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RunRocket


Dec 6, 2011, 1:19 AM
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New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas
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I have been talking to my partner(the owner of my building) and we are considering a personal training studio and bouldering gym. The space is small. 30'x30'x10' tall ceilings in the equipment area and the climbing wall room is 20'x30'x20'tall. The address is 2424 Broadway San Antonio Tx, 78215. There is no climbing gym in my town other than 2 colleges and a Lifetime fitness north of town. No bouldering gym what so ever. I have been to a climbing gym twice and rock climbing a handful of times.
So a real novice when it comes to climbing. But I am going to start a business in the space that is here and a climbing gym doesn't sound like a bad gig.
I am thinking of calling it Urban Ascent(since I am downtown) or The Cave indoor climbing gym.
If there are any owners of small gyms like this or someone who knows the workings of one please contact me to help me get going.
I have looked up a lot of images for bouldering gyms and I am trying to design it.
Please tell me your favorite features and wall angles and sizes that you like to climb.
Also how many climbing holds will I need for 2000 square feet of walls?


Partner camhead


Dec 6, 2011, 3:36 AM
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Re: [RunRocket] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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RunRocket wrote:
I have been talking to my partner(the owner of my building) and we are considering a personal training studio and bouldering gym. The space is small. 30'x30'x10' tall ceilings in the equipment area and the climbing wall room is 20'x30'x20'tall. The address is 2424 Broadway San Antonio Tx, 78215. There is no climbing gym in my town other than 2 colleges and a Lifetime fitness north of town. No bouldering gym what so ever. I have been to a climbing gym twice and rock climbing a handful of times.
So a real novice when it comes to climbing. But I am going to start a business in the space that is here and a climbing gym doesn't sound like a bad gig.
I am thinking of calling it Urban Ascent(since I am downtown) or The Cave indoor climbing gym.
If there are any owners of small gyms like this or someone who knows the workings of one please contact me to help me get going.
I have looked up a lot of images for bouldering gyms and I am trying to design it.
Please tell me your favorite features and wall angles and sizes that you like to climb.
Also how many climbing holds will I need for 2000 square feet of walls?

I've never opened a bouldering gym, so take this with a grain of salt. However, I have never heard of a bouldering-only gym of the size you describe making a profit. All of the medium sized operations I know of are co-op models, and just barely pay the bills that way ("medium-sized" meaning larger than a home wall, but smaller than something like Dallas Rocks; go check it out if you haven't).

Logistically, I think it would be difficult to actually fit the numbers of boulderers in the gym that could make a profit. Not to mention that you would probably not be able to have the large group parties which tend to be the true money-makers for roped gyms.


shockabuku


Dec 6, 2011, 5:32 AM
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Re: [RunRocket] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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Let us know how it works out.

Some things you'll have to think of:
-Insurance.
-Padding and lighting around the features you build.
-Who will set quality problems to climb? Next to the actual type of terrain, I think this is the biggest factor effecting the quality of the facility. Quality routes require not just experienced climbers, but experienced route setters.
-Cleaning holds after they've been used for a while.
-Excess hold storage, ladder storage, tool storage.
-Staffing/entry control.
-Air system to handle chalk.
-Cooling.
-Climbing hold inventory turn-over.
-Will you have rental shoes? If so, where do you store them?


djlachelt


Dec 6, 2011, 8:25 AM
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Re: [RunRocket] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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RunRocket wrote:
... The space is small. 30'x30'x10' tall ceilings in the equipment area and the climbing wall room is 20'x30'x20'tall.
... I have been to a climbing gym twice and rock climbing a handful of times. So a real novice when it comes to climbing.
...
I have looked up a lot of images for bouldering gyms and I am trying to design it.
Please tell me your favorite features and wall angles and sizes that you like to climb.
Also how many climbing holds will I need for 2000 square feet of walls?

For your own sake please do a lot of research before you commit to this. This basic question has been asked before in this forum. If you look at similar threads on this forum you'll see my posts directing people to the Climbing Wall Association ( http://climbingwallindustry.org ). The CWA hosts a yearly industry trade show in May. I believe you would be foolish to go any further in this venture without attending this conf... especially given that you have limited experience in this sport.

There are not many bouldering-only gyms... but there are a few. Denver Bouldering Club http://denverboulderingclub.com/about/ is one that I think might be closest to your size. I think it is a CO-OP style business as opposed to something that is trying to be a good investment. Another is: SLO Op ( http://www.slo-opclimbing.org/ ).

