Climbing Gym Industry Snapshot
Indoor rock-climbing is a quietly expanding exercise industry that many believe is ripe for a CrossFit-like explosion. Climbing gyms boasted revenues of $151 million in 2014, up from $147 million in 2013, according to IBISWorld. That figure is expected to hit $162 million by 2019. The number of climbing gyms in the U.S. increased by 9 percent last year, with a total of 353 facilities. As of 2015 California has been the fastest-growing market.
Similar to other specialized sports and exercise regimes like yoga or cycling, climbing has a reputation of being somewhat of an outsider activity; or a hobby for a niche of enthusiasts. Rope climbing involves a pile of intricate gear, and bouldering—which refers to scaling lower walls without ropes or harnesses—requires a punishing physical logic that rewards repeated failure.
The emerging market lacks a clear front-runner or signature national brand, although Brooklyn Boulders aspires to the title. Outside New York, the company has locations in Somerville, Mass., and Chicago, with Los Angeles up next; the startup founded in 2008 has approximately 3,000 monthly members, and 60,000 day pass visitors, each year.