live, youre lucky to have one within reasonable driving distance to join one. but by the topic of youre post you have more than one to choose from. i agree w vegastradguy, routesetting and scene, are two things to look for. here where i live i dont have many to choose from. there are a few around chicago area, but i stay away. reason 1) dont like driving from the sticks to chicago.
2) the routes and walls are great, but the people are a different breed, and usually when i can make it there, it must be the only timeeveryone else can too.
and 3)did i mention having to drive into chicago.
but now the gym i do go to, was built into a grain complex using the old concrete silos, and offers climbing up to hieghts of 65', which most other gyms do not offer. so thats what keeps me going there. sustained climbs of all grades to get a great burn, and get off the deck a ways. plus the concrete has alot of "natural" effect with pockets and holes and cracks.


TheBishop


Mar 7, 2011, 2:43 PM
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Yup. Good route setting and good social setting. Those two things alone can make or break a gym

Other nice things to have:
Large number of routes, keeps the variety interesting

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project, but not too infrequently that you get bored on the same routes all the time.

Other than that, it's just nitpicky and personal preference.


redraider0102


Mar 7, 2011, 3:01 PM
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Besides route setting and social scene, what would keep you coming back to the gym? Some ideas i had were: Potential competition hosting? preference for real rock feel of the wall/ untextured wall with synthetic holds? Availability of climbing classes (lead, fundamentals, technique)? Possible coaching and gym climbing team? The number of bouldering problems vs. number of climbs


kaizen


Mar 7, 2011, 3:03 PM
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TheBishop wrote:

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project...

How long does it take you to "send your indoor proj?"

And did you really say that?


robx


Mar 7, 2011, 4:16 PM
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kaizen wrote:
TheBishop wrote:

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project...

How long does it take you to "send your indoor proj?"

And did you really say that?


I know what he means. I've been in a situation that I couldn't do a route, but was getting close every time. maybe the move was out of my comfort zone, the clip was awkward, or I just wasn't quite strong enough, but I don't like having that route disappear.
If you can climb every route in a gym you need to find a new gym


lena_chita
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Mar 7, 2011, 5:45 PM
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kaizen wrote:
TheBishop wrote:

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project...

How long does it take you to "send your indoor proj?"

And did you really say that?

Why would it take any less time that it does to send an outdoor project of a similar difficulty?

And what exactly is wrong with the idea of working (aka projecting) an indoor climb?


lena_chita
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Mar 7, 2011, 5:56 PM
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redraider0102 wrote:
Besides route setting and social scene, what would keep you coming back to the gym? Some ideas i had were: Potential competition hosting?

Sure, occasional competition is nice. But most gyms don't have competitions more than couple ties a year, so that would be a rather silly reason for picking a gym.

redraider0102 wrote:
preference for real rock feel of the wall/ untextured wall with synthetic holds?

Given a choice, I prefer a plywood wall with texturized paint, and regular holds, volumes, etc. over molded rock walls, such as Entreprize, Nicros, etc. I feel that over time, if you are climbing in the same gym, the molded walls get boring because there are only so many configurations, you can't really change the fact that there is a good bulge here, that everyone will inevitably use for a foot, regardless of which way you set the route, unless you force things by making every route tracking feet... And there is no option on those molded walls to use screw-on jibs and small holds, only bolt-on holds that go onto a relatively limited number of open holes.



redraider0102 wrote:
Availability of climbing classes (lead, fundamentals, technique)? Possible coaching and gym climbing team?

Availability of classes would be important for new climbers, but over time this would be a very unimportant issue, unless you have an individualized coaching instruction by someone who really knows what they are doing.

I dearly wish our gym had a youth climbing team though... Aside from route-setting and social scene, if there were two gyms that had everything else equal, and one had a kid's climbing team, I would pick that one because of my daughter. She is pretty much the only kid who consistently climbs at our gym, and while she is enjoying it, having other kids and a coach would make a huge difference in her involvement and motivation.

redraider0102 wrote:
The number of bouldering problems vs. number of climbs

A good gym would have a mix of both, but if I had to choose only one, I would go with all-bouldering gym over all-toproping, any day.


kaizen


Mar 8, 2011, 8:52 AM
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lena_chita wrote:
kaizen wrote:
TheBishop wrote:

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project...

