Boulders Climbing Gym

★★★☆☆
  • 3964 Commercial Ave

    Madison, WI 53714

    Map & Directions
  • 608-244-8100

Sports & Recreation

Sports & Recreation
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Pros:
?Community; at Boulders all of the regular customers are on a first name bases with the staff, and new customers are welcomed and encouraged to join the community. You will never have trouble finding a belay partner or some one to project a boulder problem with, and climbers of all levels are supported and encouraged.

?Setting; the setting at boulders is done on a continual basis and is a good balance representing climbs for beginner to very advanced climber. There are always climbs to push your strength, technique and creativity.

At Boulders; routes and boulder problems plaster the walls, where most gyms have 1-2 climbs per wall Boulders has 5-6.

?Holds; Boulders makes their own holds out of clay, these holds are amazing! Their texture is great and very durable, where a plastic hold wears down and become more like the surface of a bowling ball then anything you would find in nature, clay holds retain their friction and texture indefinitely.

Aside from the texture; the original clay holds at Boulders come in a huge verity of shapes and sizes and effectively simulate many different types of rock. The skill and craftsmanship that goes into the holds makes them textural art for the hands. Plastic holds come in many ugly colors.

?Learning: Boulders has many classes, teams and groups to help climbers of any level or age move from true beginners to very advanced climbers.

Cons:
?Size; In a perfect world Boulders would have the floor space of a city block and the height of a sky scraper, this is not a perfect world so boulders contents it??s self by being a small space filled with great people and setting.

?Spotting; the people of Boulders suck at spotting, I don??t really know why.

Boulders is a real gem tucked into the east side of Madison, don??t pass up chance to come and climb.

5
★★★★★

Pros:
?Community; at Boulders all of the regular customers are on a first name bases with the staff, and new customers are welcomed and encouraged to join the community. You will never have trouble finding a belay partner or some one to project a boulder problem with, and climbers of all levels are supported and encouraged.

?Setting; the setting at boulders is done on a continual basis and is a good balance representing climbs for beginner to very advanced climber. There are always climbs to push your strength, technique and creativity.

At Boulders; routes and boulder problems plaster the walls, where most gyms have 1-2 climbs per wall Boulders has 5-6.

?Holds; Boulders makes their own holds out of clay, these holds are amazing! Their texture is great and very durable, where a plastic hold wears down and become more like the surface of a bowling ball then anything you would find in nature, clay holds retain their friction and texture indefinitely.

Aside from the texture; the original clay holds at Boulders come in a huge verity of shapes and sizes and effectively simulate many different types of rock. The skill and craftsmanship that goes into the holds makes them textural art for the hands. Plastic holds come in many ugly colors.

?Learning: Boulders has many classes, teams and groups to help climbers of any level or age move from true beginners to very advanced climbers.

Cons:
?Size; In a perfect world Boulders would have the floor space of a city block and the height of a sky scraper, this is not a perfect world so boulders contents it??s self by being a small space filled with great people and setting.

?Spotting; the people of Boulders suck at spotting, I don??t really know why.

Boulders is a real gem tucked into the east side of Madison, don??t pass up chance to come and climb.

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Business Response:

Thanks! Thank you for the comments. My response to "Cons" would be that, yep, I can't make us taller, I wish I could too! In regards to spotting, we have new cushioned floors installed in the summer of 2009 and these are made to deal with all impacts. Spotting is more necessary for directing people onto pads in an outdoor setting but when your whole floor is a pad it's not really needed or recommended. In fact I've seen a climbers fall manipulated in a way by a spotter that they hadn't expected which made the fall more awkward than if they had simply taken the fall without a spotter. That being said if you would like a spot I'm confident our members would be more than happy to help.
.

Have climbed other places, and really enjoy climbing. While on a Holiday in Wisconsin we decided to locate a local climbing gym. When we arrived we discovered that we had to be certified by "Boulders" to climb other than beginner routes. My son has been a member of a climbing camp for a while and is an experienced climber. Once he became bored with the beginner routes. We decided to "test" to be able to allow my son to climb behind the red line. After taking the test we were told that we did not pass because my son could not belay well enough. I think it was silly to have him test to be able to belay when it was clear that there was no plan that he would be belaying for me. Obviously he weighs about 100 pounds and I'm closer to 200lbs. He can climb well and was bored with the beginner routes. I got the impression that they wanted (visitors) to stay behind the red line they had on the floor.

