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Rock Climbing

Home > New York > Sport
Published December 15th 2009
No mountains, no problems.

While the highest peaks in New York City belong to its skyscrapers, ardent rock-climbers, or those just looking for a new hobby, can find an outlet.

Several facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn come equipped with climbing walls, including Chelsea Piers on the West Side. Its Sports Center boasts the largest climbing wall, at 46 feet high. There is also 10-foot bouldering wall for climbing without a rope.

Combined, the space offers over 10,000 square feet of sculpted, three-dimensional imprint climbing surface with numerous, and continually changing climbing routes that will challenge novice and expert climbers alike. In addition, a over-hung 55-foot competition roof provides experienced climbers with the ultimate challenge.

Private and group lessons are available, as well as other workshops. No membership to the health club is required to use the wall, though certification is, and can be acquired after taking a private session ($120). Following that, it costs $50 to use the facility for a day.

Over at Chelsea Piers' indoor gym, Field House, you can get in on the action without a membership. While designed for children and teens, its 23-foot high artificial rock wall provides 14 different climbing routes for beginners to those with advanced skills.

Co-ed recreational climbing is available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for two hours (reservations are recommended, and schedule is subject to change). It's $22 for a single class, or $160 for a 10-class card. Private classes are also available.

Over at the Manhattan Plaza Health Club, their 5,000 square-food climbing surface boasts over 60 routes, for novice to expert climbers, two 20-foot squeeze chimneys, and a 160-foot bouldering route.

As a member ($70 a month), you have unlimited access to the gym (plus shoe and harness rental fees). Those looking to try it for a day can get a day pass for $20 (plus fees). Other packages are available as well.

In Brooklyn, Aviator Sports and Recreation has a 35-foot climbing wall where you can host a party, train or try it for fun. Prices range from $10 for two climbs to $90 for private lessons.

Also in Brooklyn, Powerplay is primarily geared towards fitness opportunities for children, but does have an indoor rock climbing wall perfect for adults. Sessions are $20 and includes harness and shoe rental.

If you're also shopping for a gym membership, check out The Sports Club/LA, which has luxury gyms on the Upper East Side, near Rockefeller Center, and on the Upper West Side equipped with climbing walls. Gym memberships are required for climbing access, so for those looking to also get on the elliptical or lift weights, that may be the best way to go. It may also be the most cost-efficient, as for less than $200 a month, you have access to everything in the gym, including the climbing wall, as much as you want.

If rock climbing is more than a curiosity but a passion, Brooklyn Boulders may be the place for you. A facility specifically dedicated to rock climbing, the space offers over 11,000 square feet of climbing and a 40-foot wall, with boulders that top out at over 17 feet. No power aerobics or indoor tracks - just strictly rock climbing.

To climb, it's $20 a day, $180 for a 10-pack, or, for the serious climber, $695 for the year. More monthly packages are also available.

For more of a social experience, there's the rock climbing organizations CRUX, an LGBT sports league formed in 2008 to energize New York's rock-climbing community, from beginners to seasoned climbers.

Twice a month the league hosts climbing days, either indoors in Manhattan or Brooklyn or outdoors in Westchester, for $2 each event, as well holds various social events.

For those looking for more outdoor excursions, you don't have to leave the city. Central Park has been engaging climbers for years at several locations, including the popular, and difficult, Rat Rock and Cat Rock. After training on an indoor wall, think of it as graduating to the major leagues.
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Why? In the city that has everything, including rock climbing, you might as well take advantage
When: Varies
Where: Chelsea Piers - Pier 60, at 23rd St.; Manhattan Plaza Health Club, 482 W 43rd St.; Aviator Sports and Recreation - Floyd Bennett Field, Hangar 5, Brooklyn; Brooklyn Boulders, 575 Degraw St., Brooklyn; Powerplay, 432 Third Ave., Central Park - varies
Cost: Varies
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