Very few climbing gyms in the US have put as much thought into training climbers as Momentum Climbing, which is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. At their new Millcreek location, Owner and General Manager Jeff Pedersen has set aside 3,000 square feet and put up $100,000 to create one of the premier climber training areas in the US.
For Pedersen, a training area is not focused solely on creating better climbers, but has more to do with keeping all climbers excited about climbing. “As members progress in climbing, they hit plateaus (like we all do!),” Pedersen told CBJ. “Having an integrated climbing/training area affords the business a chance to keep its members progressing in their personal goals.”
The business case for this is clear: if they continue to enjoy climbing, they are likely to be dues-paying, long-time members of Momentum. “We hope to use this area as a way to keep our members unstuck, psyched and engaged,” Pedersen said.
Momentum’s 3,000 square feet training space is divided roughly in 3rds:
One-third climber zone with training “toys” like:
- 26′ x 15′ 45-degree woody, with every t-nut filled with a hold
- 2′ x 6′ wide ceiling-suspended campus boards with slide-able kickboard (climbers can choose to use foot jibs, or can let feet hang free)
- 12’ x 12′ adjustable systems wall (30-50 degree)
- Crossfit style lifting system by Rogue
- 30′ long Poutre beam
- Rings and Atomik Bombs
One-third Crossfit training zone; and One-third traditional fitness zone with cardio, free weights and exercise machines.
Salt Lake has always had a reputation of having under-the-radar, exceptionally strong climbers. “Salt Lake area climbers have always trained hard,” Pedersen said. “I remember when there were no gyms and we were all just building woodies to train on through the winter in order to not have to spend weeks failing in the spring once we got back out on the rock.”
Pedersen and his team, which included Noah Bigwood, Brendan Nicholson, Eric Kubiac and Justin Wood, pooled their collective knowledge to create the ultimate climber training space.
“With Momentum Millcreek, our approach was to integrate the best of that old style garage training with a modern gym and modern training equipment (hence the proximity of the climbing training zone to the Crossfit zone). This integration allows us to not only create amazing training circuits for a variety of customers/members, it also visually conveys in an instant to very new climbers or prospective members that climbing is not only a sport, it is an alternative form of complete fitness.”
Using the Space
Though the training deck is always open to members and other customers, Pedersen wants to get the most value out of his investment by using the space in the most efficient manner possible. He will do this by offering small group training for an additional fee; for members looking to improve in specific areas or who have date-driven objectives (such as a climbing trip, competition or seasonal route goals), training guru Steve Maisch will provide detailed personalized training plans that integrate the Momentum training deck.
One unique way Momentum plans to use the space will be by offering “Ask an Expert” hours. During scheduled hours local climbing experts will hang out on the deck and take whatever questions come.
Throughout the past seven years running their Sandy, Utah location, Pedersen has learned that, “The questions we get [about training] fit a pretty big range,” he told CBJ. “Newer climbers may have no idea how or why someone would use certain climbing apparatuses; more experienced climbers may know how to use the stuff, just not how to use it in context of a weekly climbing/training schedule, or how to advance their abilities toward some specific goal.”
According to Pedersen, this suite of training services is aligned with their core business strategy of acquiring existing climbers as members, creating new members out of day pass walk-ins, and retaining all members.
“The inspiration for the training deck was to create a facility where existing climbers could find one-stop training for any rock goal, general improvement or competition,” Pedersen said. “New climbers could enter in as beginners, progress as far as their passion drives them and have the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by experts training in a cutting edge fashion.”