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What makes a good climbing gym good?
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geologer77


Dec 18, 2012, 4:53 PM
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What makes a good climbing gym good?
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I'm considering opening a climbing gym, and I'm doing research on what people look for most in a climbing gym. For those of you that do a lot of climbing in a gym, what are the things you like the most? What are the things you like the least? Any information anyone can share about the communities preferences will help me to make my gym someplace everyone can enjoy. Thanks in advance.


acorneau


Dec 18, 2012, 6:07 PM
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Re: [geologer77] What makes a good climbing gym good? [In reply to]
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geologer77 wrote:
I'm considering opening a climbing gym, and I'm doing research on what people look for most in a climbing gym. For those of you that do a lot of climbing in a gym, what are the things you like the most? What are the things you like the least? Any information anyone can share about the communities preferences will help me to make my gym someplace everyone can enjoy. Thanks in advance.


There are a lot of open-ended questions there, but a few thoughts...

1. The number one reason people go to a particular gym is routes... high quality routes. Routes are what you're selling at a climbing gym, so don't skimp on route setting staff, new holds, good walls, and all the other things that go with your main "product".

2. Good lighting, AC/heat, and decent facilities; followed by good locker rooms/showers and extra work-out equipment.

3. Decent staff is important, but regular climbers will put up with lame staff if the gym has good routes/walls.

4. Catering to your clientele, location, potential competition, customer extras, etc. are all part of the equation but then there are a million other things as well.

If you're really serious about opening a gym then I suggest you get to know the climbers in your area and contact the CWA for more guidance.

Good luck.


(This post was edited by acorneau on Dec 18, 2012, 6:10 PM)


kikitastrophe


Dec 19, 2012, 7:06 AM
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Re: [geologer77] What makes a good climbing gym good? [In reply to]
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1. Good Routes. I started climbing at a relatively small gym which had a great set of employees who were real climbers. (In the subsequent 9 years, some of them have moved out west, gone pro.) They set routes that were based on projects they were working on outside. (Real moves, thoughtful problems that teach you something) The employees were also very knowledgeable about the surrounding outdoor climbs and were out at the major East coast crags whenever possible. Unfortunately the place has gone under several management changes since I moved away and the climbers I still know in the area drive 45 minutes to go to a different gym because "it's so awful now".

2. Community. If there isn't already a gym, climbers need somewhere to congregate and meet up and find partners, but this probably isn't enough to support a business. But I echo the above poster in saying there should be heat, cleanliness, a friendly and supportive environment.

3. From a strictly financial angle, you probably have to cater to non-climber families with a bunch of kids who want to go to a climbing party. The huge highly successful gym I go to now does this well, also has a lot of classes for new-to-climbing people teaching entry and higher level skills. They also have trips that aren't just climbing, etc.


geologer77


Dec 19, 2012, 8:24 AM
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Re: [acorneau] What makes a good climbing gym good? [In reply to]
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Thank you for your response, and I appreciate your advice, I'll make the best use of it I can. My greatest concerns are finding the right people to work at the gym, as I am not familiar with the climbing community in my area, and I'm not entirely sure many people here have ever been exposed to it. I think if I can find the right staff, the route setting will come with it. I also plan to offer loyal employees opportunities to go to training/seminars etc. to learn how to make things better.
I've been putting a lot of thought into what type of structure will make for the best gym, I've been thinking of either a metal building (cheaper but not very efficient to condition) or a concrete structure (aestheticly pleasing and more efficient to condition but expensive initially).

If you can think of anything else, or know of any other resources I might be able to use, I'd appreciate any other help you can provide.


geologer77


Dec 19, 2012, 8:30 AM
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Re: [kikitastrophe] What makes a good climbing gym good? [In reply to]
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The first gym I went to was also relatively small, but the owner was great and the staff was also very knowledgable and experienced. That's what I've been using as my model for my planning.

I know that I'll have to cater to the whole birthday party/family outing crowd, but I also want to attract military, businesses, and other groups while still giving the true climbers what they want too. My intention is to have the wall scaled in difficulty from beginner to advanced, and to keep route setting focused on helping people develop skill as well as physical power and endurance.

I also want to include other types of fitness equipment, yoga, etc.

I appreciate your help and I will do my best to incorporate your advice into my plans. Thank you.


acorneau


Dec 19, 2012, 8:49 AM
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Re: [geologer77] What makes a good climbing gym good? [In reply to]
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A very good resource:

https://www.climbingwallindustry.org/index.php

You don't say where you're looking at setting up a gym (understandable) but it could help a lot to know how to proceed from here.


geologer77


Dec 19, 2012, 8:56 AM
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I would prefer not to disclose too much, but I can tell you it's a relatively large metroplolitan area. The area has a reputation for not being fitness minded, but that's beginning to change. Right now the only climbing walls available are part of expensive health clubs or are more like novelties to entertain than to actually use for training or serious use. I think that the community would benefit from having a good climbing gym, and I'd like to be the one to provide that. I'm still very early in the planning process, so I'm keeping it quiet.


camhead


Dec 19, 2012, 1:36 PM
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Re: [geologer77] What makes a good climbing gym good? [In reply to]
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geologer77 wrote:
I would prefer not to disclose too much, but I can tell you it's a relatively large metroplolitan area. The area has a reputation for not being fitness minded, but that's beginning to change. Right now the only climbing walls available are part of expensive health clubs or are more like novelties to entertain than to actually use for training or serious use. I think that the community would benefit from having a good climbing gym, and I'd like to be the one to provide that. I'm still very early in the planning process, so I'm keeping it quiet.

Out of curiosity, is there outside climbing nearby this metropolitan area? This would probably be a significant factor in determining how strong the existing climbing community (which likely would use your gym) is.


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