ClimbTime: An App for Climbing Gyms, With a Community-Building Twist

ClimbTime founders in the climbing gym
Steven Fafel―pictured (left) beside software developer Tyler Bennett (right)―co-founded ClimbTime with Nicholas Fafel to help cultivate community engagement for members in the gym, and the new app provides a fresh avenue for gym staff to manage their routesetting and event planning. (All images courtesy of ClimbTime; gym photos taken at Spooky Nook Climbing Gym)

“Join our Facebook Women’s Climbing Club group.” “Check the whiteboard to find a partner.” “Visit our Instagram to see events at the gym.” “Look at our website to see when new routes are set.”

Does getting involved really need to be that confusing? Gyms have amazing communities, unique clubs, awesome events and helpful classes, but spreading the word can be challenging! Even if a gym has a way to communicate about their events and activities, for members it can still feel difficult to keep up with everything. And what about new climbers? They first have to figure out why everyone has white dust on their hands and are wearing “elf shoes” before thinking about getting more engaged in the climbing community.

This is where ClimbTime comes in, a new community-building software for climbing gyms to provide for their members. ClimbTime’s member app helps climbers engage with the community through partner finding, club organization, alerts for gym events/news, the ability to comment on and rate climbs, and joining leagues. These features pair with climbing gyms’ goals to track their routesetting, promote events/classes, host leagues, run clubs, and receive member feedback. Since launching in 2021, the ClimbTime app is already being used by 15 gyms around the United States.

What makes ClimbTime different from other apps?

The main difference between ClimbTime and other apps used in climbing gyms is that ClimbTime brings its own unique community-building twist. This is done through the app’s main features of partner finding, club organization, and gym news/events. These features are combined with fantastic gym mapping and climb logging for members, as well as powerful route management tools for gyms.

“We focused on 3 keys to differentiation from our competitors. While designing the member app, I focused on keeping it user-friendly for all levels of climbers, avoiding a social media time suck, and gearing all features toward connecting members,” said ClimbTime’s CTO, Nicholas Fafel.

ClimbTime app features
The ClimbTime app offers a wide range of community-minded features all in one place, helping climbers, routesetters, gyms and clubs get and stay connected.

As members & new climbers return from the “Covid slump,” make sure they stay!

If you ask any climber what their favorite part about climbing is, they will almost always include the relationships they’ve made through the sport. Climbing is an intensely communal sport, and ClimbTime helps kick-start the process of becoming engaged in that community. “Bouldering by yourself quickly gets old, and climbers are more likely to get and keep a gym membership if they feel engaged in the climbing community,” added Nicholas. “Most veteran climbers couldn’t imagine leaving the sport because it is the center of so many of their friendships.”

Still, despite climbing’s communal benefits, membership retention is notoriously a crux for climbing gyms―especially during a pandemic. People are looking for ways to stay active and involved, but climbing gym memberships can seem costly. “ClimbTime’s #1 focus for gyms is to increase membership retention by tying people into the community and providing them a better experience in the gym,” concluded Nicholas.

Ditch the partner whiteboard and bulletin board

ClimbTime’s founders believe in being the solution you want to see, and it was a series of frustrations experienced first-hand in the gym that led to the app’s creation. The first was outdated attempts to solve the partner finding problem. “It always felt so dumb writing my name and the color shirt that I was wearing on a white board at the gym and never finding a partner,” said Steven Fafel, CEO of ClimbTime. With the support of Zion Calvo―who helped with the original design and UI of the ClimbTime app―co-founders Nicholas and Steven found a digital solution to the problem.

The ClimbTime app gives climbers the ability to create a “current partner listing” for when they are at the gym, and also features a “future partner listing”. The latter, especially, is great for finding a belay buddy before you get to the gym, so you never have to arrive alone. It also has filters based on days, climbing type and ability.

ClimbTime app user
Finding a gym climbing partner can be a challenge, and ClimbTime hopes to solve that problem with the app’s current and future partner listing features.

A launch pad for awesome climbing clubs & leagues

According to Steven, in just the last few years there has been an explosion of all types of climbing clubs in gyms. These clubs range from college, women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, outdoor meetups, training and board climbing, religious, and many others. However, “many valuable climbing clubs at gyms have failed to gain and maintain traction over the years, often due to lack of organization or scattered information across email chains and Facebook groups,” said Steven.

ClimbTime solves this problem by bringing club communication under one roof. Clubs in the ClimbTime app can make admin posts, host event signups, create channels for member communication, and view other club members. Club members can also receive notifications on their phone if they choose so.

“Bouldering leagues have also become increasingly popular over the years, but scoring with a handicap and other factors can be frustrating and tedious for gyms,” added Steven. “ClimbTime allows you to create a league, set the rules, and we handle the rest! We can accommodate any scoring type or style.”

Never miss a yoga class or Reel Rock movie night

Climbing gyms spend a lot of time organizing amazing events and classes for their gym. It has become the norm for gyms to post their events to Instagram to try to spread the word, but according to Steven most of their followers may never see the post. “We hate seeing the sad expression on members’ faces when they realize they missed a rad event,” lamented Steven.

ClimbTime provides gyms a dedicated platform to promote their events, making it easy for members to receive notifications and stay engaged in gym events. “We have received great anecdotal evidence of increased event attendance from our hosted gyms,” confirmed Steven.

Climbing gyms using ClimbTime
Launched last year, the ClimbTime app is already in use at 15 climbing gyms around the country, from Oregon to North Carolina.

Gym Maps and Logging in a simpler way

Routesetters put so much time and effort into setting the best possible routes for their gyms, and an essential part of that process is communicating with the gym clientele they are serving. The ClimbTime app helps facilities those conversations. “With ClimbTime, members can give their ‘compliments to the chef’ by commenting, rating and logging their sends on ClimbTime,” said Steven.

In the ClimbTime app, climbers can filter through routes in the gym to see which ones they’ve completed and would like to target next. There are also user-friendly maps with simple logging tools for climbers to track their progress. “For gyms, we take all this setting and member data and provide powerful route management tools! These features are the one thing we share in common with our competitors, but the combination of these and our community features are unmatched,” stated Steven.

Does ClimbTime seem right for your gym?

Ready to give your community-building a boost? Head over to today and request a demo. “It is super easy and inexpensive to host your gym. We can’t wait to see your gym on ClimbTime!” concluded Steven.


This story was paid for by the sponsor and does not necessarily represent the views of the Climbing Business Journal editorial team.