Test your balance on the slackline.

written by Jennifer Halley

I’m sure that by now many of you have sent some problems at The Rock Boxx, Salem’s first bouldering gym, which opened last October. Even the dirtbag climbers need a place to train during the Willamette Valley’s rainy winter.

If you haven’t been over to The Rock Boxx yet and want to, here is a small rundown on the place to get you started so you don’t feel overwhelmed when you walk in.

Bouldering, which is a style of rock climbing that uses no ropes or harnesses but provides thick pads to fall on, is not the only activity The Rock Boxx offers. Aside from the various different levels of bouldering routes – known as problems – to try out, they have a slackline to test your balance, a weights area complete with free weights, squat rack, two hangboards, a rope and pair of gymnast’s rings, as well as yoga classes that happen weekly at different times.

20170304_110232Skills classes, such as conditioning and technical clinics as well as intro to bouldering classes, are offered by instructors to help you become a better climber. Additionally there are events such as Ladies Night, happening every Wednesday, to help encourage everyone to come out and have a good time. And don’t worry: there are plenty of opportunities for children too, like after school programs and climbing classes specifically designed for kids. Overall, The Rock Boxx’s intention is to give everyone a chance to learn how to climb, become stronger and more confident, and have fun.

If you want to go check out The Rock Boxx for the day you will pay $13 for a day pass. If you find that after one session you are hooked and want to go climbing a few times a month they also offer a 10-day pass for $97.  If you decide to go full dirtbag and live out of your van you can purchase a monthly pass that will automatically deduct $59 each month from your checking account and you can climb as many times as you want. In addition to these basic options there are also yearly passes, couple’s passes, children’s passes, and student prices. Something for everyone.

Since its opening, I’ve been to The Rock Boxx a handful of times and love it. There are a multiplicity of climbing problems to keep climbers of all levels entertained and challenged for hours – or days. But the route setters keep us guessing by setting problems often so there is never a chance to become bored. Many gyms and outdoor climbing areas have routes rated with the “V” or Hueco system. You might see a notation next to a route that reads “V0” or “V6”, the higher the number the harder the route. At The Rock Boxx the route setters have used a system similar to the V system where routes get progressively harder the higher the number is, but if you climb at other gyms you will notice that a “2” at The Rock Boxx is a little easier than a V2 outside or at another gym. This allows climbers of all ages and abilities to come in and enjoy themselves without feeling discouraged because they couldn’t even send a V0. Does this make the problems at The Rock Boxx a little easier to climb? Yes, and no. It all depends on your ability as a climber. Don’t get too caught up on the grading system – the goal is to have fun and no matter your skill level you will find something challenging.

This gym never seems crowded enough that I have to wait in line, so to speak, to climb, and if I get too pumped, I can spend some time at the weights rack or hangboards, or wait around for a yoga class. Coming from the climbing wall at Western Oregon University, I love the amount of diversity in problems, the high-energy atmosphere, and the climbing community that comes with this gym. I always feel like I have accomplished something at the end of a climbing session – whether it is sending a new grade or improving an aspect of my technique. The Rock Boxx is a great gym and I encourage everyone to try it out.

If you are interested in checking out the classes and services offered by the Rock Boxx visit their website: http://therockboxx.com/ or stop by the gym in person.