Get a grip: When it comes to rock climbing gyms, metro Denver has options. But with so many spots to scramble up the wall, how do you find the best match for you? Whether you’re looking for a winter fitness routine, a local climbing community, or a creative way to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, these nine Denver climbing gyms are ready to show you the ropes.
2401 East Colfax Avenue
Denver may be at least 45 minutes away from any serious outdoor climbs, but the Carla Madison Recreation Center is hoping to make up for that. Along with the rest of its fitness and wellness facilities — a leisure and lap pool, group fitness classrooms, training areas and a childcare room — Carla Madison boasts a modest outdoor rock climbing area located on the second-floor balcony. The wall, open March through October, includes six climbing routes, three of which are pre-set with auto-belay devices. Outside the gym is a boulder, replete with hand grips, where children can scramble. The selection of climbs may be on the smaller side, but low monthly rates make this rec center the perfect spot for individuals or families looking to try out the sport without committing to a climbing gym membership.
4131 South Natches Court
The Denver Bouldering Club began in 2009 as a co-op of dedicated climbers looking to build a strong local community (in a single warehouse unit, no less). The spirit remains, even though the group has grown into two locations. Offering 24/7 access to members at both their central and south locations, DBC offers small yet active bouldering gyms that have been described as some of the most inclusive and welcoming of their kind. DBC resets its routes once a week, boasting the highest turnover rate of climbs in the area. Though occasional yoga classes and other fitness goodies are included, DBC emphasizes its status as “primarily a climbing gym” with a community to match.
1050 West Hampden Avenue, Englewood
Located in the newly repurposed Sports Authority headquarters in Englewood, Earth Treks is one of the newest and largest area climbing facilities. Boasting over 53,000 square feet of climbing space (along with additional space for yoga, group fitness, weightlifting and cardio), Earth Treks banishes the shoulder-to-shoulder claustrophobia many climbers put up with during peak gym hours. Even on the busiest nights, there’s always a rope available. Plus, newbies are welcome: Earth Treks makes it easy to get started with belay classes, auto-belay devices on all rope climbs, and affordable child care.
8610 East 21st Avenue
Serving the northeast Denver and northwest Aurora communities, Übergrippen is a climbing gym with an impressive focus on creating a strong and diverse community. With regular member nights and events that cater to everyone from kids to seniors, Übergrippen espouses a desire to see “generations climb side by side in a supportive and positive environment.” The full-service facility offers fitness and yoga, the largest youth climbing program in Denver, a ten-foot-tall custom outdoor boulder, a community patio, and a lawn area with slack lines and other games.