How long does it take you to "send your indoor proj?"

And did you really say that?

Why would it take any less time that it does to send an outdoor project of a similar difficulty?

And what exactly is wrong with the idea of working (aka projecting) an indoor climb?

Nothing is wrong with working an indoor climb. What is wrong is people who expect that climb to remain indefinitely because they really like it or because it's their project.

In all seriousness, what is the length of time an indoor route or problem should stay up? 2 months? 5 years? How long should that route or problem remain, tying up holds and wall space, since someone is "working it"?

People who complain about a route or boulder problem coming down because it's "their project" is the exact reason why our local gym sucks. So maybe I've lost tolerance for the indoor projecting POV. However, it is in open question - how long should a route remain up? And do people feel that they are entitled to send their project before it comes down?


MS1


Mar 8, 2011, 11:40 AM
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kaizen wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
kaizen wrote:
TheBishop wrote:

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project...

How long does it take you to "send your indoor proj?"

And did you really say that?

Why would it take any less time that it does to send an outdoor project of a similar difficulty?

And what exactly is wrong with the idea of working (aka projecting) an indoor climb?

Nothing is wrong with working an indoor climb. What is wrong is people who expect that climb to remain indefinitely because they really like it or because it's their project.

In all seriousness, what is the length of time an indoor route or problem should stay up? 2 months? 5 years? How long should that route or problem remain, tying up holds and wall space, since someone is "working it"?

People who complain about a route or boulder problem coming down because it's "their project" is the exact reason why our local gym sucks. So maybe I've lost tolerance for the indoor projecting POV. However, it is in open question - how long should a route remain up? And do people feel that they are entitled to send their project before it comes down?

I think it's mostly a space issue. The bigger the facility, the longer you can leave routes and problems up without boring the regulars. In my tiny bouldering gym, three months verges on way too long, because the crowding of new lines makes route reading near impossible. In the suburban gym I commute to when I want to get on a rope,
there is enough space to leave routes up longer, and I do appreciate the challenge of having time to project something harder to obtain for a longer period. But still, six months without a full reset is probably pushing it.


shockabuku


Mar 8, 2011, 12:11 PM
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The most important attributes are probably route setting and reasonable size/terrain. I can't say which is more important between those two. Too small of a facility and it doesn't matter how good your setting is - I'll go elsewhere; poor setting and I'll also go elsewhere (and I have, twice).

Location relative to where I live.

Friendliness of the staff and reasonableness of the rules. Every gym has different rules and most are really immaterial but some policies are ridiculous and I suffer enough of that outside of the gym.

Wall texture, floor composition (I hate granular floors of any type), worn out holds, other facilities such as exercise equipment, lockers, showers, are all considerations but low on the list.

Classes mostly seem like draws for beginners so while they may be good for the business model, experienced climbers may not care.

A youth climbing team likewise appeals to an even smaller subset of the population but may draw in a decent amount of revenue. It also produces strong climbers which is probably good for the image of the gym.

Comps are nice but, as I understand it, not really a good business model. Most people don't participate in comps and they cost a lot of money to put in place (routesetting hours). While they are a lot of fun if you're in to that, I doubt they have much to do with why a person would choose one gym over another.


shink


Mar 9, 2011, 12:19 PM
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In reply to:
two things. if you're lucky, you'll get both.

excellent route setting (both quality and frequency)

excellent social scene.

These were my first thought too. Comps are nice (even if you don't compete) because it means lots of new routes at once. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are also a good thing to have.


lena_chita
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Mar 9, 2011, 1:08 PM
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kaizen wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
kaizen wrote:
TheBishop wrote:

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project...

How long does it take you to "send your indoor proj?"

And did you really say that?

Why would it take any less time that it does to send an outdoor project of a similar difficulty?

And what exactly is wrong with the idea of working (aka projecting) an indoor climb?

Nothing is wrong with working an indoor climb. What is wrong is people who expect that climb to remain indefinitely because they really like it or because it's their project.

