99 problems but a (climbing) gym ain’t one: Eagle Climbing + Fitness champions the sport with offerings for all athletes
For many years, Eagle County only had casual climbing walls in fitness and recreation centers. Thanks to Eagle County’s resident climbing expert Larry Moore, that’s a problem no more. Moore opened Eagle Climbing + Fitness in 2018 and with over a year in business, it has already proven to be a wild success.
The climbing gym is offering a February Fitness Challenge: three new strength training fitness classes have been added to the regular roster, and GOAT Training Strength Camp will also hold three additional classes for eight weeks. The cost to participate is $40 for existing Eagle Climbing + Fitness members, and the person who attends the most classes over those eight weeks will receive their $40 back.
While Eagle Climbing + Fitness hosts plenty of world-class opportunities for climbers of all disciplines, ages and skill levels, it’s also a one-stop shop for all fitness pursuits.
“In one membership, it’s yoga, it’s fitness, it’s climbing,” said Larry Moore, the owner of the gym. What that means is that in one place, members can take classes with Yoga off Broadway, who runs classes out of a yoga studio. They can use the standard gym area for strength training or take classes with certified GOAT Training instructors. And of course, they can test their vertical prowess on bouldering walls, top rope belay systems, practice crack climbing, rappelling, slacklining and more.
“We also have a class that teaches you to go outside,” he said. “We’ve really got the ability to teach every aspect of climbing.”
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Eagle Climbing + Fitness has plans add an ice climbing training wall, which is pretty much the only discipline of climbing the gym doesn’t currently have.
Moore was a USA Climbing coach for the last 16 years and headed the Vail Athletic Club’s indoor climbing program for nearly two decades. Prior to Eagle Climbing + Fitness’s grand opening last year, the VAC’s 32-foot wall was one of the Vail Valley’s only places to indoor rock climb.
“I did a lot of research over a long, long time at a lot of different gyms across the nation with competitive athletes. I researched gym development over the past decade,” he said, recalling his travels with the USA Climbing team. “It’s been a need that I’ve seen for a long time. People knew that it was coming, and were just waiting and waiting for it.”
“This is like a big-city gym. There’s nothing like it from Grand Junction to Golden,” Moore said.
For his gym, he wanted to design an all-inclusive space that would offer experienced climbers a chance to hone in the nuances of their skillset, while also creating accessibility for kids, families and new climbers. The kids’ zone is a room dedicated to learning and birthday parties, but adult instruction also takes place in there.
“We offer a class called introduction to climbing,” Moore said. “We learn in there so it can be totally isolated, not be out where people are challenging themselves. It’s a great learning space. Eventually we go out into the big room and it feels like an accomplishment.”
In addition to kids’ summer camps and offerings for experienced climbers, there is also the Golden Eagles Club for climbers aged 50 and over. Per a 2018 interview with Moore in Rock and Ice magazine, the oldest member at the gym was 60 years old, and the youngest was 3 years old.
Climbing makes its debut in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, including competitions in bouldering, sport and speed climbing. Naturally, the gym offers bouldering and sport climbing, two of the most common ways people climb, but it also has a speed wall, a more specialized offering. The holds are the same across the whole body of speed climbing, and the challenge is to get to the top of the wall as quickly as possible. Eagle Climbing + Fitness offers the speed course in the gym, providing climbers the opportunity to test and challenge themselves on an elite level.
Speaking of elite level, another main tenet of Eagle Climbing + Fitness is providing a competition space for athletes. The gym has hosted high school competitions as well as USA Climbing-sanctioned events and dates of the Reel Rock Film Festival, which shows climbing and adventure films.
Upstairs from the main gym space is Mac’s Training Room, named for Moore’s local friend who passed away, is a custom training wall that can lower from 15-45 degrees overhanging. It’s called a Tension Board and is connected to an iPad app with more than 15,000 problems – translated from climbing-speak, that means routes up the wall. It lights up which holds climbers can use to get up the wall. Problems are available in all difficulties, offering a practically never-ending chance to practice technique and skill.
Even beyond the physical and technical aspects of the sport, Moore loves that he’s been able to create a space for the social aspect of the sport to thrive. Walk into any given climbing gym across America and you’ll likely see groups of friends cheering on each other as they solve problems and enjoying the sport together.
“It’s hard for everybody, no matter what level you’re at – the best climbers in the world fall the most because they’re doing the hardest thing out there,” he said. “And beginners are the same way. There’s a lot of support from other people because we’re all being challenged in different ways.”