Other bouldering only (and for-profit) gyms that I think of are considerably larger than what you could house in that space. The Spot, The Circuit are two that I think of.

You say you are trying to design it... but don't have any real experience with climbing. I strongly encourage you to get consulting from someone with experience designing and running a climbing gym. What looks cool and what actually climbs cool can be two different things. Moreover you want something that your route setters will be thrilled to set on for many years to come. There again, what looks cool at first glance can be tedious or very limiting to set on.

I recommend Chris Danielson ( cdanielson at gthi dot com ) as someone who could help you evaluate this and answer some of these sorts of design questions.

Your question about # of holds... That's something you'll certainly want to know at some point, but it is hardly the most important question to be asking at this stage.


RunRocket


Dec 6, 2011, 10:13 AM
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Re: [djlachelt] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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This is the beginning of the research.

Thanks for the climbing wall association link. That is very helpful.

I emailed the contact for the Denver bouldering club. Someone emailed me back and said they have nothing to do with a climbing gym. weird.

I design fitness equipment. Prototype mostly. I apply the same design principals for what ever I build.
1. Copy the best parts of everyone else's design.
2. Make it all work together.
3. Make it look cool.

I will definitely contact Chris Danielson. Also I won't be setting routes. That will have to be done by a pro. I will find the best route setter in san antonio. And pay him/her to set the routes. That is not something I would pretend to know anything about at this point.

One advantage I have is the building is paid for. I don't pay rent. The warehouse was just sitting there not doing anything until I had the idea to frame it out and do something with it. My partner/investor gave me his credit card and told me to start building something.

My partner really wants something that is fun for him. I am more focused on it making money. I prefer a liquor store. But he wants to do something fun.
One other consideration is, I live in the building. So I would rather live with a cool climbing gym than a liquor store.

Also I build everything myself. So it is the cost of materials only, which helps out on the cost.

Thanks for your constructive criticism and warnings. I am very concerned with researching the profitability of this idea.

It may end up that I build a liquor store in the 30x30 area that fronts the road and build a bouldering wall in the 20x30 area and have the entrance through the rear of the building. That way the liquor store makes money and the climbing gym will be something cool that may make a little extra money.

djlachelt-I see you are a SW engineer. I am a mechanical engineer. Though I have never held a job for it outside my own company. I quit school my senior year, took my senior project and started a business with it. That is maxrepbenchcrafting.com and now run-rocket.com
I only set up businesses that I can step away from after I set them up. A climbing gym seems to be that type of business.
shockabuku-that is interesting that you mentioned the AC being able to handle the chalk. Do gyms usually have a special filter to remove chalk from the air?


(This post was edited by RunRocket on Dec 6, 2011, 10:21 AM)


shockabuku


Dec 6, 2011, 11:41 AM
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Re: [RunRocket] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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I can't speak for all gyms, but some obviously do, others may and it's not obvious. There is a definite increase in load of airborne particles due to chalk use.


SylviaSmile


Dec 6, 2011, 12:25 PM
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Re: [shockabuku] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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shockabuku wrote:
I can't speak for all gyms, but some obviously do, others may and it's not obvious. There is a definite increase in load of airborne particles due to chalk use.

The gym I go to handles this problem by banning loose chalk in favor of chalk balls. I don't know if this is common practice, or only a partial solution, because obviously there's still chalk around everywhere.


acorneau


Dec 7, 2011, 7:37 AM
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RunRocket,

A few more resources for you...

To get connected with the Texas climbing community, including the folks in San Antonio, get reading and participating here: http://erockonline.com/forum/upload/index.php

To get some information about building walls, running a gym, routesetting, etc., read everything and ask those specific questions here:
http://www.routesetter.com/forum/

I'm a part-time route setter at Texas Rock Gym in Houston and would be happy to give you my two cents on basic wall design/layout and setting questions.

Good luck.


djlachelt


Dec 7, 2011, 9:44 AM
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Re: [SylviaSmile] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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SylviaSmile wrote:
...
The gym I go to handles this problem by banning loose chalk in favor of chalk balls. I don't know if this is common practice, or only a partial solution, because obviously there's still chalk around everywhere.

