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New (big!) gym opening in Golden - Earthtreks
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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Nov 19, 2013

Matt Roberts wrote:
ET-Timonium is listed as having 374 routes, and its about 1/2 the size of ET-Golden, so I don't think that they are done setting quite yet in Golden.

I've never been to an ET, but the Timonium location is listed as being 20,000 sqft vs 28,500 for the Golden location. The # you've quoted includes boulder problems. Still, ET Golden probably hasn't finished setting. But that doesn't change the route distribution though. If the MD is followed, the Golden location may have 30 routes in the 5.12a-13.d range (that'd put this higher than any of the other ET locations). In my book, that's still a decidedly "meh".


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By JerryN
Nov 19, 2013

reboot wrote:
I've done mine & posted the links. Pulling a number out of your ass isn't considered research anywhere. The raw square footage of this place is less than twice the size of Movement & Movement typically have just over 100 routes, I'll let you do the math.


www.earthtreks.com/co

Bottom of the page:

"The gym has over 300 roped routes and over 100 boulder problems"

I pulled that from their website by doing my research.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Nov 19, 2013
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the route distribution. These guys are new in town and they just haven't noticed yet how many people around these parts climb 5.12 and up. They'll figure it out soon enough. In the mean time, it looks like there will be ample bouldering :) Anyway, the most important factor in any gym is route-setting. If the route setting is imaginative, the gym will be good. Hopefully they've recruited some skilled route-setters.

Anyway, my main hope for this gym is that it helps build a community out of the West Denver climbing scene.

I am a bit puzzled that they aren't here, on MP.com, posting photos and drumming up hype among their primary customer base. Unless they have some other primary customer base in mind....


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Nov 19, 2013

reboot wrote:
Hmm, only 11% (20) of the routes are 5.12a-5.13d. I'm starting to feel underwhelmed with this huge new gym.


Don't be too concerned. Do realize that they are not done setting yet, and they've been setting routes as they've been building. The shorter vertical walls were the first to be finsihed, and the first to be set, hence the large number of really easy routes on the basis of current percentages. The big steep walls, which should be expected to contain most of the hard routes, have just been getting finished up in the last week or so, and hence they aren't done setting these. I'd be pretty suprised (an disappointed...) if a large batch of harder routes didn't go up soon. From the sound of it, they've brought in a batch of strong climbers as part fo the setting crew, and they certainly have the steep terrain for good hard rotues, so I bet we can expect good things on this front.


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By saguaro sandy
Nov 19, 2013
Picacho

Monomaniac wrote:
I wouldn't be too concerned about the route distribution. These guys are new in town and they just haven't noticed yet how many people around these parts climb 5.12 and up. They'll figure it out soon enough. In the mean time, it looks like there will be ample bouldering :) Anyway, the most important factor in any gym is route-setting. If the route setting is imaginative, the gym will be good. Hopefully they've recruited some skilled route-setters. Anyway, my main hope for this gym is that it helps build a community out of the West Denver climbing scene. I am a bit puzzled that they aren't here, on MP.com, posting photos and drumming up hype among their primary customer base. Unless they have some other primary customer base in mind....

Oh they are GOOD! They are very good! Can't wait to check them out when we swing by CO in Feb!


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By BrianWS
Nov 19, 2013

Monomaniac wrote:
I wouldn't be too concerned about the route distribution. These guys are new in town and they just haven't noticed yet how many people around these parts climb 5.12 and up. They'll figure it out soon enough. In the mean time, it looks like there will be ample bouldering :) Anyway, the most important factor in any gym is route-setting. If the route setting is imaginative, the gym will be good. Hopefully they've recruited some skilled route-setters.


I wouldn't worry about quality. The setting at the ET in Rockville MD (the area flagship gym) is of consistently high quality, especially for the lead routes. The hold budget is very generous, and each setting rotation is usually preceded by a huge order of new holds and features -- the steepest portions of the Rockville gym are reset with almost entirely new holds each time.
The overall quality is comparable to the Planet Granite chain, where the head setter started out. It's definitely on par with or better than Movement, which is generally excellent in my experience.

They've got some very strong setters on board, so I wouldn't worry about difficulty. They're probably waiting to suss out the distribution of ability levels before shifting more focus to putting up hard routes.


