Over the last year and a half, CBJ has been researching and collecting information on every commercial climbing gym in the US and Canada. We do this so that we can more accurately tell the story of our industry and provide accurate metrics about the growth and trends that are shaping the business of indoor climbing.
To make this information more readily available to our readers, we are pleased to announce the first ever fully interactive map of all commercial climbing facilities in North America. The new map has a variety of filtering tools that allow you to:
- Filter by open year;
- Search by the facility name and/or location;
- Search for all gyms within a 10, 50 or 100 mile radius of a given location; and
- Filter by status (open, planned, closed), type (mixed or bouldering), country (USA, Canada), size of climbing surface and wall builder.
All the attributes can be filtered at once, so if you want to know all the gyms that opened between 1990 and 2010, have the word “rock” in their name and were built by Eldo, you can find out with just a few clicks!
For those looking to be gym developers the map is especially helpful. It’s possible to show all the gyms within a 10, 50 or 100 mile radius of a given location. For example, if you select Match by Proximity and search for Washington, DC you’ll find that there is only one facility within a 10 mile radius (with a corresponding population of more than 1.9 million people).
Data, Data, Data
This map is only possible because of CBJ’s extensive database of commercial climbing facilities. Our database started as a pet project for one aspiring gym owner, Jon Lachelt. He was researching the climbing industry in preparation of opening his own climbing gym in Fort Collins, Colorado, but found very little reliable information.
Lachelt looked through every available list of gyms on the internet but found them lacking. “Each of them was missing [information] that the others had, and all of them were missing gyms that I was aware of. Nor did these lists include gyms that had closed, which I thought was relevant for understanding the industry growth,” Lachelt said.
Not one to wait for someone else to fix the problem, he took it upon himself to put together his own up-to-date list of climbing gyms. He soon realized that the information he was gathering could be helpful to other gym developers. “I hoped to make it available in some form to benefit the climbing gym industry,” he said. A fortuitous email to CBJ kicked off a fruitful partnership that has grown his original spreadsheet into a robust database that tracks multiple aspects of the industry.
In the middle of last year Lachelt helped CBJ put all of the gyms onto a live Google map, our first version of CBJ’s Commercial Climbing Gym Map. He was not content to stop at that, however, and while he has been pretty busy building his new gym, Ascent Studio, he has somehow managed to find enough time to build the interactive, searchable, filterable tool we are are announcing today.
“Over the last month or so I’ve been having my nerdy sort of fun putting my user-interface design and web-programming skills to use in enhancing the map to be searchable and to fit nicely into the aesthetic style of the CBJ web site,” Lachelt said.
Take a look around the map and let us know what you think. We work very hard to ensure all the information is accurate, but there are certainly some errors and omissions in there — if you find any please send us a note. The database is most useful when we have the most current information on new gyms opening and those that are closing or expanding. If your gym fits into any of those categories please let us know.
And if you run into Lachelt, make sure to tell him ‘thanks’ for making his labor of love available to everyone!
Climbing Business Journal is an independent news outlet dedicated to covering the indoor climbing industry. Here you will find the latest coverage of climbing industry news, gym developments, industry best practices, risk management, climbing competitions, youth coaching and routesetting. Have an article idea? CBJ loves to hear from readers like you!