About the Gym

Front of Boulders Gym

Boulders is Madison's premiere climbing facility. Founded in 1996 by local climbers who had the intent to bring the sport they loved to the masses, and to create a training facility for themselves and their friends. After over a decade in existence, Boulders continues to build a vibrant climbing community in area as well as introduce the sport to hundreds of new individuals every year.

With over 8,000 square feet of climbing space, Boulders is sure to give you the adventure you are looking for. The sculpture climbing walls, designed by Solid Rock Wall Systems, are packed with top-notch routes and boulder problems set by our experienced and creative Routesetting staff. Beginners can learn how to climb in as little as 15 minutes, while the seasoned climber will find many projects and routes to test their abilities and help train for the outdoor season. We offer everything from birthday parties, to adult classes, children's camps, team building and more!

About Climbing

Rock climbing is about as simple as it sounds - the goal is to ascend a rock face, boulder, formation, or in our case, wall, to the top of a pre-defined route or path. There are several different types of climbing that individuals participate in, dependent upon different styles, technique and gear.

Rock climbing both a physically and mentally demanding sport. It often tests ones strength, endurance, agility, balance, and above all, mental control. Specialized techniques and equipment help climbers to exceed even in the most difficult of situations. Facilities like Boulders excel at providing the new climber with the necessary skills and tools to become a successful climber on any level - all dependent on your dedication to the sport!

There are three main types of climbing - all of which we offer at Boulders. They are briefly described below:

Top-Roping is the most basic of climbing techniques - most easily taught to those new to the sport. In this, ropes are suspended from the top of a climb to provide protection to the climber as they ascend a route - a predefined path on the rock face. This system requires basic knowledge of knot tying and belay techniques. At Boulders, we offer standard top-roping, as well as a more simple system called a "Clip-In" for our first-timers to use For the clip-ins, belayers must be 14 years of age. Standard top-roping requires a test out procedure before one can top rope in our facility.

Lead Climbing is a more advanced and dangerous type of climbing. Unlike top-roping, lead climbers will start with all of their rope on the ground, clipping it to protection either placed, or preset into the rock. The climber then moves further up and clips their rope in again. The movement above their fixed protection creates much larger fall potentials than top-roping. Sport climbing is a type of lead climbing that we offer at Boulders. It does require a test out, however, before one can sport climb in our facility.

Bouldering is the simplest form, yet most advanced and dangerous type of climbing. Bouldering is a style of which a climber ascends short rock faces, or boulders, to the top. While technically simple and requiring little gear, bouldering is most dangerous as it does not offer the protection of a rope; Climbers are "free-climbing" the whole time. Boulders has an extensive array of bouldering routes, called problems, designed to challenge your technique and problem solving abilities. In order to boulder at Boulders Climbing Gym, you must be 16 years of age, or be on the Boulders Climbing team.

Climbing, as many already know, is a dangerous sport. However, the Boulders staff is very well trained and committed to providing the least risk to our customers. Our gym is well maintained, and our rope systems are a sure-fire way to have a great time!

About Routes

Routes are predefined paths up a rock wall, face, or boulder. Outside, these routes are somewhat difficult to read and decode where they begin, end, and where to go whilst climbing. Inside we have the advantage of colored tape and labeling to define a route. Routes vary in difficulty to provide a superior training options for our members and clientele.

Boulders strives to provide routes that both challenge our clients and cater to their desires. Our routesetting staff works hard to keep the gym fresh and the problems and routes creative and novel. Boulders setters also do their best to fulfill wishes and desires of our climbers and, we are able to set routes specifically for you.

Gym Location

Boulders is located on Madison's east side at 3964 N. Commercial Ave, not far from East Towne Mall and only a few miles from Campus. North Commercial Ave is a frontage road of Stoughton Road (HWY 51). Frequent bus routes, a major city bike path, and student carpooling all make for convenient ways to get to the gym. See the map below for our location, as well as a few routes to get here via the bus or by bike.

At Boulders, we are committed to helping reduce our impact on the environment, and encourage you to bus, bike, or carpool to the gym.

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Gym Hours

Mon - Fri.: 9:00am - 10:00pm Saturday: 9:00am - 10:00pm Sunday: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Members Only Hours

Monday - Sunday: 7am-9am

Season Closings:

We will be closed Thanksgiving Day We will be closed Christmas Day We will be closing early at 2pm Christmas Eve December 1st we will be closing at 5PM for staff Christmas party