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Accept What You Cannot Change…That Climbing Gyms HAVE Changed

getting the most out of your home climbing wall

Change isn’t such a bad thing. About 7 years ago, there was no such thing as 5.15d. More than 100 years ago, there was no such thing as bouldering. And more than 30 years ago, there was no such thing as a climbing gym.


But change can also be unwelcome.


And it can also be both celebrated and opposed at the same time. And this is the rock and the hard place (pun intended) that the climbing community currently finds itself stuck between.


There is no arguing that climbing has changed a lot in recent years—especially gym climbing. It’s gotten “big.” It’s become mainstream. We used to be able to walk into our local climbing gym and know everybody, shake hands and kiss babies, pull hard on slippery, greased-up old holds, curse loudly when we fell at the chains, grunt, get psyched when Rage Against the Machine was being blasted through the sound system, and assist the route setters in sandbagging the boulders (“You think this is V7? Feels like a 6 to me…”)


Today, it’s more like…who are all these people? Why are there so many kids? Why did this V2 get a V7 tag? Are there any boulders that don’t require me to hop, skip, and jump across 4 volumes, dyno to the jug, and back flag to stop the barn door? Why is this kid in gym rentals spraying bad beta at me? What grade does a red hexagon mean? Will someone please stop this toddler from running under the bouldering cave already? Are we really listening to 50s pop radio? Seriously, which adult is responsible for this kid?


Of course, on the other side of these questions is a budding community of newbie climbers who are psyched to be sending “V7” while their kids run around and play. There is a whole community of gym boulderers who live for parkour-style routes that test their coordination and strength. Spraying beta—be it good or bad—makes a lot of new climbers feel “part of,” and, who knows, maybe there are even some people who really do get amped up when Stand By Me comes on the radio.


Many OG climbers will argue that climbing has lost its soul, but we don’t think it’s lost—we just think it’s changing. With the influx of so many new climbers comes an influx of so much more money—and, let’s be real…old school dirtbag climbers aren’t exactly known for having lots of expendable cash. Climbing gyms are capitalizing on this new, more affluent audience…and paying them more attention than the mostly broke 5.14 climber living out of their Honda Civic. For better or worse, business is business, right?


Instead of being annoyed by the soft grades and bad music and increasing membership fees and kids, kids, and more kids, try reminding yourself that the money for your gym’s brand-new Kilter Board came from the new members you’re so frustrated with. And if that doesn’t acquiesce your irritation, well, it’s time to accept what you cannot change…and change the things you can. You can’t change the fact that climbing gyms are having a bit of an identity crisis, but you CAN change where you train.


May we suggest the comfort of your own home?


Rockstar Volumes is run by a group of New England-based climbers who feel what you’re feeling, and while we’re not writing off the gyms just yet, we have been busy building a variety of training tools that can bring climbing training to your own home. Some of our most popular products include:


1. The Rocket Wall: This freestanding home climbing wall comes in a variety of sizes and steepness options, or can be custom designed to fit in your space. We even offer a Kilter-compatible wall, with lighting and everything!


2. The Rocketeer: Less than a home climbing wall and more than a hangboard, this self-standing mini wall packs a lot of punch for taking up so little space.


3. The Rock-Stah: Our best-selling wooden hangboard, designed to work with over-the-door pull-up bars and even hold your cell phone for those sets of 7:3 repeaters.


If you can’t accept that climbing has changed (and is continuing to change), setting up a climbing training area in your own home could be the solution you’ve been looking for. We offer interest-free financing through Affirm, and ship our products anywhere in the continental United States. Start shopping now »ou out there. 


Featured Climbing Training Gear

Maverick: The on-the-go, bring it anywhere hangboard. On a family road trip to keep your fingers in shape. We like to bring this to the crag with us to keep our fingers warm—without losing skin on mediocre warm-ups—at that steep, thuggy sport crag.

Pinch Blocks: Don't let pinch strength stop you from sending! Use it while hanging, lifting, and even for one arm hangs; featuring various widths for pinching, a 20 mm edge, and a jug.

The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…

The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.


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