06 May Gym Guide – Climb Up – Oklahoma City, OK
For the second climbing stop on my epic road trip across the country, I visited Climb Up in Downtown, Oklahoma City. What a crazy gym this was!
Getting Started: After signing waivers and buying a day pass, we were given a quick tour of the gym, which consisted of several large, conjoined silos, with routes both indoors and outdoors. Newcomers or those without a partner could boulder or use autobelays, while those who wished to lead or top rope had to pass belay tests. Due to the vertical nature of the walls and safety concerns, it wasn’t required that climbers take a fall during the lead test here. This is understandable as I’m sure the gym doesn’t want to risk unnecessary falls into a concrete wall, but it does leave a bit of a safety gap. Therefore, if you’re going to lead here, I would definitely recommend that you have a prior relationship with your belayer and the knowledge that both of you can give soft catches.
Facility: Climb Up has been repurposed from a cluster of Grain Silos, and as such, it does not resemble your typical climbing gym at all. The walls are either the bare concrete of the silo, or wooden extensions, which allow the gym to introduce some overhang and slab. The gym is just recently opened and from what I understand is still being constructed, but as of now, Climb Up offers top rope, lead climbing, a few auto belays and a small, steeply overhung bouldering cave. There is also a campus board/training area, and a small climbing shop at the front desk.
Climbing: Due to the nature of the silos, routes here tended to be vertical and very long! I found the setting to be technical, balancey, and fun. There were also times when holds were purposefully left off routes, forcing the climber to utilize scars and pockets in the walls of the silo. All of this made every route feel like something of a puzzle that you had to decipher. I thought the setters did a great job of introducing/reinforcing technique by creating thoughtful and specific movements in every climb.
On top of this, the sheer length of the routes – up to 90 feet – is great for endurance and building up your head game. I think the hardest route I climbed was an 11b and I was certainly feeling pumped, as well as NERVOUS! Haha. It’s odd, but for some reason, climbing upwards into this very enclosed silo, I felt a strange type of exposure and kept finding myself looking down. Because of the height of the routes, the bolts are also more spaced out then your typical gym so that can certainly mess with your head as well.
Tucked in between two silos, Climb Up also has a bouldering cave, which offers some training ground for steep climbing. The space was utilized well with several problems that made use of not only the roof but also the side walls, creating some interesting overhung stemming problems.
Besides the indoor climbing, Climb Up also sports a few lead and top rope routes outside, which is super fun and unique! At the time I was there, the routes were all pretty easy jug hauls, but heady nevertheless, especially when the whipping Oklahoma wind kicked up and you could feel your rope being blown off the wall beneath you!
All in all, I had a great time at Climb Up. Though the terrain was a bit limited due to the mostly vertical walls, this gym is incredibly unique and fun, and I would absolutely recommend a visit!
You can find more information about Climb Up here.