The following article is a paid collaboration with Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.
Indoor climbing gyms are the most revolutionary advancement in rock climbing.
Why? Well, for one, climbing gyms are unbelievably fun. Not to mention that you can get a low-impact, full-body workout. And luckily for you, West Virginia now has three commercial indoor gyms to get your climbing fix.
1. eNeRGy Rock Gym, Charleston
Head over to eNeRGy Rock Gym, just outside of downtown Charleston, for more than 2,500 square feet of bouldering space.
The owners of eNeRGy, David and Julia Statler, are both experienced climbers themselves. They decided to build an indoor gym to stay fit and train during the workweek.
"eNeRGy was built for the local community," David said. “We knew we all needed a place to climb, train and hangout.”
The funky capitalization of the name using the capital letters "N, R, and G" are a play on eNeRGy’s roots as a training center and community hub for climbers who spend most of their weekends at the New River Gorge.
The bouldering focus creates a more social atmosphere, and it can also help you sharpen your technique and hone in on your problem-solving skills, since the problems are shorter than routes. But don’t be worried that it will be too hard for you— the Statlers stressed that the gym isn’t just for experienced boulderers. In fact, many of their members started as total novices and families looking to try something new.
"Gyms make climbing more accessible to kids [and parents] as well," David said. “Gyms provide a controlled environment where the mental hurdle to simply trying out climbing is much lower.”
Experienced climbers can work on specific goals to put into practice outside on real rock. The Statlers said several of their members have made real strides in their climbing ability outside by training inside.
2. Outside-In Climbing Gym, Beckley
Outside-In Climbing Gym in Beckley is just 30 minutes from the world-class climbing area of the New River Gorge, so you’ll probably be sharing the walls with some local climbers looking for a quick after-work burn session. Take advantage of the opportunity and ask for local beta if you plan to head outside to the New River Gorge.
If you’ve never climbed on rope before, take a class with Outside-In Climbing Gym’s trained staff of instructors. You’ll learn all the the basic climbing skills to scale the 35-foot walls in no time! The owner, Kevin Traube, wants the indoor gym to give more people the skills to explore the New River Gorge.
The gym strikes a good balance between a training gym and a family-friendly, top-rope birthday party palace, so be prepared to share the wall with kids at times, especially on the weekends. Your best bet is to get there early (or around the end of the work day) on a weekday.
For a little energy boost before your training session, stop in the Chocolate Moose Coffee Shop just next door.
3. Climbing New Heights Indoor Climbing Gym, Martinsburg
Climbing New Heights in Martinsburg is both a great training facility for experienced outdoor climbers, and a place where new climbers can safely transition into the sport. Whether you’re a first-time climber, or need a place to train while you’re in town, explore more than 1,500 square feet of climbing surface.
Gym owner, Brance Keesecker, is an experienced climber and PCGI-certified guide. Sign up for a guided outside climbing course, with options for beginner climbers (5.5) through advanced (5.12).
Bring the whole family for a half- or full-day trip, or just learn how to rappel down the face of a cliff if you’d rather go down than up. The gym is also open for birthday parties, team-building events, too.
Originally written for West Virginia .