I had a chance to visit the Brooklyn Boulder’s gym in Somerville, MA this weekend. This is a gym that boasts having more than the ordinary climbing gym, and while they certainly do, the question is whether the “more” includes things you want and need. It is a question you do, in fact, want to consider, as their prices are a bit higher than the average gym, as well.
One of the first things to consider, is whether or not yoga plays a role in your climbing. This gym would be fantastic for the combined climber and yoga enthusiast. Why you might ask? Well, let’s start with the fact that have their own yoga room. This room isn’t just a staff room turned yoga area. This room is a full yoga room. It is secluded to the side, filled with natural light provided from a sky roof, and painted with soothing colors. You could certainly get lost in your yoga experience and forget you’re in a climbing gym with this room. To top it off, they offer more than just regular yoga or climbing specific yoga. They offer all sorts of fun sounding classes, including one called yoga acrobatics that involves flipping a partner into somersaults using your feet.
Before or after your yoga practice, you can keep up your relaxation or sooth into it by resting near the fireplace, heating up in the sauna, or lounging around on one of their comfy seating options. This is the gym for the pampered climber.
However, if you are a serious climber that isn’t looking for a climbing/spa day, they do have pretty good route setting and a plethora of hard climbs. We were impressed with how many V10s and V11s the gym held. They have a lot of bouldering! The boulders that I tried flowed really well and felt super fun. I enjoyed the route setting a great deal! The routes were interesting and logical. I’ve been a bit disappointed by the route setting at other gyms lately, but the setting here was refreshing.
If you’re not into bouldering, but also left, unfortunately, solo for the night, they also have a good amount of auto belays. Not all gyms have these. They don’t have a ton, but hey any amount is nice. I haven’t seen a gym with more.
For the more daring types they have really high bouldering walls and really high lead caves. The height of one of the sport climbing areas left me feeling a bit dizzy.
They also offer classes to help improve your climbing all the way into the advanced (5.13) level if you want. The have trainers ready and waiting to help you out. The really do seem genuinely interested in helping climbers reach their best. Of course, I haven’t taken a class, so I can only say what I’ve heard and speak to the vibe I got from the staff.
If you live in the area and have the money, you could basically live here. They have lots of areas to work, relax, and hang out. You can even play video games. In fact, it sort of reminded me of what the google office would have if they all took up climbing. Ever seen the movie The Internship? Yeah, that’s what this gym reminds me of.
On first impression, I had no idea what to think. The place is beautifully designed with loads of art work and there is high emphasis on culture. It was incredible to walk around and take it all in. It seemed to be sort of frivolous though. I mean, climbing is about “dirtbag” style right? This gym seems pretty high end and far from the nature loving end of the spectrum. On the other hand, this gym certainly isn’t a joke. It really does have a nice training area equipped with a few hang boards, a nice systems wall, and rice buckets. Also, like I said, plenty of hard and moderate climbs. The climbing itself seems more than well suited to a very serious climber.
So a visit really leaves one wondering…to go the dirt bag style or to be a urban pampered pro? It is a nice facility and if I could, I might like to try it a few more times. It has nice showers, extra sinks for hand washing outside of the bathroom, saunas, and lots of room. It also seems very involved in community building between art work displayed, partnerships with the community, etc. However, it is personally far out of the reach of my paycheck and most of the stuff it offers, really offers me no benefit. I wouldn’t go there for long hours of work and play, but it is cool they offer that to the busy college student who also wants to get strong, or that person trying to balance office hours with climbing time.
The bottom line is that if you get a chance, it is quite an experience worth giving a shot. Whether it is for you or not really depends on the type of climber you are and what you need in a gym. If you like yoga, classes, and need a place to work, climb, and chill out, it might be worth it to you. I really did enjoy spending some time there and seeing all it had to offer. The staff was super friendly and they have a very nice welcome tour. This gym does have a lot to offer if you are in the market for all it has.