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By Robin Close
From Columbia, Maryland
Nov 19, 2013

Not to drag up the "sandbagged vs. soft" debate again, but as an Earth Treks member in MD I've found that my onsight level has consistently been about two grades higher in CO gyms than on the routes that these guys were setting back here. Rather than worrying about how the numbers are looking, enjoy the opportunity to climb new terrain and different styles. Obviously no setter is perfect, but in my experience this is a really talented crew, and I'd be excited to check out what they have going. And if the routes they set really are too easy for the local clientele, I'm sure they'll realize it pretty quickly and adjust what they're doing.


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By saguaro sandy
Nov 19, 2013
Picacho

Robin Close wrote:
Not to drag up the "sandbagged vs. soft" debate again, but as an Earth Treks member in MD I've found that my onsight level has consistently been about two grades higher in CO gyms than on the routes that these guys were setting back here. Rather than worrying about how the numbers are looking, enjoy the opportunity to climb new terrain and different styles. Obviously no setter is perfect, but in my experience this is a really talented crew, and I'd be excited to check out what they have going. And if the routes they set really are too easy for the local clientele, I'm sure they'll realize it pretty quickly and adjust what they're doing.

Movement routes are sooooft! Catered to Boulder ite prima Donna kids. The best routes in CO are at City Rock at Springs. MD standards will be bringing hard CO climbers back begging for more punishment!


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Nov 19, 2013

Monomaniac wrote:
Anyway, my main hope for this gym is that it helps build a community out of the West Denver climbing scene.


I absolutely agree with you here. Having moved to Golden about a year and a half ago, I have found that while (or perhaps because) the Golden area is such a good centralized location for Front Range (and beyond) climbing, the climbing community here is pretty scattered. It seems like climbers in Golden tend to be going off in all sorts of different directions to their various preferred crags and gyms, and there isn't one really centralized meeting point where everyone will run in to each other. People seem to identify more with the crags that they drive to (the Rifle/Shelf/CCC climbers may not ever meet the Eldo climbers) than with the Golden scene. Even at our major local area (Clear Creek), the climbing is spread out enough that you may not ever run in to someone, if you are usually at Primo and they are usually at New River Wall. Contrast this the the community in the Roaring Fork, where people seem to see each other every weekend in Rifle, or even in Boulder where the gyms create a centralized meeting point. Golden hasn't had that until now, and thus has been more of a bedroom community from which people commute to various other area's climbing scenes. I think (or hope) that with the gym, things will become more cohesive.


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Nov 19, 2013

vivica jones wrote:
MD standards will be bringing hard CO climbers back begging for more punishment!


I find some amusing irony in this statement.


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Nov 19, 2013

Monomaniac wrote:
I am a bit puzzled that they aren't here, on MP.com, posting photos and drumming up hype among their primary customer base. Unless they have some other primary customer base in mind....


They have been quite active on the Facebooks, with updates nearly daily as of late. If you haven't taken a look, you ought to. My guess is that they've decided to be tactful and not spam the forums too much.

Also of note, since you've mentioned the possibility of the "alternative customer base": This was actually one of the things I was most appreciative of seeing in the gym layout plans. For those who haven't noticed, there are fairly large, seperated teaching areas, isolated from the main gym area for classes, birthday parties, etc. The ET gyms in maryland have this too, and it is great; it lets the gym have its birthday party revenue source without annoying the core customer base. There was a radio interview that I heard with Chris Warner (ET owner) a while back, and it sounds likr they are pretty dedicated to serving the "primary base" of experienced climbers. The gyms plans (lots of steep lead wall angles, absurdly huge systems boards, etc) seem to support this assumption. Anyway, I'm feeling optimistic.


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By saguaro sandy
Nov 19, 2013
Picacho

The fact that they will keep birthday parties and learning groups away from the main lead area is huge! You guys are lucky to have them pick Golden. I bet it will boost the economy of the town too!


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Nov 19, 2013
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

BrianWS wrote:
I wouldn't worry about quality...They've got some very strong setters on board


Sounds promising!

JCM wrote:
They have been quite active on the Facebooks


I've been checking the fakeblock page daily. The terrain looks really cool, and the place looks enormous. It sounds like they will have just about everything you could want. I can't wait to go inside.

In fact, all this ET love is getting me even more psyched, anybody got an opening date? (FB says "less than a week")


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By coop
From Glenwood Springs, CO
Nov 19, 2013
Indian Creek Climbing

Can someone please open a gym in Glenwood Springs?


