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Evo Louisville

Original Post
David Hous · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 195

I checked out the new gym in Louisville today, Evo Rock and Fitness. For 10 AM-noon on a Saturday it was not too crowded. It has all the nice qualities of a new gym, clean, lots of grip on the holds and that "new car" smell. The waiver/check in process was smooth, they had enough staff to keep everything moving. The orientation was hilariously written by lawyers ;-) but they are probably rightly expecting a lot of customers who are new to climbing.

It is not a huge facility though the walls are tall. The bouldering area has a small area of vertical techy stuff and a lot of overhanging terrain including one cave and a freestanding mushroom. Currently they ask you not to top off on the bouldering problems. I found the problems more on the dynamic side. They use V grades.

The tall walls make for good endurance routes, there is currently a pretty good mix of grades with the easier grades in the back room. There are only two autobelays which is a bottleneck since those are popular. I found the route setting to be reachy and I am pretty tall.

Upstairs there is a training area with campus board, hangboard, freeweights and a few cardio machines; no weight machines. Also upstairs is a yoga room and a kids area with short walls and one more autobelay.

Overall it is a nice facility but it doesn't raise the bar anywhere, I'll go back, but I wouldn't describe it as a destination. Pricing seems on par with other gyms in the area.

What are other people's thoughts?

A. Bandos · · Broomfield · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 190

I found the route setting to be very thought provoking and enjoyable. The grades definely feel sandbagged compared to other local gyms. Still too early to really rate the gym, but I'm a fan so far.

Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 918

I visited Evo this past weekend. It is a new gym and much is subject to change in the first several months, but my initial impressions are:

-$20 day pass is on par or slightly higher than most area gyms. The $4 extra for a lead rope was a bit ridiculous. Is there a lead rope fee at any other gym nearby? Either way, date night is now $40 or $44 if leading.

-Crowds are still more than reasonable, but I expect traffic to pick up. There isn't much parking. Lot of cops nearby - there might be a police station a few buildings over. Close to a couple breweries.

-The layout and amenities are pretty standard. Nothing special. Small compared to Earth treks. Felt kind of like Movement Denver and Boulder. One bathroom stall (might be an issue), couple shower stalls, and a couple urinals in the men's room. Not many cubbies yet. They were slightly understaffed Sat and had a wait for lead certs.

-A good variety of terrain from vertical to slightly overhanging, to a big overhang, with a few roofs thrown in for good measure. No cracks. It is a medium-sized gym but they make good use of the space. A small kid's area upstairs.

-They could probably fit twice as many routes and probably will. The routes are inconsistently graded at the moment. A lot of them seemed to be much easier than the given grade with one distinct crux. The routes tend to require more lateral movement than typical, which is pretty cool.

-The top out clips are quite annoying. Opposing draws with a stiff gate a bit below the jug top. The draws are more realistic than say Earth Trek's convenient drop-in clips, but the stiff opposing gates are annoying.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125

Do they have a free/reduced rate for first-timer?

Ryan Marsters · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 918


Sarah Meiser · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 2,984

Its a nice gym but I like both Movements better and even though I live very close I won't be switching, at least not at this point. Sort of a disappointment. I think it has a big box gym sort of feel which I don't really like. Also, the climbing area has a divided/room layout rather than a more open floor plan like the Movements.

- The best thing about it was the lack of people on a weekday evening.

- The extra fee for a lead rope if you're not a member seems lame as none of the other gyms charge extra for that w/ a day pass.

- I was disappointed by the limited amount of steep stuff.

- The top anchors made up of 2 opposing biners are annoying to clip and seem like a poor/cheap option.

- Routes seemed interesting and thoughtful, though awkward at times, lacking in good flow at times, and more traversing than I'm used to at other gyms. I often got a little frustrated trying to figure out which bolts were best to clip.

- The first bolt is quite low and they are very closely spaced, like ET.

- Walls are incredibly rough and painful even if you just brush up against them.

- It'll be interesting to go back in a while to see how things develop.

Zach M · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 0

I tried a few of the 12s last night. The training area looks great, with plenty of campus and system board space. The walls are tall, and the space is well organized. I felt the problems were thought provoking, and that while some of the routes were soft, others were a little hard.

Evo is a lot like the Earth Treks gym in Golden, and felt like a great addition to the area. If I lived or worked between Boulder and Denver, I'd definitely make it my home gym. Just having a good dust collection system and no huge kids team would make it worthwhile.