For a "bouldering" gym in San Antonio (hot & humid most of the year) this would be almost a deal breaker. Boulderers pretty much exclusively use a chalk-pot


SylviaSmile


Dec 7, 2011, 1:24 PM
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Re: [djlachelt] New Bouldering Gym San Antonio Texas [In reply to]
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djlachelt wrote:
SylviaSmile wrote:
...
The gym I go to handles this problem by banning loose chalk in favor of chalk balls. I don't know if this is common practice, or only a partial solution, because obviously there's still chalk around everywhere.

For a "bouldering" gym in San Antonio (hot & humid most of the year) this would be almost a deal breaker. Boulderers pretty much exclusively use a chalk-pot

The boulderers here somehow survive--though I agree with you, it is significantly warmer in Texas, if the cooling system could keep the temperature at a colder level, less chalk could be required (granted, that would also cost more in electricity, so maybe a cost-benefit analysis would be good). If it's the only bouldering gym around and the problems are good, people will come even if they can only bring chalk balls, I'd guess.


RunRocket


Dec 7, 2011, 2:47 PM
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acorneau-thanks for the contacts and I will definitely be contacting you when it comes time for course setting. I would like your input as well on the wall it's self. Is your avatar picture at Enchanted Rock? My wife and I like to take a fall trip there to let our dogs run around. I will do a little bouldering while I am there. Hopefully we can get up there in the next two weeks. Last time we went she just got her boobs done and was scared they would pop if she climbed at all. Now I think she would be OK.

We would definitely AC the place I could build a filter to remove chalk dust and get better filters for the AC system I will install. Maybe i will invent a new system that pulls air through the wall near each hold and that is the intake for the filter system. Just kidding about that, but I will figure something out.
Today I met we met with a personal trainer to discuss the money side of a personal training studio. It looks like the liquor store is out.(yeah) I am now getting prices for flooring and equipment and we are thinking through what parts of this building will be what. I think the total over all square footage here is like 6000 including upstairs and down. About 2000 to 3000 usable for a training facility.
So what this means for the rock climbing wall; it will start out in a 20'x10'x20'tall area. So it will have a 20'wall and a 10' wall on each side of that. It may go as far as 16' on the far wall in the picture, since that column in the middle supports the roof. the other 20' side will be left open to the room. The area will be the area in the picture. If climbing is wildly popular then the wall will grow. If not then it will remain in that area.
I am thinking about replicating a wall I saw on youtube of an X games bouldering competition. I just got a pack of 60 holds in the mail today. I may work on the wall tonight so I can start screwing around on it.


(This post was edited by RunRocket on Dec 7, 2011, 2:51 PM)


acorneau


Dec 7, 2011, 3:50 PM
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RunRocket wrote:
acorneau-thanks for the contacts and I will definitely be contacting you when it comes time for course setting. I would like your input as well on the wall it's self. Is your avatar picture at Enchanted Rock?

Yup, after topping out somewhere on the backside.


In reply to:
We would definitely AC the place I could build a filter to remove chalk dust and get better filters for the AC system I will install.


I would highly recommend incorporating large fans in your designs. Boulderers are a sweaty bunch, so keeping the air circulating as much as possible will be key to keeping your electric bill under $1k a month.


In reply to:
So what this means for the rock climbing wall; it will start out in a 20'x10'x20'tall area. So it will have a 20'wall and a 10' wall on each side of that.

Honestly, that's not a lot of wall space for a bouldering-only gym. Try to double that amount if possible, or at least add another 10' or so.

Carry on!


RunRocket


Dec 7, 2011, 5:33 PM
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It's not going to be a bouldering gym. It will be a personal training gym with a bouldering wall. I'm pretty sure we can make money with the personal training, not so sure about the climbing wall. First rule of business is do what you know. I know a lot of personal trainers, they have been buying my equipment for years. I don't know a single climber. Personal training clients are older and richer, and we'd get a cut of that. Boulder climbers are young are poor. I fall more in the second category so having a wall is more to satisfy my interest than to make money.


RunRocket


Dec 7, 2011, 9:24 PM
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I have a section of the wall tacked in place. This section starts 3' off the ground. It is a 10' by 8'wide section at 60degrees. The top of the wall is about 12' off the ground. Do I want 3' of vertical at the bottom? What angle would be best to take the wall up to the 20' ceiling? I could go straight up, angle back about 15degrees or come off of that with a 30 degree wall. What do you think would be good here and why?
Also you can see the roof section to the left of the 60degree wall. It will be 7'6" from the wall toward the 60 and 10' the other way and it is totally flat. That roof is only 7' off the ground. Is that tall enough underneath or would I be better off putting a 30 degree wall under there to meet the 60?


