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[The Collection]: Rock Climbing Gyms

Betas, rock problems, chalk bags, lead climbing, toe holds and more.
2023-12-18 12:00:00

Shanghai has a strong lineup of top rope and lead climbing walls, the tall ones with a harness, and bouldering, short walls, no harness. Be warned it's easy to develop a climbing habit. Talk to a climber and hear about the adrenaline-fueled thrill of solving a puzzle and conquering nature.

If you are already an enthusiast looking for your niche, the city's concrete jungle has many synthetic rocks to climb. These aren't just stand-alone walls, like the free bouldering wall at West Bund, or the touristy Mt. Mall, rather these are enclosed gym ecosystems covered with colorful holds.

Most gyms open in the afternoon on weekdays and for the full day on weekends. Check the venue listings for exact times.

park climbing gym

The Facility: Tall climbing walls and bouldering. There are many different routes at different levels, with plenty for beginners. They say 80% of first-timers can make it to the top. They also offer a bouldering gym, allowing you to try two different types of climbs here.

During the day there are mostly kids and some pros doing their own thing, but it can get quite busy in the evenings and weekends.

All children aged 3 and above are welcome to climb here.

The Price: 135 RMB for a full day pass, 100 RMB if you're interested in only bouldering, and 20 RMB more for shoes and harnesses. Wednesdays are half-price for female climbers. Or buy a deal for 1,380rmb which gets you in 13 times but does not include equipment rental. They offer various options for multiple sessions, including one-on-one and group training. The pricing is 600 RMB for a 60-minute individual session and 450 RMB for a 60-minute group session. If you purchase more classes, there may be discounts available.

pongo climbing gym

The Facility: Pongo is a bouldering gym tucked inside an old lane, usually packed with experienced climbers and serious hobbyists. Occasionally there will be a star sighting; famous climbers drop in when they are in Shanghai. The place feels vibrant, comfortable, and amiable – even if you're a beginner, you won't feel too intimidated.

The majority of their holds are imported from Europe, set up for over 100 boulder problems for all abilities, with new problems set each month by the in-house coaches. Approximately every four months, the International Federation of Sport Climbing Route Setters will visit and set new boulder problems.

The Price: A full-day pass is 90 RMB during the week, and 100 RMB on the weekends. You can rent shoes or a chalk bag for 10 RMB each. Mondays are half-price for female climbers. A ten-time card is 800 RMB, one-month pass is 700 RMB. They host group classes on Tuesday evenings covering training on spray walls.

roaring climbing gym

The Facility: This climbing center is near Hongkou Football Stadium. It's inside an old factory complex that's been converted into an afterschool center -- there's an indoor basketball court, a snooker club, badminton and table tennis, guzheng classes, a dance studio, education consulting, art studios, a pet café, normal café.

The climbing gym is divided into three areas: the height zone, the bouldering zone, and the training zone. The height zone is equipped with four imported auto belay devices, featuring several difficulty routes with ratings ranging from 5.7 to 5.12. The routes are changed every three months to offer variety.

The bouldering zone includes slab surfaces, overhangs, 15-degree slabs, 20-degree slabs, and 30-degree slabs. There are around 50 bouldering routes available, with difficulty levels ranging from V0 to V5+. The routes are changed every two months to provide new challenges.

The training zone is equipped with adjustable spray walls, fingerboards, finger strength bars, wrist strength balls, TRX, and other training facilities. The total climbing area is approximately 200 square meters, and the gym is equipped with two air conditioners to ensure a constant temperature throughout the year.

Roaring Climbing Gym has a strong community vibe with a whiteboard by the door announcing upcoming climbing trips and some photos. The clientele seems to lean kid-heavy, especially in the summer; when we visited on a weekday afternoon the only employee was busy teaching a class of kids.

Children aged 3 and above are welcome to climb when accompanied by adults.

The Price: A day pass costs 120 RMB. The ten-session card is priced at 700 RMB, or you can opt for a monthly pass at 650 RMB. Shoe and chalk bag rentals are available for 10 RMB each, while safety belts are provided free of charge. Call ahead for gym times as there may be a class in session.

beta boulders gym (JING'an)

The Facility: Beta Boulders is in the modern sports warehouse Anken Life. The center also houses boxing, mixed martial arts, CrossFit, a café, and a skate and snowboard shop. Anken has free lockers in their hotel-quality locker rooms that are equipped with a sauna, showers, and towels.

As the name suggests it's just bouldering here, no rope or harness is needed. Beta Boulders opened in March 2020 and is owned and operated by the former manager of Pongo (see below). The gym boasts the first and only Kilter board in Shanghai. The Kilter is a tech training wall that can tilt to differing angles. Routes are selected on the app and the matching holds are lit up on the wall. The app connects to all other kilter boards around the world, allowing users to share routes and strategies (aka betas).

Routes will be set by specialists invited from Japan and Malaysia once travel resumes. Every fortnight a fourth of the routes are reset. Make a reservation on their WeChat (Beta-Boulders-Gym) for climbing times after 6 pm on weekdays and during the daytime on weekends. No reservation is needed for other times.

They have another venue in Xuhui district, and kids are welcome there because the one in Jing'an doesn't allow children.

The Price: A day pass costs 110 RMB, weekends are 120 RMB, and monthly passes cost 700 RMB. The shoe rental and the chalk bag are 10 RMB each. Beta also offers beginner individual classes for 699 RMB for three 1-hour classes, or group classes of up to three people for 1199 RMB for three 1.5-hour classes.