2014 Biggest Climbing Gym List



It’s time for CBJ’s Annual report on the biggest gyms in the US. With close to thirty new gyms opening this year it’s no surprise that several new gyms have made it onto the list.

The midwest has thundered onto the climbing scene with 3 new facilities bumping off gyms from the 2013 Biggest Gym List.

So how did we come up with the Biggest Gym List? The main data point we used is the total climbing wall square footage. We get this number from the wall manufactures and in a few cases where the construction was done in-house, the number was self-reported by the gym. If there was a tie for square feet of climbing surface we break it with the total square footage of the building.

We count rope walls as well as bouldering and training walls and we’ve tried to get to the most accurate number possible. We do not count “fun climb” walls like Funtopias or Clip-n-Climbs or other amusement type climbing walls.

With the onslaught of new climbing facilities opening this year only seven gyms remain from last years list. One notable gym not on this years list is The Cliffs of LIC which was #6 on the 2013 Biggest Gym list. Previously reported to have 30,000 square feet of climbing, Walltopia recently confirmed the square foot number is actually 23,002 which puts them well out of range of the top 10.

10. Central Rock – Watertown

Photo: Garrick Kwan
Location: Watertown, MA
Wall Size: 28,787 SF
Wall Builder: Rockwerx
Year Opened: 2013

Starting off the list is Central Rock which drops two places to 10th place. Opened in 2013, the Watertown facility boasts 28,787 square feet of Rockwerx-built climbing surface which includes a 10 meter speed wall and an amazing lead wall. In 2015 Central Rock – Watertown will play host, in conjunction with their popular Ring of Fire lead comp, to the USAC SCS Open National Championships.

Their Watertown facility is just one of four gyms operated by Central Rock. A 5th, bouldering-only facility opened recently in Cambridge, MA.

9. Vertical Endeavors – Minneapolis

Location: Minneapolis, MN
Wall Size: 28,950 SF
Wall Builder: Nicros
Year Opened: 2011

Vertical Endeavors comes onto the list in 9th place after holding strong at 7th last year.


8. Planet Granite – Portland

Location: Portland, OR
Wall Size: 30,000 SF
Wall Builder: Walltopia
Year Opened: 2014

San Francisco-based Planet Granite makes its debut appearance on the top 10 list with their big and beautiful new facility in Portland, Oregon. Their grand opening last month marks PG’s first foray out of California after a failed LA bid. Built in the Pearl district, a posh neighborhood near downtown Portland, the developers paid out $3.25 million for the property alone. After a quick demolition of the existing dilapidated building PG went ground up with a 30,500 square foot building and created the first full-service climbing gym in Portland in over 26 years.

PG was founded in 1994 and they currently operate 4 facilities, with all but Portland centered around the Bay area. Portland is their largest facility.

PG may have deep pockets but they’re not keeping it all to themselves. Along with their long-running Give Back program, which donates $1 from each member, every month, to a member-chosen non-profit cause, they have also agreed to match up to $20,000 in donations to the American Safe Climbing Association.


7. Stone Summit – Atlanta

Location: Atlanta, GA
Wall Size: 30,000 SF
Wall Builder: Walltopia
Year Opened: 2010

It’s hard to believe that a building nearly the size of a football field only has 30,000 square feet of climbing in it, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Stone Summit – Atlanta. All this space means they can really pack the people in which they have done since opening in 2010. And of course Stone Summit has been hosting the USAC Youth National Championships for the past 5 years which brings in over 400 competitors, their coaches and parents.

Once again Stone Summit is tied, this year with Planet Granite Portland — we broke the tie based on the 45,000 square feet of floor space versus the 30,500 at PG – Portland.


6. Mesa Rim – San Diego

Location: San Diego, CA
Wall Size: 31,000 SF
Wall Builder: Rockwerx
Year Opened: 2010

Also dropping two places on the list but keeping their title of largest gym west of the Mississippi is Mesa Rim. At 31,000 square feet of climbing and walls up to 55 feet tall, Mesa is king of the So Cal market.

But they’re not done yet. Mesa Rim has announced plans for a second facility near downtown San Diego that could make this list next year.

Thrill Seeker Holds