The recent addition of sport climbing to the 2020 Olympic Games could be considered a testament to the feverish growth of the climbing world in recent years. While outdoor rock climbing as a sport has been around for more than a century, indoor climbing gyms came about only in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The increasing number of gyms has made it possible for flatlanders like us to discover the benefits of climbing without having to make the drive to Austin or Hueco Tanks.
Why climb? Along with being both mentally and physically challenging, climbing doesn’t require much gear, is accessible to most skill levels, and is family-friendly. It’s a fun way to stay in shape or cross-train for those of us who aren’t keen on pumping iron in a traditional gym. The difficulty rating systems for each route encourage goal setting, friendly competition, and a measurable way to see how much you’ve improved. All of these traits make for an experience that can be both satisfying and addicting.
Houston already has some great indoor climbing options, with another state-of-the-art facility opening in 2017. Each gym offers a wide range of difficulty levels, basic instructional classes, and gear rental (shoes, harness, chalk, and belay device) to make it easy for beginners to get started. So climb on!
Where: 403 E. Louetta Road in Spring
Why it rocks: Walls that soar up to 43 feet give this gym an extra adrenaline factor. A separate kids area and a double-decker bouldering wall make it family friendly and unique. They offer private lessons for both beginning and advanced climbers.
Beyond the wall: Don’t miss inSPIRE Rock’s fitness center and yoga classes. The 5.ATE cafe inside the gym will keep you fueled up so you can climb all day.
Cost: $16.95 for a day pass, $10-12 to rent gear
Where: 1526 Campbell Road
Why it rocks: At any given time, there are between 125-170 different climbing routes set up. Along with 42 top-ropes, Texas Rock Gym also offers a bouldering area and a special arch for lead-climbers.
Beyond the wall: Be sure to check out the yoga classes and boot camp programs that are offered throughout the week.
Cost: $15 for a day pass, $15 to rent gear
Where: 6970 Cypress Creek Parkway
Why it rocks: A funky, fun gym started by a group of experienced climbers, Stone Moves features both bouldering and top roping walls for at an affordable price. They also offer private lessons for a wide range of skill sets.
Beyond the wall: Stone Moves holds yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Cost: $14 for a day pass, $7 to rent gear.
Momentum Indoor Climbing (opening 2017)
Where: 25410 Katy Mills Parkway in Katy
Why it rocks: Utah-based Momentum Indoor Climbing will be establishing its first out-of-state climbing gyms at Katy Mills in the summer of 2017. The Katy Mills location will boast 36,000 square feet of amenities, while a second First Ward/Silver Street bouldering-only facility (opening date tbd) will be even larger at 40,000 square feet.
Beyond the wall: Plans include a retail shop, yoga studio, and fitness programs.
Cost: $20 for a day pass, $9 to rent gear.