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By Kevin Craig
Nov 19, 2013
KC on Fields (medium).  Photo (c) Doug Shepherd

vivica jones wrote:
Movement routes are sooooft! Catered to Boulder ite prima Donna kids. The best routes in CO are at City Rock at Springs. MD standards will be bringing hard CO climbers back begging for more punishment!


Without getting into "soft" vs "sandbagged," I'd agree that MD/DC area indoor routes are indeed about 2 grades harder than the Denver/Boulder standard.

Now, OTOH I think it *is* fair to compare the number of world class climbers who live in each location and draw your own conclusions about which grades are more "accurate."


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Nov 19, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

You're debating with a narcissistic, compulsively driven, grammatically incorrect, socially retarded troll. Just so you know.


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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
Nov 19, 2013
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place to stay for the night before doing a day of wine tasting and heading to Buoux.

BrianWS wrote:
They've got some very strong setters on board


It is worth remembering that being strong does not make one a good route setter, though it is difficult, but not impossible to set routes above ones ability so strength does play some roll in the difficulty of routes that can be set but not necessarily the quality.

  • Don't take this as a shot at the quality of the routes or the setters, just saying that the claim that they are strong is not a guarantee that the routes are going to be good. I've climbed plenty of hard routes where the holds are just smaller or further apart than the easier route right next to itůMono might actually like it that way though...


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By BrianWS
Nov 20, 2013

LeeAB wrote:
It is worth remembering that being strong does not make one a good route setter, though it is difficult, but not impossible to set routes above ones ability so strength does play some roll in the difficulty of routes that can be set but not necessarily the quality. *Don't take this as a shot at the quality of the routes or the setters, just saying that the claim that they are strong is not a guarantee that the routes are going to be good. I've climbed plenty of hard routes where the holds are just smaller or further apart than the easier route right next to itůMono might actually like it that way though...


Ward, the head setter in MD is very stringent about quality at the showcase gym, and I'd assume the same would apply out in Golden -- he was just out there last week. Reach or height dependent routes are kept to a minimum and the setting is generally creative. Remember, these guys have a pretty badass hold budget.

The head setter for the Golden gym worked under him for a while in MD. He is an excellent setter as well and I would assume that he'll carry the same level of quality over to the CO facility.

And yes, the grades in the MD gym are pretty stiff, much more so than other facilities I've been to. It's good training, but a bit demoralizing at times.


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By CBW
Nov 20, 2013

Hi!
I am the founder of Earth Treks and a Golden resident. I wanted to take a few minutes to answer some of your questions (you really want me working on getting the gym open, not goofing off on the web).

Why haven't we been posting to MP.com: Andy Laakman, who runs MP.com is a good friend. The last thing I want is for him to accuse me of "spamming" this site. The consequences would be personally painful, as it is his turn to buy me dinner. He'll take me to McDonalds as punishment. We have been updating our Facebook page when we can, but given our pattern of 14 hour days, 7 days a week to get this thing open, we've been less than creative and focused on posting.

Route Setting: Route setting is an art and we feel like we've recruited an amazing team for both the short and long term. The walls are their canvas and it may take you a few weeks to realize the true genius of Jason Kehl's design. Holds: we invested over $150,000 in holds and volumes. Considering the discounts, this is a ridiculous amount of holds, which means we can keep increasing the route density for months. In fact it will take a few months to get the gym fully set, for a few reasons. We need to see how the members want to use the gym, what the natural (not imagined) patterns are, where the holes in our setting lays, etc. You may have heard the old adage, that you plan the side walks once you see where the people actually walk (where the grass is trampled). We need the members feedback to get the best possible mix on the walls. Please sign up for and use Send Spot
Send Spot allows you to offer feedback directly to the setter. It also allows you to suggest grades, etc. Our goal with grades is to prepare you to climb outdoors. We do tend to grade a bit "hard", so you can send when it matters most. We will let you judge the routes and the route setters based on your experience. We did have a fore-running event the other night. My partner and I were assigned all the 5.10a's to see if the grading is consistent and the quality meets expectations. We were blown away by the variety. The walls have such intricate angle changes that every route was totally different. I hope that you have as much fun as I did when first climbing in the gym.

