Nothing beats that feeling you get when you conquer a challenging route. Rock climbing requires strength, stamina, and determination, but the rewards are emotional fulfillment and awesome muscle definition. Rock climbing has been a popular sport for three decades now and it all started right here in North America. If you’re new to this sport and looking for the best gym to have your very first lesson, take a look at some of the best rock climbing gyms in your area.
If you are looking to make your first climbing experience memorable, then head on over to Joe Rockhead’s Indoor Rock Climbing gym. This place looks like no other gym in the city, with lots of natural light and space. It’s one of the original Toronto rock climbing gyms and it’s located in lovely Liberty Village. Here you’ll have a beautiful experience among the colorful climbing walls and awesome boulders. Beginner lessons last three hours and you’ll learn everything you need to know to start your climbing career.
If you struggle with a busy work schedule, you’ll be happy to hear that Basecamp Climbing opens at 6am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can enjoy your morning climb before work. Basecamp is the newest climbing venue in the city, located in the once super seedy Metro Theatre. Now it’s an indoor oasis for climbers, completely isolated from the crowded Bloor Street buzz. Their Intro to Climbing class will teach you proper technique, how to belay, how to tie knots, and above all how to climb. This is one of the more expensive options in the city, with the beginner class coming in at $45 per person, but you do get more bang for your buck: as an add-on you can get a two-week climbing pass for a discounted price. Top-rope only here, there’s no bouldering area–yet.
Leslieville | Ajax
The Rock Oasis climbing gyms are a popular choice for beginners since they offer robust intro to climbing classes for under $40. Both the Leslieville and Ajax locations have auto belay systems as well, making them perfect for experienced solo climbers as you don’t need to climb with a partner. The Toronto gym has some very creative top-rope routes which change frequently so you can keep come back for more. The prices here are competitive with a day pass ringing in at $18 in Toronto and $13 in Ajax. Though note, the Ajax gym does get pretty crowded on weekends, so plan accordingly.
Toronto Climbing Academy has a great sense of community and super friendly staff. They also have a huge bouldering area, top-rope routes that are constantly changing, and specially designed 3D artificial walls. This climbing gym is very welcoming to beginners, so it’s a good starting point for anyone who wants to give climbing a try, regardless of their fitness level. This is the place to experience different routes, meet other climbers, and become a pro.
Experienced climbers know that there is more to climbing than physical strength. You need to think about your route and stay focused while you climb. This is exactly how they roll at True North Climbing Inc. This gym has some of the most interesting climbing walls, free lead lessons, and over 150 boulder problems. True North also has regular yoga classes, which can do wonders for your climb-sore limbs, and they offer a climbing techniques class, making them a great home for regular climbers.
Etobicoke | the Junction
Boulderz Climbing Centre has two locations in Toronto, with one location in the Junction and another, newer spot in Etobicoke. Beginners love the Junction location for its shorter climbing walls, making it a great place to begin building your endurance. Not to mention an intro to climbing lesson here is only $35. Regulars keep coming back, too, for the awesome boulders and the workout space with free weights, hold bars, and system boards. The Etobicoke gym is much bigger than the Junction location and it’s also a bit more challenging. And they have a huge stand alone boulder here that you can climb it from every possible angle.
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