With something for every type of climber, the Bend Rock Gym offers up a great facility for the hardcore boulderer, those looking to sharpen lead climbing skills, or the adventurous family looking for new activities.
Given the large population of outdoor junkies in central Oregon and the proximity of world class climbing at Smith Rock, it makes sense that Bend, OR would have a nice local climbing gym. Hell, even places where you’d least expect to find climbing gyms, like as Akron, Ohio or Wichita, Kansas, have facilities where you can rope up. Ranging from bouldering-only gyms to state of the art lead climbing/yoga/workout facilities, due to the growth of the sport, climbing gyms are popping up all over the country near populated areas. Over the last five years, there have been on average 30 new climbing gyms opening each year in the United States.
As climbing has gained in popularity and the sport has become more accessible, the competitive climbing scene has grown along with it, spawning sport-specific indoor training regimens. What started with hangboards, then led to campus boards, and now the popular MoonBoard. It’s safe to say that climbing is no longer a niche sport where getting strong means spending day-after-day summitting peaks. Like other sports, climbing has become a specialized training-intensive sport that sees athletes spending just as much time inside (if not more) than out.
Whatever your need, the Bend Rock Gym will likely help you get your fix of rock climbing – albeit pulling on plastic.
The Bend Rock Gym (BRG) is great, plain and simple. In terms of climbing amenities it’s hard to ask for much more. When it comes to reviewing the gym, it’s also hard not to compare to other gyms we’ve had the chance to climb at, so here it is.
Walking into the gym you’ll immediately notice some bouldering and rope climbing, but walk around a bit more and you’ll see the gym is bigger than it seems. It has climbing options for the little ones strapping on climbing shoes for the first time all the way up to lead climbers looking for steep walls to test their strength.
The north end of the gym hosts all the rope climbing with a nice mix of lead climbing and top ropes. There are even a few cracks to climb if that’s your thing. Most of the climbs are mixed, allowing for leading or top-roping, but there are also dedicated sections to the gym that can only be top-roped or led. This opens up options for all abilities while also keeping some lead climbs available to only those wanting to tie into the sharp end of the rope.
The original gym was primarily a bouldering gym which is now considered the south gym. The south gym has all sorts of different walls that allow for steep cave problems as well as ticky-tack face climbing problems. The main center boulder in the gym even has a few top-outs from time to time. The north gym also has a bouldering section to help spread crowds and take advantage of the space.
Don’t have a partner but also don’t want to boulder? BRG sports around 12 auto-belays at any given time placed around the gym. A back region of north gym and part of the south gym have the largest concentration and are out of the way of other climbing. This makes a great place for kids to safely get on the wall and not have to worry about getting in the way of other climbers.
Yes, the Bend Rock Gym has a MoonBoard, campus boards, a systems board, multiple hangboards, and all the fixings to go along with it. It’s a sufferfest waiting for you.
We’ve climbed at gyms where setting new routes doesn’t seem to be a priority. Luckily BRG doesn’t make you wait months or even weeks for new sets. The staff is good as rotating out sections of the bouldering and ropes section each week to keep portions of the gym fresh at all times. The setting talent is A+ – but don’t take it from some moderate-climbing weekend warrior like me:
A little instruction from a certified professional never hurts. Learn the basics about lead climbing, belaying, or building anchors in a safe environment.
An added perk for BRG members is access to free yoga classes. The gym has classes 5-days a week, with multiple options of classes at different times of the day to fit your schedule.
Birthday parties, camps, classes, you name it. BRG has a host of activities for kids and does a good job of keeping kids entertained without having to worry about getting in the way of others.
It seems Bend Rock Gym is hosting a local or regional climbing comp every other month. Even if you don’t compete, it’s fun to go watch, especially if the pros are in town.
If your hurting for a new pair of shoes, some chalk, snacks, or some BRG swag – they have it.
Sure, you didn’t get a membership at the climbing gym to run on a treadmill or just lift weights. That said, the workout area isn’t very expansive and is broken up into a few different areas. An upstairs workout room has a few treadmills, a rowing machine, some weight machines, and some free weights. The south gym sports a squat rack and a few more free weights. All in all, nice to have but not a very big space with limited options.
I know, I know…who cares? I guess I’ve been spoiled by the Planet Granite bathroom in Portland, OR where you don’t feel like you’re in the bathroom of a climbing gym. That said, if my dues are going to upgrading/maintaining climbing facilities instead of nice bathrooms, I can’t complain.
So by this point I think you get it. If you like to climb or want to see if climbing is for you, then go to the Bend Rock Gym – it’s great. If you live in Bend and like to climb, you don’t have any other options open to the public anyway, which is great, because it’s one fine gym.
1182 SE Centennial Ct
Bend, OR 97702