Want to add bouldering and top roping to your gym routine? Opening Saturday, the Cliffs is Philly’s largest rock climbing facility featuring not only hundreds of climbing routes, but also cardio machines, strength-training equipment, and group fitness classes.
“Climbing will be in the Olympics this year. There’s now an award-winning documentary [Free Solo] based on climbing. It’s really in the public consciousness right now,” says the Cliffs owner Mike Wolfert. “Philly was underserved — it was one of the only major cities without a full-service, state-of-the-art climbing gym.”
The Cliffs comes from New York, where it has three locations, including an outdoor gym under the Manhattan Bridge. Philly is its first location in another state and, at 40,000-square-feet, also its biggest. According to the company, it’s also the largest climbing gym in Pennsylvania.
Located in a former ice factory (1010 Callowhill St.), the facility is open daily, with introductory climbing classes offered throughout the week. Membership costs $85 per month. Day passes and monthly packages are available, too.
Take a peek inside and learn what to expect before you go.
The bottom floor of the Cliffs features climbing routes for every level. There are also five auto-belay stations available for those who wish to top-rope climb without a partner.
The entire second floor is made up of bouldering walls, with chairs scattered around for pals to sit back and coach you as you move.
Next summer marks rock climbing’s debut into the Summer Olympics, and now you, too, can train like a top-tier athlete. The Cliffs’ Olympic speed wall is identical to the one that will be used in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It includes a start pad that triggers a stopwatch the moment you begin to climb, and a finish pad that you’ll high-five at the top to calculate your time.
Mimicking the experience of scaling a crack on an actual cliff face, these two routes test your technical skills and, likely, your pain tolerance. Footholds surround each crack in the wall to provide support as you climb to the top.
The gym’s sizable retail shop displays 100-plus products, including more than three dozen varieties of climbing shoes, as well as helmets, harnesses, carabiners, and fuel. Members get discounts on what they buy.
Guests will find free weights, kettlebells, bench presses, and a squat rack, as well as climbing-specific tools like a campus board and hangboards. There’s also a rotating Treadwall Max6, comparable to a StairMaster for climbers.
The gym area includes five treadmills (including two human-powered machines), five bikes, and two rowing machines. The Cliffs says a StairMaster is coming soon.
Adjacent to the fitness room, a MoonBoard and hydraulic tension board let you adjust the angle of the climbing surface and choose from a database of hundreds of bouldering problems.
A full-time staff changes climbing routes every day, switching up different sections of the gym to provide never-ending challenges.
Free for members, there’s a daily yoga class, with more classes planned for the future, depending on demand.
The large locker rooms include their own sauna to help you relax after a tough climb, as well as showers and a foot-washing station. Towel service is included.