There was a time not too long ago when climbing was considered a niche sport. Few gyms offered it and dedicated climbers were few and far between. That time is no longer. Between the popularity of Ninja Warrior and 2018’s Free Solo, climbing – and its close cousin, bouldering – have become big business. And for good reason: climbing is one of those rare sports, like surfing, where you get a killer workout without it seeming like you’re working out. But, boy do you feel it the next day. Few things test your grip and core strength than a session on the climbing wall. Don’t believe us? These ten gyms, offering some of the best climbing experiences in Sydney, are ready and awaiting your arrival.
But before you get stuck in, a quick word on some of the basics. First, what’s the difference between climbing and bouldering? Good question. Climbing involves scaling a wall using a rope and a harness, while bouldering has you climbing a wall with only a crash pad beneath you. As a result, climbing walls are typically higher and involve more endurance while bouldering is often shorter (typically no higher than 4.5m) and necessitates problem-solving skills as you figure out the best route up.
In fact, bouldering routes are often called ‘problems’ for that very reason. Second, equipment. If you are climbing, things like a climb harness, a belay (essentially a braking device) and special shoes are required. For bouldering, it’s really only the shoes. Considering you risk falling some distance, it’s worth investing in the good stuff. However, all good climbing gyms, like the ones below, offer equipment for rental. We’d suggest trying out the equipment on offer first before investing.
|9 Degrees||Building 3/85 O’Riordan St, Alexandria NSW 2015||$21 casual entry; $704 six months entry||9degrees.|
|Climb Oz||2/40 Third Ave, Blacktown NSW 2148||$19 casual entry; $90 / month|
|Climb Fit Kirrawee||23 Waratah St, Kirrawee NSW 2232||$190 for ten visits; $390 three months|
|Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym, St Peters||Unit 4C/1-7 Unwins Bridge Road, St Peters NSW 2044||$22 casual entry; $399 three months|
|BlocHaus Marrickville||49 Fitzroy st, Marrickville NSW 2204||$21 casual entry; $124 one month|
|The Edge Rock Climbing Centre||9/10 Hudson Ave, Castle Hill NSW 2154||$21 casual entry; $240 three months|
|Skywood Climbing||Shop 1/1-3 Moore Rd, Freshwater NSW 2096||$24 casual entry; $216 ten visits|
|Nomad Bouldering||Unit 7/12 Chester St, Annandale, Sydney NSW 2038||$20 casual entry; $336 three months|
|UmbrellaNine Co Climbing||Shop 6010 Warringah Mall, Brookvale NSW 2100||$20 casual entry; $160 ten visits|
|Northern Beaches Rockhouse||Unit 4E ‘Winbourne Estate’ 9-13 Winbourne||$24 casual entry; $272 three months|
With its name deriving from the fact there are nine degrees of difficulty across the different ‘problems’, this gym was opened in 2015 in Alexandria and now boasts 5 different locations. So it’s clearly doing something right. With an in-house cafe allowing you to get your caffeine fix pre – or mid – climb, there’s a real communal vibe to 9 Degrees. Then there’s the fact all 9 Degrees locations are committed to being carbon neutral. Talk about added bonus.
Location: Building 3/85 O’Riordan St, Alexandria NSW 2015
Contact: 0408 870 473
Pricing: $21 casual entry; $704 six months entry
Located in Blacktown, what sets Climb Oz apart is the expert coaching on offer. While most gyms will ensure participants’ safety and then largely let you have at it, Oz focusses on the technical element and prides itself on having coaches who have trained some athletes to national success. Ideal for those who plan to get their Alex Honnold on.
Location: Level 2, 40 Third Ave, Blacktown
Contact: 02 9678 9635
Pricing: $19 day pass; $90 / month
Climb Fit Kirrawee
At 3500 square metres, this place is huge and the ideal environment for both pros and novices alike. As the name suggests, Climb Fit also has an impressive gym on site so it’s a one-stop shop for your climbing as well as your workouts. In other words, there’s little reason to leave.
Location: 23 Waratah St, Kirrawee NSW 2232
Contact: 02 9545 3407
Pricing: $190 for ten visits; $390 three months
Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym, St Peters
SICG boasts two impressive titles: it is the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest climbing gym and the only Aussie location to host a world championship level climbing comp. If that doesn’t do it for you, maybe the 420 different climbing routes and 180 bouldering problems on offer will. Come back to us when you’ve completed them all.
Location: Unit 4C/1-7 Unwins Bridge Road, St Peters NSW 2044
Contact: 02 9519 3325
Pricing: $22 casual entry; $399 three months
We’re fond of a pun here at Men’s Health so it’s little wonder BlocHaus makes it onto this list. Visit its website and within seconds you’re hit with two truly top-quality puns: ‘our haus is your haus’ and ‘boulder than most’. Nice. Very nice. But clever wordplay aside, BlocHaus focuses on bouldering and the social element of the sport. So, if you’re keen to make some new pals and solve a few ‘problems’ this is the place for you.
Location: 49 Fitzroy st, Marrickville NSW 2204
Contact: (02) 7228 9304
Pricing: $21 casual entry; $124 one month
The Edge Rock Climbing Centre
With an emphasis on rock climbing over bouldering, The Edge is a serious gym offering training plans as well as competitions. There’s also yoga on rotation enabling you to stretch away those post-climb niggles.
Location: 9/10 Hudson Ave, Castle Hill NSW 2154
Contact: (02) 9899 8228
Pricing: $16 casual entry; $240 three months
Declaring themselves the Northern Beaches’ premier climbing gym (who are we to argue?), Skywood is owned by former climbing world cup competitor Yossi Sundakov-Krumins. So you know it’s legit. Another bonus is the interior design which more resembles a chic co-working space than a sweaty gym.
Location: Shop 1/1-3 Moore Rd, Freshwater NSW 2096
Contact: (02) 9905 7859
Pricing: $24 casual entry; $216 ten visits
While SIGG is the biggest climbing gym in the hemisphere, Nomad is the biggest when it comes to bouldering. There’s over 1.6km in wall length and they have a dedicated competition wall that enables you to test your progress. With an in-house physio on board, Nomad will also take care of your recovery and rehab.
Location: Unit 7/12 Chester St, Annandale, Sydney NSW 2038
Contact: 0402 670 784
Pricing: $20 casual entry; $336 three months
Umbrella Nine Co Climbing
AKA Unco climbing, Umbrella is a family-focussed bouldering gym that encourages you to bring the kids. Unco is fun, accessible and, crucially, it offers a family activity you can do regardless of the weather. You’re welcome.
Location: Shop 6010 Warringah Mall, Brookvale NSW 2100
Contact: 02 9905 0047
Pricing: $20 casual entry; $160 ten visits
Northern Beaches Rockhouse
Based in Brookvale, our favourite feature at the Rockhouse is the ‘Starter Climbing Clinic’. The aim here is to get you up to speed on the basics in order to fast track your progress. Classes are small and each week they focus on a new skill area. As the learning curve in climbing is steep, this is well worth the investment.
Location: Unit 4E ‘Winbourne Estate’ 9-13 Winbourne Road Brookvale, NSW 2100
Contact: (02) 9905 6202
Pricing: $24 casual entry; $272 three months