Climbing Insider News Weekly: February 12


Just a few thoughts

The climbing gym industry in the U.S. and Canada grew by 5.1% in 2020, in terms of total gyms. 44 new gyms opened their doors in the U.S. and 9 more in Canada, during a pandemic year. Every gym deserves an award for chugging through 2020 and continuing to believe in climbing, and so do the climbers who continue to believe in them. Find more reasons for hope in our annual Gyms & Trends report for 2020.

Stuff for Insiders

Life at Home With the BFF Rock Climbers Redefining the Spot (Ari Schneider, Vogue)
“It’s hard to focus on training when you’re being fetishized—it’s no wonder [Condie] preferred to train alone. But Condie and Vest see a future for the sport that’s more inclusive, where climbing teams have strong girl squads supporting one other.” – Ari Schneider

Route Setters of the Tokyo Olympics: The silent architects in a game of choreographed skill and chance (Dave Wetmore, Gym Climber)
“Hemmingway once said that ‘the individual, the great artist when he comes, uses everything that has been discovered or known about his art up to that point…and then goes beyond what has been done or known and makes something of his own.’ In this way, the setters too, armed with decades of practice and intuition, will contribute to writing the history of climbing’s Olympic debut, and hopefully, they succeed.” – Dave Wetmore

Video: Resilience and Overcoming Setbacks – Interview With Paraclimber & Cancer Survivor Anoushé  Husain (Lattice Training)

New Climbing Shoe Resoler Focuses On BIPOC and Low-Income Climbers (Owen Clarke, Gym Climber)
“To be able to climb regularly is a privilege. Gym memberships are not cheap, gear starts to add up, and paid vacation time to go outdoors is a luxury for many. We hope Flash Friction can play a tiny part in helping the climbing community be more accessible and inclusive.” – Ceasar Saingchin

Video: 5 Things Gym Climbers Hate (Albert Ok)

Gym Manager Beta

Climbing hall culture Switzerland vs. Canada: which way is safer? (La Crux)
“If you make your way across the ocean towards North America, the European-liberal climbing hall user will quickly be overwhelmed by culture shock: climbing halls there have a straightforward, clear and extremely strict security policy that leaves little room for individual decisions, but a simple and perhaps safer one…” – La Crux

The Best Member Appreciation Events Around (Emma Walker, CWA)
“The landscape is changing, but one thing remains consistent: it’s incredibly important to make sure your members know they’re appreciated. Right now, that means getting creative.” – Emma Walker

Why Revisiting The Basics Is So Important In The COVID Era (Holly Chen, CWA)
“The real danger isn’t just in novice climbers forgetting basics, but in experienced climbers who develop a false sense of security over the years.” – Holly Chen

CWA Call: Canadian Insurance Roundtable at 10am MST on Wed Feb 17

CWA Call: February Community Call at 10:30am MST on Wed Feb 24

Elevate Climbing Walls


Routesetting + Home Training

The Kilter Board is the Future of Board Climbing (Noah Walker, Gripped)
“Kilter has been designing this board for sometime. In 2018, they decided to move forward with what would become the original layout. Though light-up boards are nothing new, it could be argued that Kilter almost perfected the training board.” – Noah Walker

Video: Homewall Routesetting – Intensity (Kegan Minock, DoughJo Setting)

New Climbing Holds and Volumes of January 2021 (CBJ)
“The homewall trend continues into 2021 with a bunch of new climbing hold shapes and tools catered towards training and getting strong on home woodies. But multiple fresh offerings hint towards heading back to the climbing gym and comp seasons to come.”

CBJ Originals

Gyms and Trends 2020
“Not surprisingly, the trend of bouldering-focused gyms in North America that was observable at the start of the 2010s continued in 2020. Of the new climbing gym openings in the U.S. in 2020, 50 percent were facilities where bouldering was the prominent focus―the highest ratio ever.” – CBJ

2020 CBJ Gym List Awards
“Saying that climbing gyms had a challenging year in 2020 feels like an understatement…But gyms that had their grand openings in 2020 still managed to do impressive things during the pandemic year…some accomplishments will be celebrated here and now.” – CBJ

Making Life Better: Behind the Desk with Andrew Coffey (Joe Robinson)
“I have never been more grateful to be living and working in Canada. My heart goes out to all the businesses that are struggling without such support―I do hope you are able to see this through.” – Andrew Coffey

New Climbing Holds and Volumes of January 2021

HWOW 43: Simple Yet Generous Shed Homewall

Climbing Gym Management Series