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New (big!) gym opening in Golden - Earthtreks
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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 24, 2013
Sure, I can belay

RB81 wrote:
34 Gyms in the US have a $18 day pass or higher climbing-gyms.findthebest.com/. Sounds pretty standard to me, especially for the 8th largest gym in the country. You get what you pay for!


Shill?

It's a nice gym. It ain't Nirvana.


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Dec 24, 2013

Checked out ET this Sunday. While the general impression is positive, there are a number of things that I wish were different, unfortunately most of them can't be changed at this point.

Positives:
Friendly staff.
New spacious facility.
Awesome bouldering terrain (can almost compete with The Spot on its own, although far smaller than The Dog Patch in San Fran).
Taller walls than other gyms in the area (but not that much taller than Movement Boulder, especially when accounting for the average steepness of the wall).

Negatives:
The texture of the wall really is very rough. I was amazed I wasn't bleeding everywhere wearing shorts, and I see fallen rubber bits collecting on holds. Kind of a WTF moment (reminds me of the idiots at Stone Summit that used sandpaper backing on their campus wall).
The cracks are an obvious afterthought. Those of you that actually climb cracks would understand immediately. It's a joke compared to the cracks at Planet Granite in the bay area.
There's not enough consistent overhang of different angles (15-40 degree walls). It looks like the gym had the space for it, but an arch & some short horizontal sections just doesn't cut it. I 'd say of all the shortcomings, this is the most serious.

Other observations: I found the route setting to be generally good, but lacked a bit in the techy, footwork intensive and static body positioning variety. There are a lot of routes with pretty strenuous body position and off-balanced moves, which aren't my forte, so it's good training. I did find some routes seem to have more hand holds I'd skip than foot holds. There are a lot of moves of the reach variety (which people often confuse with holds set far apart but can be reached using good core strength via a high foot or dynamic movement). As for the grades, in the 11d-12c range, some felt a bit hard (or even quite hard given the lack of good clipping stance), others felt right on. I was warned Jason Kehl's routes are pretty stiff. And the only one I tried (twice), graded 13a, felt like a pretty solid mid 13 and climbed like a bunch of (cool) bouldering moves stacked on top of each other. But whatever, every gym has route setters whose routes I suck at.

Lastly, these are my opinions. If you don't agree with them, too bad for you.


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By Kevin Craig
Dec 24, 2013
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd

Let's re-set a bit. There's no question, I'm massively psyched that there's *finally* a rock gym (and a very good one at that) on the west side of the Denver area. This has been a screaming need for a decade or more. Extra cool that it's right across the highway from the light rail station and has OK (not good) parking.

I'm pretty sure most or all of the comments here are intended in the spirit of constructive criticism. I would hate to lose this outstanding resource due to route-setting or other correctable issues.


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By Derek Lawrence
From Bailey
Dec 24, 2013
Cocaine Corner

my two cents...
Thoroughly enjoying the gym so far! I like the route setting. The routes seem to make good use of the angle changes in the panels. I've not gotten on the harder routes (12 and up) as it seems 5.11 here will be tough grade for me. The grades can be stiff on some routes which really isnt a big deal. I would add my vote to wanting more consistency between the grades but that I'm sure will even out over time. (I've seen them changing grades on routes so they are trying...) The wall texture is rough but allows great smearing and is forcing me to place my feet accurately rather than skidding them down onto the hold. Re the parking. I dont get the folks who say its a problem (or even a little problem). After seeing an earlier comment about the parking I used google maps to check out Movement, BRC, Spot, and RnJ. These gyms have roughly 40-60 spaces, plus some street parking. I drove around the lot at ET this weekend and counted 118 spaces plus 9 carpool spots. Construction remnants are blocking prob half a dozen spots but there are still more than double the spaces of the other gyms, PLUS street parking for many more.


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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Dec 24, 2013
My dogs got ups yo!

Derek Lawrence wrote:
Re the parking. I dont get the folks who say its a problem (or even a little problem). After seeing an earlier comment about the parking I used google maps to check out Movement, BRC, Spot, and RnJ. These gyms have roughly 40-60 spaces, plus some street parking. I drove around the lot at ET this weekend and counted 118 spaces plus 9 carpool spots. Construction remnants are blocking prob half a dozen spots but there are still more than double the spaces of the other gyms, PLUS street parking for many more.

