Supporting Your Climbing Gym Through COVID-19
The world is going through a strange and stressful time. COVID-19 has touched every part of our lives, and it's impacting each individual in different ways. As climbers, we feel the impact of this virus significantly in the closure of our training ground, our safe haven, our gathering place -- the climbing gym.
Our climbing gyms and their staff have been there for us through our best times and our worst! We at THICC Climbing have been asking ourselves how can we return the favor and support our gyms during the pandemic. We reached out to some of our favorite climbing gyms to find out, and we'd like to share with you what we've learned!
Keep in mind, every gym is different. Your gym may have different rules and restrictions, so be sure to do your research before you start pulling plastic!
Our Gyms Are Reopening
Many of our gyms have already reopened, or are preparing to reopen soon. Of the gyms we talked to, the latest opening date was May 25. Things are going to be different than they were before COVID-19; all of the gyms we heard from have new policies in place designed to slow the spread of the virus.
All of the gyms we talked to are only allowing access to members at this time, and members will need to reserve time slots to come in and climb or attend a class.
Group classes are being put on hold in some gyms, and in others the classes are still continuing but with smaller numbers of participants, and with no equipment provided by the gym.
Some gyms will only be allowing the use of liquid chalk, not powdered chalk. Liquid chalk decreases the amount of airborne chalk in the climbing gym, which may have a significant impact on the spread of the virus.
Our Gyms Are Supporting Us
Our gyms are going above and beyond to keep us safe while still allowing us to scratch that climbing itch. The gyms we spoke with are implementing a more thorough cleaning regimen, and some are even using medical grade anti-viral cleaning solutions.
They're also operating at limited capacity, keeping the numbers of climbers as small as possible at any given time. Gym staff will be wearing masks during their shift to keep patrons safe.
Our Gyms Need Our Support
So what can we do for our gyms in return? The answer was unanimous -- we can follow procedure.
If our gym requires us to wear a mask while we climb, that's what we need to do to support them. If our gym only allows liquid chalk, we need to leave our dry chalk at home. If our gym asks that only a certain amount of people be in a zone at the same time, we can take that seriously and stay out of a zone that's at capacity.
The climbing gym is a particularly unsafe place during a pandemic. Everybody is touching the same holds; people are exercising, therefore sweating and breathing heavily; people are inhaling chalk that has been on other peoples' hands. This means our gyms are going out of their way to reopen for us, and to keep us safe! We need to respect their policies and procedures with patience and kindness to return the favor.
The other thing we can do, if we're able, is keep our memberships active. Climbing gyms were hit hard during months of lockdown, and in order to continue operations, they need our financial support as well. If you feel unsafe climbing, or if you don't want to return to the gym until the restrictive procedures are lifted, consider keeping your membership active so your gym will still be there when it's time for you to return.
A huge thank you to the climbing gyms who spoke to us about this article!
- Momentum Indoor Climbing, Katy, TX
- Momentum Indoor Climbing Silver Street, Houston, TX
- inSPIRE Rock Indoor Climbing & Team Building Center, Houston, TX
- Climb So iLL, St. Louis, MO
- Crux Climbing Center, Austin, TX
And thank you to supporters of THICC Climbing. We love you, and we're excited to see you start to climb indoors very soon!