Phoenix is notorious for its hot weather, and there’s nothing worse than baking in the sun all day slipping off some sandy desert rock climb. Obviously, the best solution is to head indoors. Regardless of what level you’re climbing at, or if you’ve never climbed at all, this comprehensive list of rock climbing gyms in Phoenix, Arizona will have you scaling the walls in no time.
Rock On With This List Of The Best Rock Climbing Gyms In Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Rock Gym
- Location: 1353 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281
- Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top Rope, Lead Climbing
No worries for new climbers, there are plenty of learning opportunities at Phoenix Rock Gym that’ll get you sending on their 56 top ropes and hanging around the gym in no time. Plus, two floors of bouldering provide enough blocks for pure bouldering sessions. However, if being high up is all you’ve been thinking about, not to worry! The roped walls are 30ft tall and there are plenty of them, with 17,000 sq. ft. of climbing wall to scale. If you fancy climbing in Phoenix this gym won’t disappoint!
Black Rock Bouldering Gym
- Location: 10436 N 32nd St, AZ 85028
- Types of Climbing: Bouldering
Black Rock Bouldering Gym features the more modern, 15 foot tall, no ropes approach to climbing. With plenty of new-school blocks to choose from this climbing gym offers some of the best routes in Phoenix. Plus, there are regular yoga classes that’ll keep you limber for those big moves, and climbing classes for those looking to bump their grade to the next level. About more than just climbing, this gym will get you fit and flexible in no time.
Focus Climbing Centre
- Location: 2150 W Broadway Road Suite 103, Mesa, AZ, 85202
- Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Autobelay, Lead Climbing
Focus Climbing Centre is a super diverse range of climbing from slabs to caves, this gym features everything you need to become a crusher on the Phoenix scene. All the taller walls feature autobelays, so you can forget about your flaky belayer and rock up whenever you want to. However, you’ll still be able to lead as the walls do feature quickdraws. Lessons for all ages are available to help you progress and find your groove. Plus all their matting is seamless lowering the potential for sprained ankles.
- Location: 1330 W. Auto Drive, Suite 108, Tempe, AZ 85284
- Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top Rope, Lead Climbing, Weight room
All types of climbing are on offer at the Climbmax Gym. Featuring 2 floors of bouldering that get reset weekly, 150 top rope routes, 45 lead climbing routes, and dedicated training areas. Their Climbing 101 class will get anyone new comfortable with the ropes, while their Lead Climbing classes teach you not just how to climb but also how to belay with a variety of devices. Additionally, the gym has a gear shop, so you can pick up what you need for your next climbing adventure in Phoenix.
Ape Index Rock Climbing Gym
- Location: 9700 N 91st Ave, Peoria, AZ 85345
- Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top Rope, Lead Climbing
If you like to top rope Ape Index Rock Climbing Gym in Phoenix is for you. With belay devices on the hanging ropes all you need are shoes and your harness. But, if you’re new that’s no bother, rental equipment and lessons are readily available. Plus there are training and bouldering areas for getting stronger and climbing through the grades. Their climbing tunnel can get you feeling confident on those roof climbs with safe falls the whole way up. Further, if you’re looking to get climbing outside for the first time their private lessons can give you the skills you need to be safe.
AZ On The Rocks
- Location: 16447 N. 91st Street, Suite 105, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
- Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Top Rope, Autobelay, Lead Climbing
Whether you’re a rock novice or a stone master AZ On The Rocks has got everything you want. Not just all the climbing you could imagine, but all the extras that climbers love: Slacklines, ninja courses, rappelling, and yoga. This climbing gym also has full gear rentals including ropes which I will say can be difficult to find in a gym. Their shop will keep you stocked on gear and mid climbing session snacks — An essential part of the send.
Additional Resources for Climbing in Phoenix
What to Bring
- Clothes – There’s no best outfit for climbing and figuring out what to wear is always a little tricky when you’re just starting. Shorts or trousers? Honestly, just dress for the temperature and any sportswear will do. Although protecting your knees is often a good idea, and going from climbing to casual without changing in a good pair of trousers can save you space in your gym bag. Honestly as long as it’s stretchy you’ll be fine, but if you can get a pair with a diamond gusset like Hippy Tree’s Sierra Pants or Patagonia’s Venga Rock Pants, you won’t regret it. Shorts wise, anything baggy or stretchy would also be fine, but I have noticed the cool kids do like to wear Prana’s Mojo Shorts. IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TIME – BRING SOCKS (those rentals aren’t getting any newer)
- Water – Any respectable athlete will tell you that staying hydrated is really important, and any climber will tell you there are 3 options for bottles, all of which you must plaster in stickers. They are: The old reliable BPA free Nalgene, the elite Hydroflask, and finally the eco friendly Klean Kanteen.