David Hous · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Nov 2001 · Points: 195

From their web site I would look forward to a lot of kids stuff; they plan on four levels of kids programs plus two teams as well as kids camps during vacations. I think this will be a very family-friendly gym especially in that location. I expect the younger kids will be corralled upstairs, but they'll outgrow that in a hurry.

Andrew Hildner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 10

I have climbed there a couple of times. The routes are not your standard right, left, right, left ad-naseum layout. Much more thoughtful and featured than other gyms. I do think they're still working out consistent route ratings and have been receptive to feedback. Some routes are a little reachy. The main wall is larger than Movement Boulder and just a couple feet less than ET and Movement Denver. Overall, I feel like they're good routes and the grading and setting will get more consistent as they move towards their actual grand opening--you can't reasonably expect all the kinks to be worked out the moment a gym opens its doors. Overall I really like the climbing and get pumped in a different way than I do at Movement Boulder or ET.

clint dillard · · Louisville, Co · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 10

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I'm one of the owners, 17 year resident of Louisville and long time climber in the area. I have been a member of all the local gyms so I know we have a ways to go. We are still in our soft opening phase so hang in there with us. Our grand opening is April 8th and 9th so we hope to be fully operational by then.

Just to touch on a few of your concerns and give you a little history. I started putting this gym together over 3 years ago and what a ride it has been. We have an amazing team that is committed to raising the bar on climbing gyms. My partner Hilary Harris is a former professional climber and is the founder of the EVO brand. We are both in the office literally everyday working hard to get it right. We want what you want because we were customers first.

As you can imagine it's hard to make everyone happy but we are trying. I have two children myself so really wanted a family friendly gym but we also want to have a world class training facility. If you come visit you will see we physically segregated these user groups but they are visually connected. Please don't think because we are family friendly we are Chuck e Cheese. If you ever have concerns just ask for me. I'm always there at 6 am Tuesdays working the desk. We have free Carabiner Coffee before noon. Happy to drink a cup with any of you and get your feedback.

Now about the route setting. It has been all over the place we know but it's getting better. The first set in any gym is that way but we feel it's compounded with us. We had major construction wall delays so we had to set the gym in sections. We flew in all the head setters from the other EVO gyms as well as Justen Sjong and Augy for Rock'N&Jam"N for the first set. The East coast setters set closer to Eldo grades than Boulder Cyn. We are still trying to upgrade some of their routes but there are a few still out there. It's not you and you are not having a weak day because a 5.10 feels like 5.12. It's because it's 5.12:) Patric from the BRC and Ryan from ABC have been setting on the second set also. The next set we will use community grading so there will be more consistency. We have to get the setting right so if you have concerns please let us know. Our head setter is Nick Foster and his team has some surprises on the next set. It's going to be awesome.

So I'm sure you all know the bigger these gyms get the more expensive they are to build and keep up. We are really lucky that the prices for climbing gyms have not caught up to say CrossFit were prices can be over $150/month. Please believe me when I say I went to bat for you all on our prices and start up fees. Really went to bat with ourselves but anyway we want the prices as low as we can get them. That said we have to pay the bills and there are reasons behind every price. Take the lead rope rental for non-members. Yes it $4 but lead ropes can cost a gym $20k per year. Members to our gym get the ropes for free and we allow anyone use their rope as long as it's longer than 35m.

Yes the lead top anchors suck. I had no idea when we agreed to use Walltopia's standard top anchors they would be such a pain to clip. I have a plan to fix them but it's not going to happen right way. I hate them too. The bolt spacing is European standard and yes they are close. You don't have to clip the first draw.

We have some cool things coming so come check us out. Our retail shop is coming together. La Sportiva shoes came in yesterday. We have 5.10 and more brands coming. If you have kids our daycare is open today from 9-1. Our kids climbing room we call the Room of Doom (ROD) is under construction today and should be ready to go in one week. Our Wall of Evolution shows the history of climbing in CO. It will be unveiled at the grand opening. There is a brewery full restaurant coming on our lot. It should be open late 2017. In the mean time we have food for sale from Off Campus Cafe in Lafayette. There is a microwave in the Kitchen for the breakfast sandwiches and quiche.

We are still waiting on treadmills, rower and spin bike. One thing I learned through this process is when someone tells you it will be a week, they really mean two months. Although I don't recommend it I did see three people on two treadmills this weekend.

