Scaling the Walls at Tempe's ClimbMax

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Not all Phoenix fun comes with dim lighting and fancy cocktails. Sometimes, there's nothing better than endorphins, sunshine, and sweat. Lover of all things outdoors, The Outsider explores the more natural side of Phoenix.

Following the hubbub caused by Climbmax climbing gym's brief closure and sudden re-opening a few weeks ago, we decided to check out what all the fuss was about. Our first impression: Employees are easy-going (and nice to look at) and more than ready to help first-timers and pros alike. 

Being first-time climbers, we walked in with a confident confession: "We have no idea what we're doing." And without fail, our helpful guide taught us how to lace, harness up, tie a figure-eight knot, and attempt to scale the wall like the rest of 'em.

How did the climbing go? Find out after the jump.

The Spot: ClimbMax Gym located at 1330 West Auto Drive, Suite 108 in Tempe. Visit their website here.

The Price: $12 per day or $18 per day with gear. Monthly memberships are also available.

The Equipment: Wear loose fitting clothing, but not too loose. Bring a pair of socks and any rock climbing gear you may have laying around (harness, carabiner, shoes). We brought socks and rented the rest.

Sweat Factor: Rock-climbing is a lot like going to the gym. You work all the

major muscle groups to the sound of loud grunts and yelling while hoping the studly person next to you doesn't notice your sweat drizzling southward. That said, it's also fun. As if the way up isn't entertaining enough, the way down is an adrenaline rush and test of trust in the person holding the rope on the floor.

The workout targets legs, arms and abs (i.e. the entire body), so it's a great substitute for weight lifting for the gym-hating types.

The Scenery: The venue has a hip vibe. Splashes of bright color and artwork gave the gym a hang-out kind of feel. And the view from the top of a climb is always worthwhile -- even if the view is merely of the climbers below.

Ups and Downs:  Our guide spent at least 20 minutes training us on the safety procedures and rules of climbing. He was relaxed, funny and to the point. The walls feature all difficulty levels and the walk-through cave is an impressive bonus. It was a cool place to hang out, but the high prices may keep us away. Even the monthly membership, at $55 a month, is higher than that of most traditional fitness gyms. 

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.