Outside conditions aren’t always perfect for climbers — maybe it’s snowing or more likely for Texans, it’s just too hot to think straight. Thus, the indoor rock climbing gym was born. And from that, a whole new way to get fit.
Whether you’re a 5.14-level climber or you have no idea what that means, there’s a sweaty, chalky, forearm-burning good time waiting for you at all of these Austin area gyms.
Austin Bouldering Project
Austin Bouldering Project is believed to be the world’s largest bouldering gym (though, we left our tape measures at home). The warehouse in East Austin was formerly a produce processing plant and has over 23,000 square feet of climbable surfaces. The routes are rotated twice a week so that every seven weeks there is an entirely different climbingscape to tackle. Tired already? Take a break to recharge in the upstairs lounge that looks out over the climbing area. Fitt Tip: if you’re a regular climber (more than four times a month), it’s more affordable to sign up for a monthly membership — which also gives you access to the fitness gym and any yoga class.
Crux Climbing Center
Crux Climbing is a unique gym situated off of South Congress with both a high wall for rope climbing (auto belays, top rope, lead climbing) and a shorter wall for bouldering. If you’re looking for a change in perspective, the cave area is a favorite for horizontal climbing. Want to go all night? No problem — Crux has 24-hour climbing areas. They also have music plug-in capability, charging stations, and are across the street from Cosmic Coffee for refueling.
Austin Rock Gym
No frills, just climbing — that’s the idea behind Austin Rock Gym. ARG, as Austinites call it, is the grandfather of climbing gyms at almost 20 years of service. Rising up off North Lamar, it’s a popular location amongst experienced climbers and famous for its 24-foot wall named the Big Pig. ARG offers classes for certification in belay and lead climbing as well as excursions for outdoor climbing at the Greenbelt, Enchanted Rock, and Reimer’s Ranch.
Life Time Austin Arboretum (formerly Pure Austin Fitness – Quarry Lake) is the perfect place to break out of the monotony and try something new. Though not a dedicated climber’s paradise, this gym is home to a rock wall tall enough for both bouldering and top rope, and also offers bi-weekly classes to hone your technique. Entrance to the gym includes access to all of the amenities like the outdoor walking trail a great way to spend a day full of activity or cross-train.
**Updated by Nickie Harris, November 2018