Thanks everyone and I look forward to seeing you in the gym.


Dougald MacDonald · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2002 · Points: 725

Thanks, Clint, for the updates. Overall I've been enjoying the new gym a lot (I'm a member), both for the height and the extensive use of volumes and sideways trickery. (I've ususally gone to BRC, and I expect to continue visiting both gyms for the variety.) I have two suggestions that would improve the leading experience on the walls that share TRs and leads:

1. The top lead anchors need to be moved from directly under the TR anchors (or the TR anchor needs to be a broader bar, so it's more adjustable from below). The current setup guarantees interference from the TR rope when you're leading.

Similarly, the leads/TRs under the auto-belays are essentially unusable at this point, because there is no effective way to clip the auto-belay to one side. I'm a big fan of auto-belays and hope you install more of them, but only if you resolve this issue.

2. It would be better if the draws followed the routes a little more closely (especially since the setters favor side-to-side movement) instead of adhering to a strict grid-draw setup.

Looking forward to seeing what else is coming! Dougald

Patrick Vernon · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 935

I like the gym so far. Regarding the routes, I thought the routsetting was generally very good, this is the hardest thing to get right. The grading is very inconsistent, there was an almost full number grade difference between some of the similarly graded 5.12 routes. Also please please sell something in addition to Friction Labs chalk, wayy too expensive. The space is nice, feels very new. The staff all seemed quite nice. Is there a plan to get a treadwall?

A. Bandos · · Broomfield · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 190

I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates the anchor draws. I understand that ratings are wacky at first, but also happy you will use a community rating system in the future. I think I know exactly which arete 10d feels like 5.12.

My only question, is there a time frame for new route setting? Will certain walls all get new routes on specific dates?

Also, I'm a little bummed that the fitness center is lacking tools for antagonist training. A simple TRX system and some therabands would be great.

Tony B · · Around Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 23,205
A. Bandos wrote: The grades definely feel sandbagged compared to other local gyms.
Heh... do you mean 'realistic' or do you mean actually sandbagged relative to outdoors?
La MoMoFace · · Arvada, CO · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 60

Clint, thanks for chiming in! I'm loving seeing this gym come together and I actually really like the setting - two of the climbs I found myself grinning when I got down and telling my belayer 'Holy snot, that was so much fun!'

I agree with adding some more basics to the fitness center, though I'm not sure what you can do on a TRX that you can't do on the rings? I'd love a few yoga blocks, the resistance bands with handles for shoulder PT, the smaller rubber bands that you put around your ankles for lunges and squats and such, and the kettle bell selection now seems weird, the small one is something like 5 lbs and the next is 20? Would be great to fill in the gaps a little.

A. Bandos · · Broomfield · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 190
Tony B wrote: Heh... do you mean 'realistic' or do you mean actually sandbagged relative to outdoors?
Both really. I personally feel all gym grades are easier than outdoors, but some grades at Evo are hilariously off. There is a lot of inconsistency in setting. I typically climb at the BRC and most of the grades at Evo felt more difficult.
Frosty Weller · · Colorado · Joined Mar 2004 · Points: 1,115

Thanks for coming here Clint. At the risk of making the place more popular, bad for me, good for the gym... here's my take.

My wife and I are members and think you guys have done a fantastic job with the gym so far.

My observations, and yeah it’s hard to please everyone, but…

  • Top Anchors - As you already noted yourself Clint, the top anchors will need some work. I find myself just clipping one as clipping both is a pain.
  • TR’s – There are a lot of TR’s. With so many TR ropes hanging down they really tend to get in the way for leads. I feel like there could be half as many TR’s, but that is just me (and wifey agrees). As Dougald noted on a wider TR bar, less TR’s on wider bars would help.
  • Auto-Belay’s – It is hard to secure these things at the bottom in an out of the way location without them being out in the middle of the floor. Each location may require a different solution perhaps, but I do use and enjoy them. (I used 3 auto-belays last visit, someone earlier noted that there were only 2.)
  • Cracks – meh, over the years I have found that cracks in gyms just aren’t really worth the space they take up. (And generally I prefer crack climbing outside to sport.)
  • Upstairs – Weight Training area – Yeah it’s a climbing gym, but I do frequently train with weights. Not only for strength, but also for opposing muscle groups to help prevent injuries. You do have a good free-weight setup, some mirrors on the east wall might be good (it helps with form). And one thing I personally would appreciate having would be a decent cable crossover machine. It’s probably asking a lot but they really do give a lot of options & variety for the floor space they take up. Probably dreaming here but perhaps with rearranging there would be room for something like this?
    cable crossover
  • Grades - Overall I think they are pretty good, but things are still getting things dialed in. Be a little patient here folks, it takes a little while for things to shake out, especially since every route here is new.

