The indoor climbing scene in the Klang Valley is really starting to pick up. The latest spot in town is brand spanking new, perched on the 9th floor of the PJX-HM Tower in Petaling Jaya - right next to Amcorp Mall and just across the road from the Taman Jaya LRT station. Xero Gravity opened its doors in mid April 2015, offering a variety of fitness options, and not all are solely focused on climbing.
To get to the gym, simply drive up to the 7th or 8th floor of the PJX-HM Shah Tower, and take the lift up to the 9th floor. You will have to go down to the lobby to pay for your parking ticket before you leave.
The entry fee here is a bit steep compared to other climbing gyms around town, but I think it takes into account the additional features here, like the swimming pool. Adults are charged RM35 while students pay RM25 for a day entry. There are also 10 day passes and membership options available.
Founder and CEO Mahdi Parsafarid is always present on the ground, a friendly face with great advice for any climber. Check out his Facebook page for videos of him in action. Private coaching is also available, with a maximum of three people to a group. I am seriously considering taking this up soon! And unlike other gyms, the coaching fee is inclusive of the gym entry for the day, so you won't have to pay extra.
There is over 12,000 square feet of climbing surface in Xero Gravity, in smooth, polished wood. It's different from the surface you will find in other gyms like Camp 5, making it tougher finding friction to smear across the wall. It really makes you focus on improving how you move up the routes.
One of the coolest things here is the series of floating 'rocks' suspended from the ceiling. Held aloft by sturdy wires, the multicoloured cubes sway gently with your body weight as you clamber from jug to jug. The fun part is trying to move from cube to cube. Just writing this is making me itch to go back there and grab onto the holds.
But if you want something more solid, there are a host of other things in this area of the gym as well. The toprope walls are still rather sparse, but there are more things coming up in future. Then there are more basic equipment like monkey bars - for the young and the young at heart.
Walk past the monkey bars and you will find more tools to aid with your climbing training. This side has a finger board, peg board and system wall. Everything looks bright and cheerful, and while I'm here, I always feel like I'm in a large scale playground. But don't be fooled, these boards are tough! It will be many more visits before I master the peg board.
Meanwhile, you can also try your hand at the Moon Board. Interesting fact: Moon Boards all across the world are arranged in the exact same position - every angle of every hold has been carefully calculated and measured in a standard pattern. Climbers worldwide can share their training techniques, in coordination with the pieces on the Moon Board.
Don't just limit yourself to the inside of the gym though. There are a bunch of things to do outdoors as well. A futsal court can be found just outside, as well as a slackline stretched out within the dome pictured above. You can even go jogging around the exterior part of the complex, while enjoying the 360 degree view of the Federal Highway and Petaling Jaya.
There is more to come too. Mahdi mentioned that there will be an outdoor lead climbing wall soon, along with more toproping options.
On the other side of the 9th floor, just around the cafe's outdoor dining area you will find a swimming pool, changing rooms (with showers) and the pool's defining feature: A reverse bridge curving over one end, with fat, juggy holds bolted into place in the arch. I wouldn't quite call it deep water soloing (the pool is around 1.2 metres deep), but it makes for an awesome day in the water.
After so long climbing with my trusty rubber shoes on, it felt really different to climb barefoot, and in my swimsuit no less.
Check out the video above that Nick put together following our second trip to the gym. We usually climb just the two of us, but for last week I brought my brother and his friend as well. We were there on a Saturday afternoon, and had the whole gym to ourselves. We had a great time.
After a fulfilling morning stretching across the walls and splashing about in the pool, we made use of their shower facilities. The locker room is bright and spacious, but remember to bring your own soap and shampoo. Now that we were all tuckered out, we adjourned to the Xero Gravity Cafe.
The menu is not very extensive, but it has a little bit of everything. There are rice as well as pasta options, and I think all that's missing is a burger set.
We had the mac and cheese twice over the two times we visited. This is a real carb heavy meal - cheesy, crispy macaroni served with vinegar fries. The fries are delicious, and I liked the texture of the pasta. However, the second time we ordered this, the macaroni was a bit too salty.
The chicken chop chop chop was also something that we ordered twice, and I have to admit that the second time around was disappointing. For our first visit, the chicken was juicy and tender, with a creamy serving of mashed potatoes. The second time around, the chicken was too dry, and I'm not fond of the choice of vegetables.
My brother and his friend had the ayam penyet, or translated literally as 'smashed chicken'. As an ardent lover of ayam penyet dishes, my brother's approval is a certified one. His only comment was that he was hoping it would be spicier. The chicken was juicy, and the accompanying tempeh and eggplant were very tasty.
This has truly become one of my new favourite places to climb. The staff are friendly and welcoming, and there is a lot to do here. I am looking forward to all the future improvements as well. Whether you're new to climbing or an experienced climber, Xero Gravity has something for everybody.