Yesterday evening Caolan and I went to Movement, the new gym in Boulder, with Sophia in tow. This was the second time for Caolan, the first for me, so I thought I would share my impressions of the place.
First of all the excellence of the building and the interior space and layout is immediately evident. Things are clean and bright and open, even with a decent crowd in the place. But obviously that isn't why one visits a gym, so on to the nitty-gritty.
I only climbed on the steepest wall on the south end of the building, doing a few routes from mid-10 to 12a so my remarks are confined to that sector. The terrain is good but immediately I noticed a certain erratic quality to the arrangement of the bolts, meaning, for example, a fairly substantial mandatory runout on a "12a" that fortunately was only 11b. A flash attempt on a 13a was shut down by a sketchy, out-of-place clip. A survey of the wall showed a number of these gaps where clips would not be available. Wall designers,WTF? Can't this problem be solved? The BRC has a number of these so the sense of deja-vu was pretty strong here. We also witnessed a bad-looking fall induced apparently by a spinning hold, a phenomenon warned against with notices on the wall. Something about T-nuts settling into the new wall? The climber literally fell directly on his belayer. Very scary to see.
So the steep terrain is OK, unfortunately there is too little of it. The steep wall is maybe 25% of the total, meaning I was waiting in line with virtually the same cast of characters I would be meeting in Rifle or at the BRC. The rest of the gym is very slabby and clearly aimed at the intermediate-level climber. The cluster below the steep wall was really unproductive time-wise and I am past the point where I feel like jockeying for a route in a gym. If I were an upper-level climber looking for training options, I would have to go during the day or go somewhere else.
The bouldering is simply meager, Two good walls but most of it is simply not steep enough. I flashed a good "V8" that was probably V5 and let it go at that.
Not much to say here. It's gym-climbing. The easier climbs I did on the steep wall were over-graded jug-hauls for the most part which were perfect for warming up. Since I couldn't get on anything harder very easily, my review is incomplete. The first third of the 13a I tried seemed good.
This is entirely subjective obviously but for some reason the climbing part seemed to me to be understated too much and the fitness part too prominent. It didn't feel like a climbing gym in the sense that I am used to. Maybe that is the intent, maybe it will come with time. Can't tell.
Yes! Sophia had a great time and this is by far the most innovative and important aspect to the gym for our family. Affordable and a great space for the kids. I was definitely impressed. Unfortunately they close at 7 making for a tight schedule for families after work.
Movement is trying hard to be all things at once and doesn't do a bad job of it. Is it the ultimate climbing gym? Not really, for the reasons I mentioned above. Is it worth switching memberships? Many of my friends who were once BRC regulars seem to think so but I am not convinced of the superiority of the new space over the established places in town. For my money, the best wall in town is my home wall and maybe CATS so I am probably not the best source for opinion in this matter.
In sum, Movement is worth a visit though to try out the facility and get a feel for the place. I would be interested in hearing other responses from readers about their experiences.