The Effects of a New Climbing Gym

by Tom Markiewicz on September 2, 2009

By now many of you have heard about the new climbing gym that opened in Boulder called Movement. What makes this interesting is Boulder, a city of about 100,000, now has four climbing gyms (Boulder Rock Club (BRC), The Spot, CATS, and Movement).

While the concentration of climbers in Boulder is obviously quite high, I’ve wondered on the sustainability of all the gyms.

I just read an interesting post from the BRC (which is located literally one block away from Movement) in which they describe their new pricing changes. The summary: they’ve reduced all their prices.

When Movement opened, the lowest monthly rate for the BRC was $60 while Movement was $62. Two dollars extra a month for a shiny new gym and all their extras (full fitness center, yoga classes) was an easy decision for me to check it out for a few months. Now, the BRC’s lowest monthly rate is $55, about 8% less. But comparing apples to apples, that rate is for a 12 month commitment. The comparable rate to Movement’s $62 is now $58. While officially lower, for most people that’s a wash. And while this was more expensive than The Spot, the added fitness center justifies the price in my opinion.

These moves were obviously made to counter the new gym’s presence. The question for the BRC is will it be enough? I’ve heard a few rumors (likely just pure speculation) that Movement’s goal is to put the BRC out of business and then raise their rates. Personally, I find this hard to believe as it wouldn’t necessarily be the best business idea.

My membership to The Spot is ending soon and I’ve decided to switch over to Movement for now mainly because I need to be climbing more routes with my finger injury. I felt quite limited at my rehab efforts in a bouldering-only gym (yes, I know, nice problem to have). But if Movement eventually raises their rates too high, I would quickly go back to The Spot no questions asked.

Competition in all industries in good – it promotes innovation, better service, and a competitive price structure. For Boulder climbers, let’s hope all the gyms can continue to coexist and thrive.

So far, I’ve enjoyed climbing at Movement, but I’ve been limited in my climbing due to the finger injury rehabbing. Peter Beal has a good review from the perspective of someone who can hit the hard stuff there.

If you’ve been to the new gym, what were your thoughts?

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