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Gym setting for competitions

Original Post
Tim Lutz · · Colo-Rado Springs · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

At my gym on the Front Range, they shut down virtually all of the climbing 3-4 days ahead of the competition.

I understand that they need to shut down sections of wall as the competition date gets closer, but shutting down ALL of the climbing ALL week because it is 'easier for them to set' really upsets me as a paying member who couldn't give a crap about competitions.

Is this normal? I can't see big chain gyms like Momentum screwing their paying customers mid-week, several times a year.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Yes, it is normal. As of yesterday, all of our bouldering and lead climbing is shut down through
Sunday for comp setting. Afterwards, we'll only have comp routes/problems, as everything is stripped. The hang boards, campus board and systems do remain open however. It is what it is.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Yeah, it's pretty normal, especially for on-site comps where problems have to go up and then come down before they set the red point round. It really depends on how much terrain the comp will use. Most gyms will try to tier the shut downs to limit how pissed off the membership will be by it, but some gyms have no choice due to layout of the event.

Comps are really hard to set fast. You can do it, but it's not sustainable for the setting team. Even setting over 4 days beats me up something fierce. It's better to set over a longer period for both you and your customers because then you'll get higher quality problems post comp for your regular set.

That said, we designed our facility to keep about 60% of the bouldering and all of the ropes open during a comp set by having a dedicated competition wall and area. Works really well because we don't really impact the membership at all.

Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35

I would argue the big gyms do it more often and close a larger area because they host bigger competitions. Movement in downtown Denver closed off a huge part of their lead cave for a whole week because they hosted the sport climbing nationals.

Don't get me wrong, it totally sucks if you're not into that scene. However, a lot of people like competitions particularly the younger/youth crowd which is a substantial part of a gym's membership base.

Super Fluke · · Earth · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 186

Momentum recently had there bouldering league comp. They roped off and reset about half the bouldering area for the comp, the other half remained open during setting and reopened to the public when it was set. Those who were in the league were not allowed to climb the comp problems before the comp. After the comp they filled in the rest of the wall. It only effected half the bouldering area for 1 day. Then again they set weekly, they rope off only the area they are setting.

Momentum is a huge gym and have plenty of wall space to set in this manor. I could imagine a small gym shutting down for a comp if they need the space.

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

Paying $70 per month and then not being able to climb when the gym is open is annoying. I'm a member of a gym that does monthly events, and it drives me absolutely nuts.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

Having helped set for a comp at a small university gym, there are two points to keep in mind:

First, the problems for the comp have to be all new, and kept off limits to everyone until the comp.

Second, no one is allowed in the gym during setting anyway, for safety reasons, and we all have to be wearing helmets while in the gym, if someone is setting.

Yeah, something that is more than once a year would be a pain, but once or twice a year seems reasonable, as does an occasional closure for training or maintenance. This isn't a coffee store, it's a place that needs close attention to maintenance of the physical structure for safety's sake, and a staff that's up to snuff.

Plus, if the regular setters are setting the comp, it's a chance to stretch their limits and creativity. They might not have that opportunity doing the regular stuff, and you directly benefit.

And, if a comp ramps up the customer base, that helps keep your gym in business. I doubt they're making a killing off of your membership. Unlike that cup of Joe.

Best, OLH

Tradgic Yogurt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 55

Given the parking and the crowds, I doubt Movement Denver will see much a membership boost as a result of hosting nationals.

If it was supposed to be a membership drive instead of a prestige thing, where is my tote bag?

CCas · · Chicago, IL · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 120

Hate it. And hate comp style setting.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530
Tim Lutz wrote: Although I do dislike comps and comp setting, my main beef is that it seemsthat the gym's setters revel in being able to not give a crap about what their regular customers pay for. From what I see at 'my' gym ('my' because despite paying year after year, 'I' have no input compared to the parents), the inefficiency is the problem. The management simply gives the setters free reign to tear everything down 3-4 days before the event. They could, with a bit of planning, set sections of the wall the day before and free up sections of steep wall for daily members that just want to get in an ARC session. From my perspective, and others like me, the management simply doesn't care.

Have you talked to management about this? It's also likely that they don't know people are upset about the closures. As a gym manager, I love that our customers give us feedback when they are upset. I love to address problems that we didn't think about or can't see. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Well, based on current gym trends, if this is the case, there will likely be some competition in their future that will force them to make changes to how they do things. When the gym I work at opened a couple years back, it had an effect on what the other gyms were willing to do for their customers just by virtue of there being options. 

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Think of it in these terms. Me and my spouse pay about 110 per month for a couples membership. A gym team kid pays 80 per month to be a gym member, another 80 per month to be on the climbing team, and then some extra for additional individual coaching. Now tell me who the true revenue source is?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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