Hot off the press: There is a brand new rock climbing gym in the Upper West Side. Until now, if you wanted to try your luck at bouldering you had to commute to a decidedly cooler, younger part of the city (Long Island City or Gowanus).
Central Rock Gym opened at 60th and West End and offers a gorgeous bouldering and rope climbing facility. After reading about my experience at Brooklyn Boulders, the gym reached out and invited me to give them a try.
I brought my friend Caroline and Central Rock was kind enough to host us, provide us shoes and give us a lesson. We needed it.
Just three blocks from Columbus Circle, the gym is right next to a SoulCycle in a part of the Upper West Side that is adding new, trendy, commerce every day. After checking in upstairs and getting fitted for climbing sneakers (which are meant to be uncomfortably snug), we headed down to the gym space.
The facility is colorful and friendly. There are lockers and a few changing rooms stocked with the basics. The gym has indoor climbing (where you use a harness) but the primary offering is bouldering. Bouldering is climbing without ropes. The studio is something like 400 linear feet of bouldering as well as a 40-foot rope climbing wall.
We focused on bouldering.
The gym is focused on creating community. While Caroline and I learned our way around the gym we saw groups of people climbing and helping each other. Elayne, the super-friendly team member that showed us around, explained that she sees newbies and experienced climbers working together to “solve problems” (bouldering lingo for completing a climb). Successful bouldering takes more than just strength. Tactically, you have to think through the best course to travel vertically and horizontally across the wall. It can help to have a friendly thought partner helping from the ground.
The gym aims to become a space where people can come to workout and hang out. They open at 6am and close at 11pm on weekdays. So you can make it a part of your routine, whatever your routine.
After an hour of climbing, I was SORE the next day. I’ll be back.
How you tried bouldering or rock climbing?