1
★☆☆☆☆

Have climbed other places, and really enjoy climbing. While on a Holiday in Wisconsin we decided to locate a local climbing gym. When we arrived we discovered that we had to be certified by "Boulders" to climb other than beginner routes. My son has been a member of a climbing camp for a while and is an experienced climber. Once he became bored with the beginner routes. We decided to "test" to be able to allow my son to climb behind the red line. After taking the test we were told that we did not pass because my son could not belay well enough. I think it was silly to have him test to be able to belay when it was clear that there was no plan that he would be belaying for me. Obviously he weighs about 100 pounds and I'm closer to 200lbs. He can climb well and was bored with the beginner routes. I got the impression that they wanted (visitors) to stay behind the red line they had on the floor.

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0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Business Response:

We can work something out. Yes, we require a "belay" test in order to use a majority of our ropes (Although there are a dozen different ropes walk-ins may use). While there are many experienced and competent climbers out there we can't asses that they can hold the ropes safely without this test. We require that both climbers take our belay test regardless of weather or not they will be climbing because of insurance reasons. A competent climber should know how to tie a figure-8 safety knot AND use a belay device. We require non-belay certified customers to stay on the other side of the red line because crossing over it brings them into our "lead" climbing and bouldering area where there is much higher potential for collisions. That being said we don't want anyone to become bored :) There are certain compromises we are willing make. Next time please ask for the manager on duty and hopefully we can work something out to your satisfaction.
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What Boulders lacks in size they make up for in routesetting. Everything is taped neatly, the routes are constantly changing to provide new things to climb, there is care to prevent reachy routes (harder for short climbers), and especially the holds are awesome!
They've handmade almost all of the holds out of clay which makes them much more realistic and unique. I've never seen these type of holds at any other gym.
It can get hot in the summer but rarely has it been too bad to climb.
The gym tops out at ~30ft but there's an overhanging cathedral where there are many longer lead climbs.
Someone below mentioned that there isn't any outdoor climbing around Madison. This is totally UNTRUE! Within one hour is Devils Lake State Park with a lifetime of climbing and Governor Dodge State Park with another half a lifetime. Check out www.mountainproject.com for a list of everything.
There is a great scene of friendly climbers there as well that are more than happy to show new people places to climb.

4
★★★★☆

What Boulders lacks in size they make up for in routesetting. Everything is taped neatly, the routes are constantly changing to provide new things to climb, there is care to prevent reachy routes (harder for short climbers), and especially the holds are awesome!
They've handmade almost all of the holds out of clay which makes them much more realistic and unique. I've never seen these type of holds at any other gym.
It can get hot in the summer but rarely has it been too bad to climb.
The gym tops out at ~30ft but there's an overhanging cathedral where there are many longer lead climbs.
Someone below mentioned that there isn't any outdoor climbing around Madison. This is totally UNTRUE! Within one hour is Devils Lake State Park with a lifetime of climbing and Governor Dodge State Park with another half a lifetime. Check out www.mountainproject.com for a list of everything.
There is a great scene of friendly climbers there as well that are more than happy to show new people places to climb.

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1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Business Response:

Right on. Thanks Mike. Mountain Project is indeed an excellent source for outdoor climbing.
.

When I moved to Madison from Salt Lake City in 2007, I was thrilled to find a decent climbing gym here in Madison, and even more excited about the Women's Climbers (the best thing about Boulders, BTW). So, I joined up, climbed like mad for about a year, and then slowly started getting a tad disenchanted with the vibe, the routes and the lack of spots outside to use my (now finely honed) climbing skills.

PROS:
-MWC rocks
-reasonably good bouldering....much better than routes
-supportive environment for females

CONS:
-vibe can get obnoxious in the winter after work/school with lots of shirtless climbing and showing off (yes, this occurs at all gyms, but it is still annoying).
-VERY short gym, so actual routes are a bit lacking, and general quality of route setting is so-so
-NO A.C. ... I am glad they're saving money, but I just had to stop climbing there in the summer. Can't hold on very well while sweating buckets. ick.
-it's not boulders fault, but I guess I really don't see the point of perfecting my skills indoors if there's really not that many good spots to go climb outside when the weather's nice!