(This post was edited by RunRocket on Dec 7, 2011, 9:29 PM)
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shockabuku


Dec 8, 2011, 4:28 AM
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RunRocket wrote:
Last time we went she just got her boobs done and was scared they would pop if she climbed at all. Now I think she would be OK.

I don't believe you. I think before and after pictures are called for.


RunRocket


Dec 8, 2011, 12:51 PM
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Google 'Jeannette Pair'
She has a model mayhem account. Boobs a plenty
Under images on the first page of google image searches there is a pic of her and my dog at enchanted rock.


RunRocket


Dec 8, 2011, 5:05 PM
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No one wants to help design this thing?


acorneau


Dec 9, 2011, 6:39 PM
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RunRocket wrote:
No one wants to help design this thing?


Again, you'll get lots of help and ideas at the Route Setter forum.


jae8908


Dec 9, 2011, 6:58 PM
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I think a little more overhangy would be better. more like 45 degree. i think 3 feet at the bottom is good. a mixture of angles from 30-60 would be sweet too but a lot of work


RunRocket


Dec 9, 2011, 11:05 PM
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I have been watching a lot of youtube videos of competitions and looking at images of all the walls I can on google. I will post int he route setters forum for help designing this.

I am going to have a lot of different angles. What I am thinking of doing is having 4' of the top of the 60 come out flat 2' and then straight up, and put a sic volume on the vertical top part. The other 4' I am thinking of coming out at a 30 for maybe 8 more feet. That will make the wall in that section come out to the edge of the climbing area.
What I am afraid of is having too many small panels on the wall and it not be a good climb. The walls that seem best to climb to me have large sections of one angle, attached to another section at a different angle and so on.
Another thing is this wall is going to be too high to boulder. When I am up on a ladder 20' or even 15' feet in the air, I would not want to drop from that height.
Anyway I will post over in the route setters forum and see what I get there. Thanks for all your responses. I will continue watching this thread as well.


Bats


Dec 9, 2011, 11:14 PM
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It would be nice for SA have a commercial gym, but with so many natural areas within a short distant. I think Allen is right about getting a bit bigger place. Kids birthdays seemed to make the budget for must gyms. Now there is a place here in Houston that is incorporating harness and rope as a new way for fitness, especially for your high-end clients.
http://www.gyrotonichouston.com/index.php
It seems their studio is small as well. I only knew about it from one of my yoga instructors was talking about it.


(This post was edited by Bats on Dec 12, 2011, 4:19 PM)


RunRocket


Dec 10, 2011, 12:17 AM
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The gyms money making function is having a place where personal trainers can train their clients. Next week we are actually building a 20' tall brick wall across the back of the gym. I am going to do more research into this wall dancing and see if any one here is SA will teach it at our facility.


acorneau


Dec 10, 2011, 6:23 AM
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RunRocket wrote:
I am going to have a lot of different angles. What I am thinking of doing is having 4' of the top of the 60 come out flat 2' and then straight up, and put a sic volume on the vertical top part.

... Another thing is this wall is going to be too high to boulder. When I am up on a ladder 20' or even 15' feet in the air, I would not want to drop from that height.

I can't speak about all the bouldering gyms/walls out there, but 20' seems like about as tall as you would ever want to go. Most that I have seen are 15' to 18' tall.

Also remember to be careful about how far out you go away from the base of the wall. Adding a 4' section of roof will bring out the top of the climbs quite a ways. If you want roof sections better to put them in lower/closer to the base and then go up.


(This post was edited by acorneau on Dec 10, 2011, 6:25 AM)


RunRocket


Dec 10, 2011, 1:30 PM
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I have one roof section that is 7' off the ground. It is totally horizontal, and 10'x7'6" big. I had 5 I beams sticking out of the wall at that hieght, so I framed them up to be the main roof area.
If I put any other roof areas, they will be small and just to make the climb more interesting.


RunRocket


Dec 11, 2011, 10:02 PM
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I think I am up to speed enough to build this wall. It's not real big anyway and it is not the crux of the business. Not so sure about route setting but I can worry about that later. I just kept reading things on the internet and people here helped out a lot.
I was looking up 'spotter for climbing' looking for the mechanical spotter. Yeah they are all over the internet under auto belay. I bet people that read that post were thinking I was some kind of idiot. That may be true but I have enough to move forward and complete the wall.

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