RnJ North has hands down the best parking. I climbed at Mvmt for two years. By far the worst parking of all the gyms in CO. During the week if you weren't there by 5:15 you were walking from across the street, but WTF cares about a 30 sec walk anyway? Sounds like everyone complaining here expected a perfect gym. I've visited over 75 gyms in the US and between ET Golden, Hoosier Heights in Northern Indianapolis and Planet Granite in San Francisco these are the gyms in which all other gyms are being measured against.


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By Victor K
From Denver, CO
Dec 25, 2013
Water!

This gym IS great. And there is some good constructive criticism here. Hopefully the gym will address what they can. I agree with the above comment, at $19, they can take some heat. One thing that's very different from Maryland, there is very little reason to climb inside if you don't want to. No real middle ground between membership and a full price day pass is bummer. Why not sell a 20 punch pass? Or a 1 month pass?
At nearly 70 a month, I really think hard about my use of the place during the prime climbing months. Also, the landscape will change again when Movement opens in central Denver.
Can't wait to see how everything shakes out.


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By mark felber
From Frisco, CO,USA
Dec 25, 2013

I agree, no real middle ground between a day pass and a monthly membership. I asked about a punch pass and was offered 7 visits for the price of 6. A 10 or 20 visit card that offered a little more savings would be nice, and maybe the people who drop their membership during outdoor climbing season would keep a punch card for bad weather days. BTW, it is possible to buy a one month pass, for $89. Not sure how many they'll sell at that price. People seem to be using the place, though, so I don't know how motivated they are to lower their prices. Maybe prices will change when Movement opens up their gym in Denver.


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By Robin Close
From Columbia, Maryland
Dec 27, 2013

Haven't been out to see the new gym yet, but climbed a couple days ago with a Golden friend who was back in MD for the week, and it seemed like her observations were pretty consistent with what I've seen on here. A couple thoughts based on years of climbing at ET's other facilities:

-Two of the bigger complaints are about the lack of feet and the rough texture of the walls. If the texture is like our gyms back east, that means the entire wall is a foothold. It takes a while to get used to it, and you'll probably burn through rubber a bit faster at first, but I feel like the end result is a footwork style that translates really well to most kinds of rock I've encountered. It also seems like one of you needs to jump on the opportunity to open a new resole shop!

-I agree that grading should be internally consistent, and ET setters are usually good about changing grades due to feedback, but it also amazes me how much people are still hung up on the numbers. I go to gyms so I can train, not so I can one day tell my grandchildren about the blue 5._ that I struggled on for weeks and then triumphantly red pointed the night before the setters took it down. The setters' job isn't to make us look good on everything, or to reinforce our notions of how hard we climb. Their job is to make us fall. Falling isn't failure, but rather an opportunity for learning. If the whole point of training us to apply those skills elsewhere later on, better to train in a sandbagged gym where the moves are always a little bit outside our comfort zone, and then go out to a new area and be excited about how easy everything feels.

Overall i'm really excited about everything I've heard, and can't wait to check this place out!


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By Jack Sparrow
From denver, co
Dec 27, 2013

Well said Robin


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By Matt Pierce
From Morrison, CO
Dec 27, 2013
View from the first belay ledge on The Staircase (5.5)

I think the cost thing can be debated many ways...

For example:

I have a 24 hour membership that gets me cardio, crappy yoga, shitty locker rooms and maybe a little b-ball - for $29 a month
Impression - I get what I pay for - basically I'm renting a stairmaster for $29 a month

I used to have a Lifetime Fitness membership (only cancelled because of location) - I got a clean massive gym with pools, eucalyptus and sauna rooms, a great yoga studio, tv's on the cardio machines, and a decent rock climbing wall - for $70 a month
Impression - I got a LOT for my money...

Private Yoga
Most places like Core Power or even Kindness Yoga have memberships that run $100 - $150 a month - just for yoga - you have to really love yoga - Kindness has a drop in fee of $15
Impression - I love yoga but not that much...

