Top 6 Cities to Open a Climbing Gym


Fort Collins, CO

Metro Area Population: 298,382
Number of Public Climbing Gyms: 2

With it’s small size and competition from existing climbing facilities, Fort Collins may seem like a risky bet for a new gym owner looking for an easy score. But Fort Collins represents perhaps the last best place to open a gym along the Front Range. With a population that is healthy and active outdoors, opening a gym in the heart of some of the country’s best rock climbing is a no-brainer. Also with its great biking, restaurants and micro-breweries CNN Money rated “The Fort” #6 on their list of Best Places to Live in 2010 (#1 in 2006).

Though it would be too simplistic to say Fort Collins is another Boulder, CO (which supports 3 major climbing gyms) the similarities between the two cities are striking. Fort Collins has the same great access to world class rock climbing, a large university enrollment (28,000 students at Colorado State versus 29,000 at CU-Boulder), a slightly higher overall population, a lower cost of living and only slightly lower median household income than Boulder.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to this market is property price and availability. With a short supply of industrial and “flex” space, finding a building that could accommodate a climbing wall may prove too much for the faint of heart. If you have solid entrepreneurial skills and can take the heat, Fort Collins may just be the perfect place for your new gym.

Harness Consulting