Indoor climbing, Niagra Climbing Center

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Rock Climbing Niagra Climbing Center
Top ropeTop rope

1333 Strad Avenue / North Tonawanda, NY 14120

(716) 695.1248




$15 (day pass) / $55 (monthly membership)

6000 square feet of climbing terrain. 40 toprope stations, each 20 feet high. A variety of walls and routes to suit beginner, intermediate, and advanced climbers. Intriguing features like roofs, bulges, and top-outs that help to develop skills needed on real rock. Space for long routes and traverses to build endurance and focus on specific techniques. Always fresh, quality routes by our in-house route-setters.

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  1. Steven Wright
    Steven Wright
    Niagra Climbing Center

    Niagara Climbing Center is a real establishment in the Buffalo/Niagara/Erie County climbing community. Before a change in ownership over 10 years ago, Niagara Climbing Center was called Lumber City Rock Gym. I have no idea how long Lumber City was around … ...


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  • Steven Wright
    Steven Wright

    Niagara Climbing Center is a real establishment in the Buffalo/Niagara/Erie County climbing community. Before a change in ownership over 10 years ago, Niagara Climbing Center was called Lumber City Rock Gym. I have no idea how long Lumber City was around, but this place must have a 20+ year history. I've been visiting this gym with varying degrees of frequency over the last 16 years. I was a member for a couple years and used to go regularly (3 times a week or so). When I was going regularly, the other members were extremely welcoming, and I quickly met some new friends. That was, however, a couple years ago, and I can't speak to how things are today in that regard. They are just now completing work on a re-vamp of the center portion of the gym - which will contain only bouldering. I'm excited to see how that turns out. It was looking pretty good a couple weeks ago. Now, I can't help but mention some of the things that I really dislike about this gym (and likely good reasons why there is such a great market for the new "Silo City Rocks" gym being worked on downtown)... The gym mostly caters to kids parties. Whether this is because the Buffalo-area climbing community is small, or because the gym doesn't really offer what the rest of us are looking for is debatable. I'm sure it's probably a combination of both. Because the gym focuses so much on kids parties they've made some /interesting/ choices about their belaying policy. Essentially, they've done their best to make their setup "idiot proof" without regard for the right way to do things. All of the routes have locking 'biners on the sharp end of the rope (eliminating the need to teach kids/parents how to tie a proper figure 8... but also introducing the potential for side-loading a biner. Not a big deal given the fact that it's top roping, and the limited exposure given the height of the gym/etc... but, still). The belay end is comprised of a gri-gri strapped to two floor-mounted anchors with nylon webbing. The staff instructs/requires you to "pull the rope through the gri-gri hand-over-hand." This is really where I start getting a bit crazy. Pulling in the slack this way forces you into a position where performing the typical arrest maneuver is IMPOSSIBLE - not to mention this is very awkward when you're used to needing to pay out slack in addition to taking it in. But it gets worse. When lowering the climber, the staff instructs you to *remove your hand(s) from the rope, wrap it around your back, then use your left hand to control the rope and operate the gri-gri's cam-release lever with your right hand.* This is where my head starts to explode. I'm thinking to myself in horror: "You want me to remove my hands from the braking end of the rope???" Do I understand why they've trained their staff and setup their gym this way? Yes. Do I like it? No. Will you get yelled at and kicked out if you do things the right way? Yes. I'm sure this setup works well for their needs and how the gym is mostly used. I don't think a gri-gri is going to fail, and therefore I don't think they'll ever need to rely on the gri-gri acting as a traditional belay device. But, this is a good example of the mentality at the gym. It's not there as a training aid for climbers per-se. It's not there to teach you how to climb. It's there for the kids. Everything else is incidental. Having said that, everything else on my list of "wants"/"dislikes" is probably pretty obvious... The gym offers no "traditional" gym equipment (weights, cardio, etc), no showers, etc. The gym is very small (in terms of both height, and floor space). It's 20 feet tall or less. The gym offers no serious sustained climbing training. 20 feet of height only allows for so much. Bringing your harness, needing a belay, and clipping in are really not worth it for what amounts to a vertical bouldering-sized-problem. Members here primarily stick to bouldering activities for exactly this reason (or maybe because we have some decent bouldering within day-trip driving distance). Top-roping routes are limited, and the entire circuit can easily be accomplished in 30-40 minutes (for both partners). There are no lead-climbing routes at all (despite what outdated information you may find online). Previously there was *one* route... which no one ever used. 20 feet of height doesn't give a whole lot of room for being on the sharp end of the rope for any meaningful length of time - so the route went across the ceiling to compensate. There was no formal process for getting approved to use it, and no other routes to do it on, so the incentive to bring your rope for one sad route, not to mention having to somehow (?) convince the staff (who taught people to belay the way I mentioned before) you know what you're doing was just non-existent. There are plenty of moderate to hard bouldering problems, one or two easy/beginner problems, and a strange "no-mans-land" between the uber-easy and the moderates. There are no rated climbs. (eg 5.7 - 5.12 like you'd normally find at a gym) Finally, the comment I'm most reluctant to leave is this; the staff, especially those who have been there for a very long time, seem to be worn down by the constant barrage of kids and parties. A smile, and a welcoming attitude could really work wonders if they are trying to attract more members. Just my $0.02