Colorado Athletic Club - Ive looked here recently because of location only - nice gym and good yoga, good locations downtown Denver - but it's $110 a month
Impression - Might be worth it but I haven't committed yet...

RNJ - $15 day passes to battle crowds, kids, newbs, claustrophobia to pull on some plastic
Impression - I pay this sparingly (not worth the $ to me) - I go maybe 6-8 times a year

ET - I think $19 is a little high but the monthly doesnt seem bad. The problem is for those who don't live in Golden. I'd like to come at least 3 times a month - but that's nearly $60 and if I pay the monthly I'll feel obligated to use it and because of the location I won't so I'll get frustrated and cancel...

I know it's a multi-million dollar gym and it really does kick ass - I would just like to see reasonably priced punch cards or off-hours cards for those of us who can't make it there 4-5 nights a week etc...


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By Todd99
Dec 29, 2013

I just got back from visiting family in Golden. I live in South Florida, my gym down here is tiny, hot, and a world away from Earth Treks. The gym in Golden is very pretty, the routes weren't rated as hard as the routes at my gym but it was fun. If I wanted to be petty I could find something to complain about. When I go back in the summer if it rains I won't complain if I have to go to the gym for a day or two.
I didn't think the day pass was outrageously priced. The gyms here and in Miami charge $16-22 a visit I think. The place is 15-20 min from my parents depending on the traffic and the cops on 93. It's a great gym I'll look forward to climbing no matter the weather or time of year whenever I go back to visit.


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By Kai Huang
From Thornton, CO
Feb 5, 2014

I finally started my hangboard cycle at ET, and it was good news to see pulleys, weights, and weight belt in the area.

Suggestion 1: A crash pad for upstairs hangboard area for the vertical challenged people. While chair kinda worked, or even a step stool, there were times that I thought I was gonna fall/trip on it and hurt myself.

Suggestion 2: Reset and dedicate one of the adjustable walls next to hangboard area to be more system board like with symmetrical holds and HIT strips holds.


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By JASON A.
Feb 6, 2014
Just being badass

Kai Huang wrote:
I finally started my hangboard cycle at ET, and it was good news to see pulleys, weights, and weight belt in the area. Suggestion 1: A crash pad for upstairs hangboard area for the vertical challenged people. While chair kinda worked, or even a step stool, there were times that I thought I was gonna fall/trip on it and hurt myself. Suggestion 2: Reset and dedicate one of the adjustable walls next to hangboard area to be more system board like with symmetrical holds and HIT strips holds.


Symmetrical holds. . . HIT strips. . . This sounds amazing.

I do love the "woody" feel of the walls up there. Especially when I get bored/annoyed of the corral downstairs with the children running every which way.


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By Ali K.
From Denver, CO
Feb 6, 2014

Hello community! I am planning on going to the Earthtreks opening party this friday. I moved to Denver this year, but am a Colorado native.
Just looking for some BackCountry, or WP/ Copper Pass skiing buddies for this spring, and of course, Im always looking for some climbing pals as well.
Well, my name is Ali, if anyone is going to the gym this friday, let me know, maybe we could meet up there or get out later sometime.

Thanks!
Ali


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By GabeO
From Denver, CO
Feb 7, 2014

I disagree with this:

reboot wrote:
The cracks are an obvious afterthought. Those of you that actually climb cracks would understand immediately. It's a joke compared to the cracks at Planet Granite in the bay area.


I think the cracks are, for the most part, quite good. Particularly in comparison to what's available in the rest of the gyms HERE (not in CA). I'll get to why the comparison is invalid later.

Pros:
- There are four of them, so that's certainly more than an afterthought
- They run from fat fingers to small offwidth, so they cover most of the hard sizes.
- There is one that angles quite a bit, which is rare to find, and changes things dramatically.
- There are some angles on the walls adjacent to some of the cracks, allowing you to work some with body tension and opposition if you choose.
- There is an easy hand crack for those just getting into it.

Cons:
- Most of the cracks have very sharp edges. This is fine for the wider cracks, but for the thin hands and smaller ones, it's hell on the feet. On one of them the edges are rounded, though, which is nice.
- It would've been nice to use a little less texture on the insides of the crack. I saw one woman do the hand crack in short sleeves. Her poor arms look like they got run over when she came down. Hopefully the texture will wear down in time.