Members: our most valued customer is the member. Our members are the core of our community. I agree with an earlier poster, who lamented the lack of a central gathering place for Denver West climbers. I felt this, acutely, when I moved to Golden. I also feel this when I am at the crags. The core of our climbing community is not only dedicated but extremely competent. As a community we have a responsibility for increasing the competency of our less experienced and "clued in" neighbors. I am hopeful that we create a gym culture that values disciplined belayers, curteous climbers and respectful outdoors people. We've all met our best and most trusted friends through climbing. Let's bring that attitude to the gym, so that we can create the culture we want. Our staff is totally dedicated to this vision (we may make some mistakes, but our heart is in the right place, so hold us to the highest standard).

Parties: As mentioned, we have designed a flow to the gym to minimize the impact of party goers and intro classes on our membership. The design is not perfect, but we are hopeful.

Opening: We are very, very close. We'll start with a soft opening, so you can climb ASAP. The biggest disruption may be the bouldering area, which couldn't be padded until the lifts, etc were out of the building. That is happening now. This is impacting our setting in the Bouldering cave, with perhaps 60% of the potential problems being set already. We won't hold off opening due to route setting though.

Time to get back to work.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Nov 20, 2013
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

Get back to work!

Seriously, what an awesome, gracious response. Thanks for listening.


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By saguaro sandy
Nov 20, 2013
Picacho

Kevin Craig wrote:
Without getting into "soft" vs "sandbagged," I'd agree that MD/DC area indoor routes are indeed about 2 grades harder than the Denver/Boulder standard. Now, OTOH I think it *is* fair to compare the number of world class climbers who live in each location and draw your own conclusions about which grades are more "accurate."

Kevin, you don't even climb rock, man. On Ice you are a beast but on rock...alas. So, if you don't know , don't say it.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Nov 25, 2013
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

I had the pleasure of touring the gym this evening. To summarize, the facility is absolutely stunning. The pictures really don't do it justice.

The scale is unreal. Just driving up to the gym I was suprised by how enormous the building is. To give you an idea, the "upstairs" birthday party/instructional area is as tall as many gyms I've been to. The bouldering area by itself is about the size of most bouldering-only gyms. Speaking of, the bouldering is 17' high...which is REALLY freakin high! I was getting vertigo just looking at it. Hopefully they'll put up some problems that don't top out for us old guys :) The wall surfaces in the bouldering area are very imaginative and 3-dimensional. They have tons of interesting volumes as well. They have angles for everybody, from vertical to horizontal (and even a bit steeper I think). The padding system is all integrated and I would guess about 16" deep. The floor felt really springy but still firm enough to walk on without sinking in.

The roped climbing area is huge, and super tall. For the most part its vertical to slightly overhanging, but they have a huge arch in the center of the main wall that overhangs steeply in all directions. They also have a big (like, 20' deep?) overhang on the back side of the stand-alone pillar. They have several different sized cracks running the height of the wall. The crack texture was quite grippy. The texture is intregrated into the wall surface somehow (its not "painted on").

The training area is ridiculous. They have 3 separate 'systems' walls that can be tilted to any angle from vertical to 55-degrees overhanging (controlled by an electric switch on the wall), so you can set the steepness to fit your own needs. Again, these walls are huge, and the pictures don't really capture the scale. They have a nice looking campus board with three rung-sizes (and it looks like room to add more), and a hangboard station with six different hangboards (I saw a Moonboard, a Beastmaker and a Rock Prodigy; I didn't see the other 3). They have a nice big Yoga room that' faces Lookout Mountain. All of this stuff is upstairs, out of the way of the main climbing area. Downstairs they have the "fitness" room, with everything you could possible want. The room is enormous and has great views of the main roped climbing area on one side and Lookout Mountain on teh other side.

The bathrooms are super nice, have free key-code lockers and multiple showers including a separate foot-washing station. Also, the upstairs area has its own bathroom, so the B-day kids won't be in the main bathroom and the training fiends won't have to run down stairs to pee :) Everything has been really well thought-out, and you can tell the people behind the scenes have a lot of experience running climbing gyms. Throughout the gym they have seating and tables for relaxing spectating or just hanging out. The whole building has a nice open feel, with nice lighting, including good natural light. They also had a good-sized retail area at the front counter.

That's about all I can think of right now. I can't wait to try the routes. They have tons of interesting/unique holds I've never seen before. Apparently they were able to get a bunch of holds from Eurupe via Walltopia so there should be a lot of unusual shapes to try out.