In all seriousness, what is the length of time an indoor route or problem should stay up? 2 months? 5 years? How long should that route or problem remain, tying up holds and wall space, since someone is "working it"?

People who complain about a route or boulder problem coming down because it's "their project" is the exact reason why our local gym sucks. So maybe I've lost tolerance for the indoor projecting POV. However, it is in open question - how long should a route remain up? And do people feel that they are entitled to send their project before it comes down?

Sorry, I misread your initial post and misinterpreted what exactly you were objecting to.

I guess ideally (for me personally) the route turnover would be somewhere around 2 months. If you haven't sent something in two months of going to the gym at least couple times a week and working it over and over, then it's time to let go.

Maybe even less than that. For whatever reason, it seems that I never "get" some gym problem after working on it for 2 months or longer. Either I can figure out how to do the individual moves in couple days of trying, and then piece it together in several more days of working the route, or there seems to be a stopper move that I just don't make any progress on, regardless of how much I try it, and for how long.

And obviously there is no entitlement to keep a route up indefinitely. Maybe I give up too fast, lol, and I need to keep at it for 5 years, maybe that's my problem. Wink


But I think in most gym the route turnover rate has more to do with the wall space, number of available holds, and the number of route-setters, than it has to do with anything else.


kaizen


Mar 11, 2011, 8:10 AM
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lena_chita wrote:
kaizen wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
kaizen wrote:
TheBishop wrote:

Good timing on changing routes, not too frequently so that you can actually complete a project...

How long does it take you to "send your indoor proj?"

And did you really say that?

Why would it take any less time that it does to send an outdoor project of a similar difficulty?

And what exactly is wrong with the idea of working (aka projecting) an indoor climb?

Nothing is wrong with working an indoor climb. What is wrong is people who expect that climb to remain indefinitely because they really like it or because it's their project.

In all seriousness, what is the length of time an indoor route or problem should stay up? 2 months? 5 years? How long should that route or problem remain, tying up holds and wall space, since someone is "working it"?

People who complain about a route or boulder problem coming down because it's "their project" is the exact reason why our local gym sucks. So maybe I've lost tolerance for the indoor projecting POV. However, it is in open question - how long should a route remain up? And do people feel that they are entitled to send their project before it comes down?

Sorry, I misread your initial post and misinterpreted what exactly you were objecting to.

I guess ideally (for me personally) the route turnover would be somewhere around 2 months. If you haven't sent something in two months of going to the gym at least couple times a week and working it over and over, then it's time to let go.

Maybe even less than that. For whatever reason, it seems that I never "get" some gym problem after working on it for 2 months or longer. Either I can figure out how to do the individual moves in couple days of trying, and then piece it together in several more days of working the route, or there seems to be a stopper move that I just don't make any progress on, regardless of how much I try it, and for how long.

And obviously there is no entitlement to keep a route up indefinitely. Maybe I give up too fast, lol, and I need to keep at it for 5 years, maybe that's my problem. Wink


But I think in most gym the route turnover rate has more to do with the wall space, number of available holds, and the number of route-setters, than it has to do with anything else.

I see the difference now. You and MS1 climb at "good" gyms.

At the only rope climbing gym in town, the same routes stayed up for literally 5 years. Repainted the walls and took down all the old routes, and now the exact same routes are back up...
It sucks... bad.


rschap


Mar 12, 2011, 12:38 PM
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vegastradguy wrote:
two things. if you're lucky, you'll get both.

excellent route setting (both quality and frequency)

excellent social scene.


I agree, and really nothing else matters.


