No Ropes, Add Sauna: The Latest Trend In Climbing Gyms

More than 20,000 square feet of climbing, dedicated yoga and fitness studios, a sauna, and lounge: The Minneapolis Bouldering Project sounds like a dream. And inside, you won’t find a single rope.

Minneapolis Bouldering Project
All photos from Austin Bouldering Project, a similar gym to the Minneapolis location

Rock climbing is booming in popularity. Indoor climbing gyms turn into beehives when the workday ends and outdoor crags similarly buzz with activity on nice bluebird days. Climbing even gained a spot in the Olympics for 2020.

Increasingly, however, indoor climbing gyms choose to go ropeless. 

Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, and New York City are just a few cities with gyms dedicated to ropeless climbing. The Minneapolis Bouldering Project, opening fall 2017, adds to this trend.

With the latest entry into the ropeless climbing industry, you can weight-train, practice yoga, and crush your project all in one visit.

Minneapolis Bouldering Project
All photos from Austin Bouldering Project, a similar gym to the Minneapolis location

Bouldering Gym, A Trend

Why opt to go ropeless when making an indoor climbing gym? For starters, it’s accessible. We spoke with Will Hanson, the Development Manager for of the Minneapolis location.

“You can walk in, fill out a waiver, get a brief intro, and start climbing,” Hanson said. “Bouldering removes a barrier to entry for folks who are new to the sport and might be otherwise too intimidated to try it out.”

Bouldering is also more social. With efficient roped climbing, you’ll find the only chance to chat is walking to the next route. Once your partner ascends, the conversation has to end. Boulderers are all on the same plane, and rest communally between climbs, instead of resting during a belay turn.

Minneapolis Bouldering Project: Opening Soon

With the third installation in the Bouldering Project gym (first Seattle in 2011, then Austin in 2015), the designers add to the bustling outdoors and fitness minded vibe of Minneapolis.

The gym differs from traditional indoor climbing venues thanks to luxe amenities more aligned with fitness centers. The Minneapolis Bouldering Gym has crossfit-style free weights, a yoga studio, sauna, and more.

It also aims to cater towards working people. Bring your laptop and plug away between climbs in the lounge. For grub, it’s mainly grab and go foods: coffee, cold brew, protein bars, and jerky

Minneapolis Bouldering Project
All photos from Austin Bouldering Project, a similar gym to the Minneapolis location

The company designs and constructs its own climbing walls. Instead of traditional panels found in climbing gyms across the nation, Minneapolis Bouldering Project’s walls will warp, curve, and feature entirely seamless construction.

Minneapolis Bouldering Project: Fast Facts

  • Climbing area: 20,000 square feet
  • Dedicated youth and advanced youth climbing areas
  • Crossfit style, free weight fitness studio with classes
  • Yoga studio with classes
  • Lounge
  • Sauna
  • Estimated price: $15-18/day pass, $68/month for membership

The Minneapolis location expands on other Bouldering Project locations. Expect bigger saunas, a larger space for youth climbing, and more dedicated climbing training spaces (systems boards, hang boards, campus boards, etc).

The opening date is not concrete, but the company expects to open its doors late summer/fall 2017. Just in time for Pryes brewing opening right next door.

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Midwest born, Nate Mitka started with Gearjunkie after a short stint as “intern”. An advocate of all outdoor activities he’s developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.

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