Wednesday May 14, 2008
Last night I took a trip down to
Edgeworks Climbing gym in Tacoma. I've been
working on my flashing skills and needed another gym
to practice that was not what I had become
accustomed to up in the Seattle area. Plus, I'd seen
their boulder wall online and thought it looked fun!
It's a dedicated structure but unlike the walls up
north, it has a free standing part, an archway that
connects the free standing part to a wall butted
area and all of the walls top out! By topping
out I mean you go over the top and walk across and
down via the 2nd floor. There's a neat
photo of it on their site.
I met Tod, the owner of Edgeworks, and three other
people from Edgeworks at Stone Gardens some weeks
before. I didn't get to talk with any of them much
then, but I appreciated how approachable and
friendly they were. Richard, one of the Edgeworks
crew, was particularly friendly and invited me out
to climb at Smith with them one weekend. I'm not
climbing outside right now so I had to decline, but
we kept in touch and I met up with him at Edgeworks.
Edgeworks must be one of the friendliest gyms
around. Everyone was bright and chatty when I
entered. The bouldering crew was particularly
open and friendly; and there was a lot of support,
moving spots and beta sharing. I felt like I
must have known these people from some time in the
past because I don't experience such openness very
often from strangers. I felt right at home very
quickly, but then an atmosphere like that can have
that affect on a person, I think. 🙂
Richard told me Tod was the owner of the gym and
that the gym had only been open for the past 4
years. Todd showed himself a bit later and I was
fortunate to get to climb with him and talk to him a
bit about his gym.
The walls are a bit short for top rope and leading,
but to make up for it, their routes are super
technical. I think this flows into their bouldering
style. Their system for setting was very similar to
Vertical World, with the use of taped holds, not
multi-taping holds, etc. The coolest part of
their bouldering wall is the ability to top out.
Pulling lip moves and having to get over the top is
another dynamic rarely experienced indoors. They
also have two different archways so you can get
problems from one side of a structure under,
through, and/or along the archway that finish on the
other side of the structure. I did a few of these,
they were very fun!
Maybe it's because Tod's gym is newer, but it has a
cleaner feel to it. They have the gymnastic
flooring, that isn't peeling and actually responds
to your falls. They have a small but very useful
weight room with all of the basics you need for
training that is separate from the climbing area.
Ok, the lat pull machine feels short if you try to
do cable press downs nd the pull up bar could use
some fresh tape…but still a useable room of stuff
that meets most of a climber's needs. Finally,
the campus board is out in the climbing area,
although I didn't see any system boards.
They appear to offer a range of courses not unlike
the other gyms. Some of them appear to be more
structured in that they organized the materials into
a 'school' of training. For example, for beginners
you have the 100 level class, for intermediate
climbers, you have the 200 level class and so forth.
They still offer the standard bday parties, jr
climbing program, private belays, and they have a jr.
climbing team. One intriguing program they
offer is an overnight Lock-in. Sounds like a lot of
They are surprisingly easy to locate as well. From
Seattle I took the I-5 south to Rt 16 westbound just
south of the Tacoma Dome. 3.5 miles west on Rt 16
and I took the first left, the next first right and
the next first left. The gym was on my left and was
probably only about a mile from the exit. My commute
down was a bit long due to traffic, it took me 1.25
hours, but my commute up was super quick – maybe 45
I wouldn't pick this up as my new local gym or
anything, but I'm definitely psyched to go back.
Special thanks to Tod, Richard and everyone I met
at the gym for being so welcoming. It makes a
ps. I can't forget to mention that you wouldn't want
to miss out on the nearly life size poster of Timmy
O'Neil in the women's bathroom… 🙂
I wonder who they
put up in the men's…