Honestly, I've been to all the gyms in the Denver Metro area, and the cracks are majorly underutilized in all of 'em. Gym climbers here just don't climb cracks. So while I'd love to see more than four cracks in a facility that size, I honestly think it would've been a waste of resources on the part of the owners to build them into the structure. I think they found a good middle ground between a true "afterthought" and a true crack-focused gym.

GO


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By Christian Mason
From Arvada, CO
Feb 7, 2014
Dragon's Tongue - Vail, Co.

Another suggestion I would have is more aggressive resetting. Most of the time when we climb there, there is a wall closed and we here drilling the entire time. Only to find that there is one new route.

I think here they could also take a cue from Movement. If you're going to close a wall for setting, it probably makes sense to completely strip and reset it. I think doing that on a regular basis, and having a schedule for when each wall is reset, would help prevent the route selection from getting stale.

On a positive note, I feel like the quality of the routes has improved significantly from when the gym opened.


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By JASON A.
Feb 10, 2014
Just being badass

GabeO wrote:
I disagree with this: I think the cracks are, for the most part, quite good. Particularly in comparison to what's available in the rest of the gyms HERE (not in CA). I'll get to why the comparison is invalid later. Pros: - There are four of them, so that's certainly more than an afterthought - They run from fat fingers to small offwidth, so they cover most of the hard sizes. - There is one that angles quite a bit, which is rare to find, and changes things dramatically. - There are some angles on the walls adjacent to some of the cracks, allowing you to work some with body tension and opposition if you choose. - There is an easy hand crack for those just getting into it. Cons: - Most of the cracks have very sharp edges. This is fine for the wider cracks, but for the thin hands and smaller ones, it's hell on the feet. On one of them the edges are rounded, though, which is nice. - It would've been nice to use a little less texture on the insides of the crack. I saw one woman do the hand crack in short sleeves. Her poor arms look like they got run over when she came down. Hopefully the texture will wear down in time. Honestly, I've been to all the gyms in the Denver Metro area, and the cracks are majorly underutilized in all of 'em. Gym climbers here just don't climb cracks. So while I'd love to see more than four cracks in a facility that size, I honestly think it would've been a waste of resources on the part of the owners to build them into the structure. I think they found a good middle ground between a true "afterthought" and a true crack-focused gym. GO


There is a super secret, angle changing fist crack upstairs between two of the hydraulic woodies. Put the Black and blue one at the same angle, then climb the crack between the two walls.


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By Kai Huang
From Thornton, CO
Feb 12, 2014

Ask and you shall receive! Thanks for the stool and system board update! It's really impressive how ET listens to suggestions and make changes appropriately and quickly.


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Feb 12, 2014

Kai Huang wrote:
Ask and you shall receive! Thanks for the stool and system board update! It's really impressive how ET listens to suggestions and make changes appropriately and quickly.



Yah, the new setup for the white board is awesome. Good work, Will.


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By O'Doyle
Mar 5, 2014

I really enjoy the new gym but I gotta say, the talks about skipping the first clips are getting old. It seems incredibly hypocritical to force climbers to clip a draw that is 6 feet off the ground, yet on the other side of the gym, boulder problems are well into the ankle braking zone. They claim that it is for the safety of the climber, but what about the belayer who gets pulled into the wall harder due to the low first clip? In my opinion, most of these first clips should be removed entirely, or considered optional. This would save the staff, and climbers from an unnecessary discussion that takes place way too often.

Also, I witnessed several climbers get talked to because they skipped clips high on the routes. Once again, if a climber is choosing to skip a clip, there is probably a deeper reason for this other than their negligence. If the gym really wants every clip to be made, the setting should cater to that policy. Either acknowledge that this may happen, and just as long that it is within reason, it's ok, or make some changes to how routes are set.

Just my 2 cents.


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By Rob Eison
From Denver, CO
Mar 5, 2014

Try Clear Creek Canyon. It's free! And supposed to be in the upper 50's tomorrow. Plenty of crags get sun and a plethora of grades to be found. Check out Highlander Crag, Primo, the Crystal Tower, Conspiracy Crag, Dog House just to name a few with southern exposure. The Quarry and East Quarry on Table Mountain good choices as well.

