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Hoboken NJ new climbing gym


Original Post
kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,777

Sharon and I tried the new Gravity Vault indoor gym, north side of Hoboken - [ see on Map ] - not far from Weehawken and the Lincoin Tunnel.

We had a good time there today: good route-setting both TR and Lead, spacious with tall routes, enough auto-belays - (didn't try the bouldering).

Only climbing gym in New Jersey open before 12 noon on weekdays, and we took advantage of that.

comparing other Gravity Vault gyms we know (Upper Saddle River + Chatham NJ):

* similar nice high-friction wall surface but different manufacturer - (unlike the slick wood at certain new non-GV city gyms).

* excellent Top-Rope routesetting as we expect.

* bolts for Leading closer than the "spicy" spacing at USR + Chatham - (perhaps not as close as many gyms western Europe) -- felt just right.

* holds for each route distinguished by color of hold, instead of color of attached tape -- like most modern non-GV city gyms.
. . . (My view is that this offers a neater look, but diminishes the effectiveness of the space for quality and quantity of climbing, so I hope the other GV gyms do not follow in this).

* texture of the holds like the best outdoor sandstone - (just got back from SouthWest Utah, so I was almost a bit sad that the most delightful-feeling outdoor rock could now be duplicated in any modern indoor gym).

Only drawback: Wish it were closer to good public transportation. Did not notice a bike rack.

. . . (? about 0.5 mile from 9th St light rail station, or 0.5 mile from Lincoln Harbor ferry or light rail).

. . . (? two parking garages nearby, tho we got lucky and found close street parking at reasonable rate).

Ken

Brett Broderick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Hey Ken,

Glad to hear your perspective on the new gravity vault. I live like two blocks from this gym and am so stoked to have a gym within walking distance of me (although no more excuses for not being a strong climber). I love the gym but don’t love the route setting so far. I’ve climbed at both bkbs and the cliffs in lic as well as some other gyms across the country. GVH’s routes seemed very un creative. Almost like climbing a ladder. I felt they only became more difficult by make the holds smaller. Granted I’ve only been climbing up to 5.10 there.  

I also cant believe how spaced out the moves are. I’m 6’6” and am doing dynos on 5.9s. My wife (who’s easily a 5.9 climber) can’t even do them. Simply because she can’t reach the holds. Maybe I need to get used to this style of climbing. But it just isn’t inpiring to me. 

I also don’t understand the grading of <=5.8 being the starting grade. This grade seems way to easy relative to other gyms and it makes the 5.9 grade way to wide. 5.9 can be everything from vertical jug hauling up a ladder to double dynos through an arch. Is this the same as other GV locations?

overall love the gym. Just hope they improve the routes in the future. 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

Gravity Vault Poughkeepsie also starts at 5.8. The first "5.8" I climbed there was realistically a 5.3 or 5.4.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,777

I only climbed there once (since the only advantage of that gym for me is morning hours, not location) -- and climbed mostly the 5.8 + 9 Lead routes, so I cannot assess the quality of route-setting of the easier Top-Ropes. When leading I'm focused mainly on clipping stances and just getting to the top. I surely thought at least one of the (less-than-or equal-to) 5.8s and one of the 5.9 leads was rather fun. And at least one of the 5.9s which was also top-rope-able was pretty thoughtful.

Usually I'm pretty impressed with the setting on 5.8-11 TR climbs at the Gravity Vault gyms at Chatham and Upper Saddle River -- compared with TR setting at non-GV gyms in Utah, Nevada, France, Italy, Germany -- and my rather few visits in past years to The Cliffs LIC and BKB Brooklyn. After a few sessions of practice on some of the thoughtful sequences at Chatham or USR, I often find it flattering to visit other gyms in other regions and discover how easy it is for me to "read" the sequences.

. . . (even comparing with outdoor rock in those regions, there are few aretes or dihedrals as interesting as the arete and dihedral routes at Chatham GV. Just a couple weeks ago I was on a 5.10c on wonderful sandstone in SW Utah with a partner who regularly climbs at Cliffs LIC, and I climbed the crux sequence much more easily because I worked some thoughtful balancy moves on the arete, and I thought later that lots of exposure to a variety of creative arete sequences at Chatham GV helped me with that).

Just a guess about why Hoboken routes might feel less creative:
At Upper Saddle River and Chatham, the routes are distinguished by color of tape, not color of the hold. So a routesetter has complete freedom to choose any hold from any color-set of holds. So maybe the GV setters for Hoboken have not yet figured out how to deal with this new restriction on their selection of holds -- (since I think the Hoboken gym has been open less than two weeks now). Or perhaps management needs to purchase additional collections of holds in some of the colors to give the setters more options.

