The Best of the Best in Tempe…The Phoenix Rock Gym

The doors to climbing heaven

Well two Arizona climbing gyms back to back = very raw skin and sore body!

I just visited The Phoenix Rock Gym and I must say IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES!

Super fun atmosphere, upbeat and friendly staff, awesome art on the climbing walls and REALLY GREAT ROUTE SETTING!

Next to Brooklyn Boulders and MPHC (NYC), I would say this gym has some pretty amazing routes, KUDOS to this gym.  Warning, if you boulder a ton, put your ego in your pocket and get out those ‘cohones’ bouldering shoes because it seems bouldering in this part of Arizona is stiff, but very much close to grades you find outdoors.

What I loved so much about The Phoenix Rock Gym is that I learned a ton from just a V0 through V2.  There are no jug hauls in this range. So what do you warm up?  They set up boulder problems and grade them 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, and 5.9, because jug hauls are generally at the 5.6-5.7 grade with a little less at 5.8 and 5.9 range, BUT NOT V0.  If you go with the international climbing table, a V0 starts at a 5.10d.  Some may disagree, but if you want to go anywhere in the world and climb a V0, it will feel like a 5.10d crux.  Anything below this is universally considered VB.


I truly appreciate this gym’s grading system.  Even though grading can be subjective, this gym’s routes are truly close to a universal grading system.  I am here for a week and I will return to this AMAZING gym for repeat bouldering butt whoopings!

Tips from one climber to another:

  • This gym is over15,000 square feet with separate lead, top rope and two bouldering areas.
  • Hours of Operation – Mon – Friday 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Weekends 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
  • Cost – Day pass is $13 ($18 with full gear) plus punch passes, group rates and so on.
  • Belay Certifications – A video for TR and staff orientation at no cost.
  • Top Rope (TR) Belay – A ~7 minute video with staff member orientation is required. Once completed and one demonstrates safe belay techniques, you are free to climb it on!  Note that all TR ropes are rigged with gri-gris.
  • Lead Belay and Climbing – After TR belay test, if you desire to get your lead tag, you can proceed with the test after staff member orientation.  I would call to make sure how busy they are before you come.  You need to bring your own rope, but good news is the lead area is dedicated and huge with lots of lead options.
  • Bouldering – There are two bouldering areas, one on the ground level and one upstairs is for more advanced climbers.  Both offer many wall types and climbing styles.  Bouldering is a MUST at this gym, I am amazed with the quality of the problems I got on, KUDOS to this gym for amazing sequences that make sense yet teach a climber valuable climbing skills.

So what are you waiting for, get exposed to some of what I think is Tempe/Phoenix’s best indoor climbing routes!

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