Nick's Picks: Central Rock Gym

Photo by Nicholas Abreu

Rock climbing is having a bit of a moment. At the start of the 2010s, with CrossFit at the forefront, alternative exercise, as opposed to conventional gyms, caught on in a big way. Along with CrossFit gyms, obstacle courses, and Tough Mudders, indoor rock climbing gyms became increasingly popular. As a full body workout that’s fun for beginners and veterans, the activity maintained momentum as gyms popped up throughout the country. Recently, the sport was thrust even further into mainstream culture with the success of the documentary Free Solo. This film, released in September 2018, chronicles professional climber Alex Honnold and his attempt to solo climb El Capitan’s 900-meter rock face at Yosemite National Park. Free Solo won an Oscar for Best Documentary and earned $20.8 million at the box office. The documentary stirred conversation about the sport and Honnold’s accomplishment.

All the talk surrounding climbing is not just hype—it has substance. Which explains how Central Rock Gym, which opened at 725 Averill Avenue on March 16, already has a staggering amount of members. The Northeastern chain, which has twelve other locations, provides a state-of-the-art, 21,000-square-foot building with seventy climbing stations to choose from. Central Rock Gym offers three types of climbing: bouldering, top-rope climbing, and lead climbing.

Bouldering, which is perfect for beginners, happens on a ten- to fifteen-foot wall with large crash mats below. There are no ropes or certifications required for this style of climbing.

Top-rope climbing, which is done on Central Rock Gym’s forty-five-foot walls, requires climbers to wear a harness attached to a rope, which is wrapped around an anchor at the bottom of the wall. On the ground, a partner handles the other end of the rope in a way that does not permit the climber to fall. This person is also responsible for lowering the climber.

Lead climbing is an advanced style of climbing that involves clipping one’s rope into gear on the wall, essentially placing protection while climbing. To lead climb, visitors must be certified by a staff member.

The facility also has a yoga studio and traditional fitness room with free weights, kettlebells, spin bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills. Access to all of these amenities are available with a monthly membership. Day passes are also available.

To celebrate its first full month of operation, Central Rock Gym will hold a grand opening party on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Outdoor games, live music, food, games, and climbing will be available.

Visit for hours, membership information, and class schedules.

Follow Nick’s Picks on Twitter at @NickAbreu585.

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