TheBishop


Mar 13, 2011, 1:15 PM
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That is basically what I am saying. The issue of changing routes frequently/infrequently comes from personal experience. I don't go to the gym very often, maybe once a month or so. Often times there are a few routes that I really like but cannot climb because they are just outside my ability. The gym I normally climb at changes routes fairly frequently. It has often happened that when I return with plans to finish a route I had climbed the previous time it's no longer there. Changing routes every 2 months seems like too much to me. But since I am not a gym regular, I only have my experience to offer. It is nearly impossible for a gym to keep everyone happy with the routes. I only mentioned changing routes because it is something to consider when defining what a "good" gym is.


sycamore


Mar 14, 2011, 6:30 PM
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Something not mentioned yet-

Height. Doing laps on a 24' wall will never be the same as working climbs on a 60' wall.


itstoearly


Mar 15, 2011, 6:03 AM
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TheBishop wrote:
That is basically what I am saying. The issue of changing routes frequently/infrequently comes from personal experience. I don't go to the gym very often, maybe once a month or so. Often times there are a few routes that I really like but cannot climb because they are just outside my ability. The gym I normally climb at changes routes fairly frequently. It has often happened that when I return with plans to finish a route I had climbed the previous time it's no longer there. Changing routes every 2 months seems like too much to me. But since I am not a gym regular, I only have my experience to offer. It is nearly impossible for a gym to keep everyone happy with the routes. I only mentioned changing routes because it is something to consider when defining what a "good" gym is.

I always though gyms should leave harder routes up longer for the very reason that more people need more time to work them.


shotwell


Mar 15, 2011, 7:30 AM
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People climbing the grade do not need more time to work them. Think about this for a second.

Climber A has an onsight limit of 5.10a. He needs several attempts to redpoint 5.10b. He needs multiple sessions to redpoint 5.10c.

Climber B has an onsight limit of 5.12a. She needs several attempts to redpoint 5.12b. She needs multiple sessions to redpoint 5.12c.

Should everyone in the gym be able to climb the hardest climbs? No. Did your project come down? Who cares? Start working on something else. People that competently climb the harder grades would like new routes too.


kaizen


Mar 15, 2011, 8:10 AM
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shotwell wrote:
People climbing the grade do not need more time to work them. Think about this for a second.

Climber A has an onsight limit of 5.10a. He needs several attempts to redpoint 5.10b. He needs multiple sessions to redpoint 5.10c.

Climber B has an onsight limit of 5.12a. She needs several attempts to redpoint 5.12b. She needs multiple sessions to redpoint 5.12c.

Should everyone in the gym be able to climb the hardest climbs? No. Did your project come down? Who cares? Start working on something else. People that competently climb the harder grades would like new routes too.

Thank you. This is how I feel, but I struggled mightily in expressing it.

With all due respect, someone who climbs in a gym once per month should not complain about a route coming down.


Partner cracklover


Mar 15, 2011, 11:14 AM
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rschap wrote:
vegastradguy wrote:
two things. if you're lucky, you'll get both.

excellent route setting (both quality and frequency)

excellent social scene.


I agree, and really nothing else matters.

I agree that the three above are the most important. But there are three other things that matter to me:

- Some lead routes
- Height of the gym > 30 feet
- Some cracks

GO


rschap


Mar 15, 2011, 5:35 PM
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sycamore wrote:
Something not mentioned yet-

Height. Doing laps on a 24' wall will never be the same as working climbs on a 60' wall.


I don't know if I agree. It really, really depends on the setters and the gym but the two gyms Iíve spent most of my time at have only had 28 and 30 ft walls and I found that in some ways to be better. What Iíve found is shorter walls tend to get more consistent to the grade routes set on them so if you do three .11a routes in a row you get 90 ft of more consistent .11a. The first time I went to a gym with 50+ ft walls I was excited till I got on the routes and they were 5.8 most of the way with one .11a move on it. This of course depends, but 4 of the other gyms Iíve been to (Colorado, 2 in California, and 1 in Virginia) have been like that.

We have 28 ft walls at my gym, if a route has say 20 moves and Iím setting a .10d I try to make at least 4-5 5.10d moves and the rest of the moves 5.10a-5.10c. Most of the other setters do the same.


itstoearly


Mar 16, 2011, 9:10 AM
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If a 5.11a has all 5.8 moves save for a lone 5.11a crux move, that to me implies lazy setters.


redraider0102


Mar 22, 2011, 8:30 AM
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What about secondary features of a climbing gym: like having a weight room/ treadmills. Or a child-care center that could watch your kids while your climbing or maybe have a climbing class for them.

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