. . . (At least the Hoboken GV management chose an overall range of colors such that each color is readily distinguishable -- otherwise it especially gets to be a problem after the holds get chalked up. The start of the art at leading city gyms in France and Germany is to use bi-color holds to make them more distinguishable).

Ken

Brandon S · · Weehawken, NJ · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 3
Brett Broderick wrote:

 I love the gym but don’t love the route setting so far. I’ve climbed at both bkbs and the cliffs in lic as well as some other gyms across the country. GVH’s routes seemed very un creative. Almost like climbing a ladder. I felt they only became more difficult by make the holds smaller. Granted I’ve only been climbing up to 5.10 there.  

I am actually happy to hear this. Maybe I am boring, but I have speculated that the "interesting" BKB setting-style might not translate well to gains on real rock because a lot of them are unique party-trick style problems with movements that are rarely encountered outside.  I could see the appeal to both though.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,777
Brandon S wrote:

I have speculated that the "interesting" BKB setting-style might not translate well to gains on real rock because a lot of them are unique party-trick style problems with movements that are rarely encountered outside.

I'll guess that the divide between indoor setting and outdoor routes is only going to grow -- especially with climbing now an Olympic sport.

Already we see indoor routes moving toward using pinch holds and away from constrictions, while outdoor rock (especially USA) is much about cracks and little about pinches.

. . . (and for competition, it's very difficult to design crack sequences which are not much easier or harder depending on hand size -- while pinch sequences "scale" better).

For moderate routes, perhaps a more important divide is that outdoor routes are mostly less than vertical -- while few indoor routes at most gyms (in USA) are less than vertical (for insurance reasons).-- so outdoor footwork is (already) completely different from indoor footwork.

Ken

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Gunkiemike wrote:

Gravity Vault Poughkeepsie also starts at 5.8. The first "5.8" I climbed there was realistically a 5.3 or 5.4.

This cracked me up. Gunks climbers talking about gym grades...

G R · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 65
kenr wrote:

For moderate routes, perhaps a more important divide is that outdoor routes are mostly less than vertical -- while few indoor routes at most gyms (in USA) are less than vertical (for insurance reasons).-- so outdoor footwork is (already) completely different from indoor footwork.

Ken

lol. False.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,777

What's new on our third visit this morning ....

Early hours 6 am opening Tue + Thu mornings for the month of January.
. . (not on their web page, which seems to have even less detailed info than their Facebook).

Getting here, what I learned new: 

Bus seems to be more convenient than train or light rail
 . . like if a friend is visiting from Manhattan, try the 119 or 126 bus from Port Authority, goes to a short block or two east from the climbing gym.

Parking . . . did better finding on-street parking -- looked more to the north this time. The fee is reasonable (ticket kiosk takes credit cards as well as coins), some 4-hour spaces, but this time we went for a 2-hour space and set my phone timer to take a break from climbing for another ticket).

Not much else new (except that I found the campus board upstairs).

Said they're expecting to start a normal cycle of replacing with new routes (and perhaps filling in more routes) in February. So then we'll get a sense of what is their long-term setting style.
. . . I continue to feel their startup setting so far is good enough for some fun and for training (so Sharon and I have come back two more times) -- even if not as creatively briliiant as some of the setting at Chatham GV and Upper Saddle River GV -- (which alas I'm expecting to become less brilliant as those established gyms make the transition to the modern practive of "prettier" designation of routes by hold color instead of tape).

Ken

Rich Azierski · · Hoboken, New Jersey · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

kenr - w/r/t parking, one block uptown on 16th is basically all free parking. My S/O parks there overnight a couple days a week without a problem. The rite aid parking lot on the other side the viaduct is also good for non-overnight parking. 

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35
Gunkiemike wrote:

Gravity Vault Poughkeepsie also starts at 5.8. The first "5.8" I climbed there was realistically a 5.3 or 5.4.

I hear that gym is super soft. Like 10+ is like 12- there.

Mashanya · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Went there for the first time this weekend and agree on 2 things with Brett- non- creative route setting, compared to BKB and their route setters have no idea how to set for different height. I understand that 30ft walls in BKB make creativity a need, but I would miss a lot those wondering routes, use of different walls and crazy beta. Climbing is a sport, but it's attractive to me personally because it makes me use my brain. Climbing in Hoboken didn't made me stop and think even once. All routes I climbed (5.8 to 5.11) are vertically going straight up like ladder, harder routes use worse holds. That's it. 

I'm 5.7 with negative ape index. Each route made my reach for every move by getting on my tips. I can't say it's reachy, it's set for one height, I'm not sure what climbers under 5.5 are suppose to do. Jump on each move? 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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