Rock wall / bouldering wall addition?
Anyone have any experience adding a bouldering wall or rock climbing area to a gym that was primarily fitness oriented? (i.e. not a climbing gym, but a regular gym with a smaller climbing area.) I am looking for tips/resources on creating profitability, rough insurance costs, etc for such an additional. Did it work for you?
We've had both a climbing wall and bouldering wall for the past 15years. At one point we had a part time staff to man the wall for members. Over those 15years we had prospective member after member get excited about the wall, but very few of them use it, and even fewer be consistent climbers. We eventually cut the staffing of the wall. In the last 2 years the wall has begun to weather poorly and is extremely expensive to repair. We will not be rebuilding it.
Our bouldering wall is still very open, and still very unused.
Both walls look great. But neither provide revenue and are maintenance nitemares.
We are considering a new location for our gym and at that point might invest in a revolving mechanical wall in addition to hand holds in our functional training room.
I train at a 3,000sq ft studio. We have a tread wall, and use it daily. It has preset programs, from beginner to highly advanced, as well as manual mode. In manual mode, we can set it up super easy, for newbies, and we can set it up for moderate to advanced challenges and intervals. It moves forward 15 degrees, back 45 degrees, and moves 0 to 35 feet per minute. We seriously love it!! Great for improved coordination and motor skills, and of course, BACK STRENGTH. :)
We also have a 30ft by 15ft traverse wall. Great for kids, fun bouldering challenges, and just to mix things up. Below the wall, we have 6 inch mats lining the length of the wall. We use the mats more for core work and such, but its a great bonus to not needing staff to man the wall. At most, you're up 5 ft...at most. Most folks are up 3 ft. You're traveling east to west on this wall, so hight is not relevant.
Hope this helped.
I am a fitness gym owner with approximately 4,000 sq foot facility and at one point I did consider this type of addition. I ultimately decided not to go through with it because there were insurance issues with continuing coverage that I carried.
Although I decided not put this addition in myself, that should not discourage you. At that point in my business ownership, I simply did not have the additional energy to do everything that needed to be done.
Once you do get quotes from your insurance company and written assurance that they will continue coverage and get all appropriate liability waivers written from an attorney in your area, it would still be a good idea to speak to other fitness gym owners in your area that have followed through with this addition.
Depending on how much money you decide to spend on your climbing wall, you may want to charge an added membership cost, per-use fee, or simply include it with gym membership. You will have to make that decision based on the cost of the wall and the added cost of insurance.
I did write an article that goes into more depth about my own perspective of adding a climbing wall to your fitness facility: http://blog.gyminsight.com/2013/02/should-you-add-a-climbing-wall-to-you...
Wish you the best with your ultimate decision.
Best in Health,
I train at a gym that has a rock wall. I believe it was once used a lot but since I have been training there I have not seen one person use it. I don't think it would be much of an appeal for the average person who just wants access to a nice gym. Maybe if you promoted it hard and it seems like something your current members would enjoy using.
Hope this helps,