- Snacks – There is quite frankly nothing better than a little nibble when you’ve been trying hard, but a full meal will probably derail your journey on the send train. Personally, I always carry some sort of cereal bar to keep me going mid session such as Cliff Bars or RXBARs.
- Tape – I’m talking good sticky zinc tape. Offered by a host of climbing brands and easily bought at your local gym, tape is used to save some skin or seal up that flapper. Metolius makes my favorite, but there’s plenty of options out there.
- Hand Balm – There’s plenty on the market, but I’ve had the same nub of climb on for a couple of years and it’s doing me good. Although, I did recently get a tub of Joshua Tree and that stuff really works.
- Nail clippers – Now this is super underrated and honestly the last thing you want is to be the one making horrible scratching noises every time you crimp. Additionally, long toenails can make squeezing your feet into already tight climbing shoes all the more painful, so be sure to pick up a pair and throw them in your bag.
Established climbers checklist
- Climbing Shoes – The staple of all climbing, a great selection can be found online here. Picking the right shoe can be really tricky, but look out for our future advice article.
- Chalk Bag – Sweaty hands are the bane of a climbers existence. We carry chalk to quickly deal with those sweaty tips and up the friction. Chalk comes in balls, loose, bricks, or liquid, whilst the bags come in all shapes and sizes. Boulderers might prefer ‘buckets‘ to avoid losing your chalk in a tumble.
- Harness – These are much of the same, but some are particularly light to help you hit the higher grades, though they often end up losing a couple of features. Some of the best do-all harnesses include Petzl Adjama, Black Diamond Momentum, and Mammut Sender Fast Adjust which feature enough gear loops for getting into more complex climbing, as well as adjustable leg loops for when you need to layer up.
- Belay Plate – There are really only 3 factors to consider when choosing one of these; what you learnt to use, where you want to take your climbing, and the cost. Standard ATC, Guide ATCs and Assisted Braking Devices all work, but it’s really all down to personal choice. The flexibility of guide plates make them a favorite amongst those looking transfer their knowledge outdoors, while assisted devices can feel more secure to beginners.
- Brush – You only need a small personal brush for when the chalk has built up and make the holds smooth, a lot of gyms do provide them so you don’t need one. Saying that, why not accessorize your chalk bag with a colorful brush like these Lapis Boar hair brushes!
- Rope – When you get to leading you’ll probably want your own rope, but if you’re climbing indoors avoid making the ‘I need a light skinny rope to send’ mistake. You’re going to be running loads of laps, so get a good thick dynamic rope like this 9.9mm aptly named Workhorse rope from Mammut or even a fat 10.2mm from Black Diamond that’ll stand up to heavy gym abuse. Also, since you’ll be indoors you can skip any dry treatments that push the price upwards.
- Backpack – You’ll need a gym bag of sorts to help you lug all this around, and how big you go is totally up to you and what you’re going to be carrying. If you’re just hitting up the bouldering gym, or don’t mind wondering around with the rope on show, then a good 15-20L bag like the AR 20 from Arc’teryx is ideal. Plus it’ll suit all your future fast and light days. Going up to 20-35L, will let you start packing those extra layers and maybe get the rope inside your bag too. At this size Patagonia’s Crag Smith is full of features and makes a great all round day pack!
Post send and extras
- Belay Gloves – By no means do you need belay gloves, but some people like to keep their hands a little safer just in case (some people do let go if the rope starts to burn their hands). The trick to these gloves is leather palms to achieve the right friction. Outdoor research make a great set called the Fossil Rock Gloves, and they’re fingerless for both breathability and style points.
- Crack Climbing Gloves – If you’ve been inspired by the Wide Boyz, but are tired of ripping tape off the back of your hands then a pair of the new Black Diamond Crack Gloves or Outdoor Research’s Splitter Gloves could be for you.
- Skin File – If your calluses are getting a bit dry and you’re starting to get the equivalent of a hangnail in the middle of your finger, this is a sure fire way to end up with one big flapper. You can file it down with one of Climbskin’s portable solutions and avoid that week of taping up an avoidable mistake.
- Shoe deodorant – Climbing shoes get notoriously smelly, lucky I’ve got 2 great solutions for you – Boot Bananas and Disinfectant spray, I genuinely use these and they work a treat and when I run out the shoes stay out my bag.
- Acupressure Ring – Who knows if these work or not, but I’ve been using one religiously on a pulley injury and I think it’s helped a lot. They’re pretty cheap, so why not?
- Long Term Antiperspirant Treatments – Good skin care is important to keep you in top climbing shape. Rhino Skin Solutions are a great brand, endorsed and used by all the big names in climbing, with the big benefit of reducing sweating. I mean the less time you’re hanging around chalking up, the more energy you’ll have to send. The job lot Skin Abuse Pack and their Tip Juice might help you push your grades sooner.