Clint, you, and Hillary, and every employee that we have dealt with at Evo so far has been wonderful. The retail shop has more products every visit it, and the 10% off in the retail shop for members have made the prices attractive (we bought a rope). We also do like the layout of the gym and are looking forward to a more family friendly facility, but yes without the “Chuck e Cheese” atmosphere.

Heck it’s only been a couple weeks since the “soft opening”, but holy cow you have really come a long way since the Founding Member Tour a month ago. Congratulations on making a dream come true, and well done!
Scott Hunt · · Golden, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 13
Ryan Marsters wrote:-The top out clips are quite annoying. Opposing draws with a stiff gate a bit below the jug top. The draws are more realistic than say Earth Trek's convenient drop-in clips, but the stiff opposing gates are annoying.
Add to that they the anchors are part of the top rope anchor cluster so you get to fight with the top rope while trying to clip.

Otherwise I like it. The route setting is fun, though as others mentioned, sandbagged/erratic. But ET/Movement Denver were also all over the place with grading for the first several months.
clint dillard · · Louisville, Co · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 10

Thanks everyone of the feedback. Keep it coming. Sorry it took me a day to get back to you but my computer decided to take a "break" yesterday. Anyways I hear you all. We filled the fitness area lightly to get a feel for the space and usage. We have more equipment coming but we did not want to over do it until we new it would work in the space.

Yes the mirrors... I believe they get installed Monday.

Auto-belays, we actually have 6 but only 5 are out right now. Two are upstairs so you all may not use those. I'll try to get the 6th one on the main floor this week. We planned to actually take the lead draws off those routes but have not had a chance. We have 25,000 sq ft of climbing so I hope everyone is ok with 4 lanes they can't lead.

Yes the amount of top anchors. Wow there are a lot. We agree. It's part of the Walltopia system and they actually attach to the steel structure. We have been talking about what we can do about them but I think we will all have to get use to it. I'm happy to go into the difference between modular and custom systems if anyone cares. I won't here. Come talk to me and I'll give you my thoughts. Basically though there are standards with modular walls we can't change. It's part the kit. You want kits though because in x number of years down the road, we can modify our walls basically over night (Stone Summit Atlanta) and the gym does not have to shut down.

Top ropes handing in your face when you are trying to lead. I hate it too. I have a idea for this but need to give it a test. Stand by.

Cracks. Yep we will have crack volumes at some point. EVO Portland uses them and they are sweet. You can basically set a crack anywhere in the gym at any width. It's on my long todo list.

TRX. Yes Hilary wants that too. I thought the same thing about just using rings but I was educated:) We will see how the budget is looking and see what we can do.

Here are a few things that members told us about. Some we already knew and are working on it. Cold showers. I guess after a few showers our water turned cold. Someone turned a knob on our hot water heater which we think we got it back to the right location. Let us know if this is still a problem.

Dog walking around the gym. We have a certified emotional support dog that hangs out in the office. Her name is Avett but she took walk around the gym a few times this week. Some folks complained. She will stay in the office but feel free to come say hi.

Second shower curtain in the showers. On our list

Clock in the bouldering area. On our list

More bouldering brushes. On our list

We also have more furniture coming and more lockers that are just outside the locker rooms.

Last our kids climbing room is under construction this week so sorry about the power tools during the day.

I just want you all to know I really appreciate the kind words, support and feedback.


aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

When will there be an EVO Castle Rock? It makes a lot of sense if you look at the geographical distribution of all the climbing gyms in Denver!

North: Earth Treks, Movement, DBC Central, RJ1, Mountain Strong (they have a bouldering wall), Thrillseekers, future Movement bouldering gym in RiNo.

South: RJ2, DBC South.

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55
clint dillard wrote:Cracks. Yep we will have crack volumes at some point. EVO Portland uses them and they are sweet. You can basically set a crack anywhere in the gym at any width...
The gym in ABQ has something like that, seems like it could be interesting.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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