Steep prices aren't the only reason I've made it to Earth Treks only once since they opened.


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By JonnyGreenlee
From Evergreen, CO
Mar 5, 2014
Delicate Arch, Sturdy Arch.

O'Doyle wrote:
Also, I witnessed several climbers get talked to because they skipped clips high on the routes. Once again, if a climber is choosing to skip a clip, there is probably a deeper reason for this other than their negligence. If the gym really wants every clip to be made, the setting should cater to that policy. Either acknowledge that this may happen, and just as long that it is within reason, it's ok, or make some changes to how routes are set. Just my 2 cents.


I got busted for skipping the first clip on a route that starts with a mantle onto a large hold about 7ft off the ground, the first clip does nothing to protect the opening move and would only risk getting tangled in the rope on an otherwise safe fall- once you've done the mantel, you can reach up and clip the 2nd or 3rd bolt with equal ease. I explained myself, but policy is policy. Its a great gym- and it being a gym, not a crag, sadly means their rules are the rules.

That being said- at times the setting at ET does not cater well to the clipping, and being required to clip every bolt sometimes just does not make sense with the way a climb is put up.


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By BrianWS
Mar 5, 2014

This is an issue at the Rockville location on most of the routes from hard 5.11 and up. The setters' logic is that routes need to be sustained to give an appropriate challenge at the grade, given the gym's short(ish) height -- a comfortable clipping stance provides a solid rest, interrupts long, intricate sequences, etc. For better or worse, this mindset often leads to cruxy or dynamic moves before the second bolt and impossible (at the grade at least) clips mid-route. I've seen and been on the receiving end of some spectacular climber-belayer collisions on these lines.

The staff here generally tolerates skipping clips higher up difficult steep routes. Still, that doesn't account for the frequent routes with heinously tough stances low-down or midway that would be unsafe to skip or runout. They're irritating and stiffen the grade considerably.

I've gotten used to just pre-clipping the second bolt from an easier route nearby or by dogging up the draws. If there's a shitty clip midway, I'll add a foot or hold from a neighboring route(ie cheat) when working things out. I feel no shame in partial top-roping or the occasional addition of holds. I value my knees and ankles, and above all else, it's only a gym.




O'Doyle wrote:
I really enjoy the new gym but I gotta say, the talks about skipping the first clips are getting old. It seems incredibly hypocritical to force climbers to clip a draw that is 6 feet off the ground, yet on the other side of the gym, boulder problems are well into the ankle braking zone. They claim that it is for the safety of the climber, but what about the belayer who gets pulled into the wall harder due to the low first clip? In my opinion, most of these first clips should be removed entirely, or considered optional. This would save the staff, and climbers from an unnecessary discussion that takes place way too often. Also, I witnessed several climbers get talked to because they skipped clips high on the routes. Once again, if a climber is choosing to skip a clip, there is probably a deeper reason for this other than their negligence. If the gym really wants every clip to be made, the setting should cater to that policy. Either acknowledge that this may happen, and just as long that it is within reason, it's ok, or make some changes to how routes are set. Just my 2 cents.


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By Derek Lawrence
From Bailey
Mar 5, 2014
Cocaine Corner

I too have been "talked to" about skipping the 1st clip, and the last clip...
The rule about clipping the first bolt is especially wacked as they allow bouldering on the main walls as long as your head is not above 10ft. You can clip the 2nd draw on pretty much all the routes while staying within that parameter.


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By Monty
From Golden, CO
Mar 5, 2014
Just a teaser

I feel bad for the staff who has to enforce this policy! I personally couldn't argue with someone the necessity of the low clips or that skipping clips high on routes is more dangerous than blowing them. The rhetoric I heard behind the requirement of the first clips was that by skipping it, there is more force in the falls. This could be true if you fell low on the route before having multiple draws clipped, but then again, if a gym is setting appropriately for the grade, falls shouldn't be occurring that low on routes. I'm no expert on forces in climbing falls, but wouldn't forces in a fall low on a route have the same impact force regardless of the number of draws clipped?


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