Bottom line: Madison is best left to bikers. Buy a road bike and pick up climbing when you move out West.

2
★★☆☆☆

When I moved to Madison from Salt Lake City in 2007, I was thrilled to find a decent climbing gym here in Madison, and even more excited about the Women's Climbers (the best thing about Boulders, BTW). So, I joined up, climbed like mad for about a year, and then slowly started getting a tad disenchanted with the vibe, the routes and the lack of spots outside to use my (now finely honed) climbing skills.

PROS:
-MWC rocks
-reasonably good bouldering....much better than routes
-supportive environment for females

CONS:
-vibe can get obnoxious in the winter after work/school with lots of shirtless climbing and showing off (yes, this occurs at all gyms, but it is still annoying).
-VERY short gym, so actual routes are a bit lacking, and general quality of route setting is so-so
-NO A.C. ... I am glad they're saving money, but I just had to stop climbing there in the summer. Can't hold on very well while sweating buckets. ick.
-it's not boulders fault, but I guess I really don't see the point of perfecting my skills indoors if there's really not that many good spots to go climb outside when the weather's nice!

Bottom line: Madison is best left to bikers. Buy a road bike and pick up climbing when you move out West.

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0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Business Response:

Madison is no SLC! Thanks for the "PROS". I agree, some people can be obnoxious but overall I believe we are a very friendly climbing community. The gym is about 30ft tall but we also have routes up to 60ft long that travel up our "cathedral" in the middle of the gym. We are currently looking into adding A/C to the gym. We believe it only gets bad for a few days or so in the summer without it but this has been a constant request. Due to extreme cost it may take a while but it's on th list. See www.mountainproject.com for a long list of outdoor Wisconsin rock climbing.
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My son and his friends had a great time at Boulder's for his birthday party. The staff was extremely helpful and everyone had a blast climbing (even the adults!). We had a nice size party room and they supplied the pizza, drinks, table settings, etc. We only had to supply a cake. I highly recommend this for a boy's birthday party.

4
★★★★☆

My son and his friends had a great time at Boulder's for his birthday party. The staff was extremely helpful and everyone had a blast climbing (even the adults!). We had a nice size party room and they supplied the pizza, drinks, table settings, etc. We only had to supply a cake. I highly recommend this for a boy's birthday party.

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Business Response:

Thanks! Corrections... Thanks, we are glad you had a good time. Correction: We do not supply pizza or drinks with the party but we do offer an excellent discount with local Glass Nickel Pizza. You can just order when you arrive and the pizza will come in under an hour. Paper plates, napkins, utensils, and cups are included.
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Boulders is a relatively small climbing gym. There's toproping and bouldering, but the climbing area is smaller than the other gyms I've been to. Still, as far as I know, there's not too much else near the UW-Madison campus. So if that's where you go to school, it's probably where you'll be climbing too.

PROS:
CONS: I like my gyms bigger.

3
★★★☆☆

Boulders is a relatively small climbing gym. There's toproping and bouldering, but the climbing area is smaller than the other gyms I've been to. Still, as far as I know, there's not too much else near the UW-Madison campus. So if that's where you go to school, it's probably where you'll be climbing too.

PROS:
CONS: I like my gyms bigger.

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0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Business Response:

Also Lead climbing... In addition to top-roping and bouldering we do have "lead" climbing. We are the only place to climb indoors in Madison. We have 40 top-ropes, and a lead area that probably has a dozen climbs at any given time. In total we have 80+ routes and 100+ boulder problems with good turnover so there's always something new to climb.

Message from Boulders Climbing Gym

Rock Climbing is great for all ages. Some people come to Boulders for fun, a date, birthday party, etc, others come to Boulders for the fitness. Whatever might be your motivation we can get you enjoying climbing in minutes!

More about Boulders Climbing Gym

Boulders includes rock climbing gear, instruction, and fitness.

 

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