Where to Go Indoor Rock Climbing in Washington

Tired of the same old gym routine? For a real adventure, try rock climbing this winter.

By: Ann Wendel

Every winter, the combination of falling temperatures and holiday treats lead to unwanted weight gain for Washingtonians. This winter, break out of the gym rut with a whole new approach to fitness: indoor rock climbing. 

This activity has gained popularity in recent years, as several indoor facilities have made climbing accessible to beginners and experienced climbers alike. With proper instruction and guidance, climbing can be a safe, fun activity for children and adults. Plus it develops coordination, flexibility, strength, endurance, problem-solving skills, and teamwork. Read on to find out about the top indoor climbing centers in the Washington area.

Earth Treks 
725 Rockville Pike, Rockville; 240-283-9942
Founded in 1990, Earth Treks (with two other locations in Timonium and Columbia) is the oldest and largest indoor rock climbing facility in the region. In fact, its Rockville location has the largest indoor climbing wall in the country, with more than 38,000 square feet. Climbers report that the biggest benefits of this facility are the separate area for birthday parties, four really good crack climbs, a training wall that can be adjusted to different angles, and a nice retail section that offers guide books not found at other local outdoor shops.
Price: $20 day pass; membership and other options available.

Sportrock Climbing Centers 
Locations in Alexandria and Sterling
Sportrock offers indoor and outdoor climbing classes, corporate outings, parties, summer camps, and kid-friendly recreational and competitive teams. Its Alexandria facility was completely renovated in 2010 and features 18,000 square feet of climbing. A dedicated Sportrock member reports that he finds the bouldering routes to be well planned with plenty of space for workouts.
Price: $18 day pass; memberships available.

Vertical Rock Indoor Climbing Center 
10225 Nokesville Rd., Manassas; 855-822-5462
Vertical Rock’s 50-plus-foot walls offer more than 50 top rope routes, a 125-foot arch, and a strength and cardio area. One local climber reports that the routes are well thought out, the facility has two great crack climbs, the routes are well set, the staff is great, and, most important, it’s obvious that they love climbing.
Price: $18 day pass; memberships available.

Results Gym
315 G St., SE; 202-234-5678
Results boasts the first simulated-rock indoor climbing wall in the District. Members enjoy more than 1,200 square feet of climbing surface, including a 40-foot-high climbing section. Experienced rock climbers may arrange a free safety evaluation with gym staff.
Price: Results requires a safety skills class for $20 prior to use.

City of Rockville Climbing Gym 
860 Avery La., Rockville; 240-314-8643
The City of Rockville offers a small indoor climbing gym, with walls about 20 feet tall. Open climbs are held Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 PM. The facility offers classes for kids and adults, and the wall is available for events. The facility is good for those new to rock climbing.
Price: $10 pays for admission and gear rental (you may also bring your own gear).

Ann Wendel, PT, ATC, CMTPT is a local physical therapist and rock climber. She treats patients (including climbers) in her in Alexandria office.