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By saguaro sandy
Nov 25, 2013
Picacho

They also make their own molds. I saw them when they were experimenting at Timonium with them. You guys are very very lucky!


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By The Good Life Denver
Nov 25, 2013
<a href='http://www.thegoodlifedenver.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.thegoodlifedenver.com</a>

+1 to pretty much everything said below. I took a tour today, and it is very impressive. Very well done. Though I live in central Denver, I could definitely see myself heading out to Golden to climb at this gym--most definitely would prefer it over RnJ. It will be interesting to see how Movement's gym near 6th and Santa Fe compares once it is built.

The scale of ET is enormous, and the routes look very fun (and long). Tons of bouldering sq. footage, including a top-out area, which is pretty cool. There also are three walls upstairs which the climber can adjust the angle--pretty sweet! Bathrooms are, indeed, very nice.

Overall, extremely well done, and a big asset to the climbing community. I just put up an article with more info and photos here: www.thegoodlifedenver.com/2013/11/25/first-look-new-earth-tr>>>

Monomaniac wrote:
I had the pleasure of touring the gym this evening. To summarize, the facility is absolutely stunning. The pictures really don't do it justice. The scale is unreal. Just driving up to the gym I was suprised by how enormous the building is. To give you an idea, the "upstairs" birthday party/instructional area is as tall as many gyms I've been to. The bouldering area by itself is about the size of most bouldering-only gyms. Speaking of, the bouldering is 17' high...which is REALLY freakin high! I was getting vertigo just looking at it. Hopefully they'll put up some problems that don't top out for us old guys :) The wall surfaces in the bouldering area are very imaginative and 3-dimensional. They have tons of interesting volumes as well. They have angles for everybody, from vertical to horizontal (and even a bit steeper I think). The padding system is all integrated and I would guess about 16" deep. The floor felt really springy but still firm enough to walk on without sinking in. The roped climbing area is huge, and super tall. For the most part its vertical to slightly overhanging, but they have a huge arch in the center of the main wall that overhangs steeply in all directions. They also have a big (like, 20' deep?) overhang on the back side of the stand-alone pillar. They have several different sized cracks running the height of the wall. The crack texture was quite grippy. The texture is intregrated into the wall surface somehow (its not "painted on"). The training area is ridiculous. They have 3 separate 'systems' walls that can be tilted to any angle from vertical to 55-degrees overhanging (controlled by an electric switch on the wall), so you can set the steepness to fit your own needs. Again, these walls are huge, and the pictures don't really capture the scale. They have a nice looking campus board with three rung-sizes (and it looks like room to add more), and a hangboard station with six different hangboards (I saw a Moonboard, a Beastmaker and a Rock Prodigy; I didn't see the other 3). They have a nice big Yoga room that' faces Lookout Mountain. All of this stuff is upstairs, out of the way of the main climbing area. Downstairs they have the "fitness" room, with everything you could possible want. The room is enormous and has great views of the main roped climbing area on one side and Lookout Mountain on teh other side. The bathrooms are super nice, have free key-code lockers and multiple showers including a separate foot-washing station. Also, the upstairs area has its own bathroom, so the B-day kids won't be in the main bathroom and the training fiends won't have to run down stairs to pee :) Everything has been really well thought-out, and you can tell the people behind the scenes have a lot of experience running climbing gyms. Throughout the gym they have seating and tables for relaxing spectating or just hanging out. The whole building has a nice open feel, with nice lighting, including good natural light. They also had a good-sized retail area at the front counter. That's about all I can think of right now. I can't wait to try the routes. They have tons of interesting/unique holds I've never seen before. Apparently they were able to get a bunch of holds from Eurupe via Walltopia so there should be a lot of unusual shapes to try out.


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By EarthTreks
Nov 27, 2013

Thank you for all the posts,messages, and feedback. It's been a journey and we've been working hard to get the gym all set up and ready for you all to climb.

We are thrilled to announce that as of yesterday evening, 6:00 pm MST Earth Treks Climbing Centers Golden opened it's doors to the public. We had a good turnout and are looking forward to meeting everyone. The gym hours for the next couple of days will be:

Wed. November 27- 3:00pm to 11:00pm
Thu. November 28 - CLOSED
Fri. November 29 - 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Sat. November 30 -8am to 8pm
Sun. December 1 - 8am to 6pm

Thank you and hope everyone has a safe, and fun Holiday weekend!

The Earth Treks Team!


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