This gym is a reason to climb in the Westchester and Stamford, CT area. If you were ever considering climbing, this gym is why you actually should. The Cliffs at Valhalla.
* It’s NEW!!! So great – everything is clean. The holds that you use to hold onto while you’re climbing are not chalked up – you can still feel their ridges.
* It’s safe. Mike the owner has done a great job of making sure the folks that work there know what they’re doing in climbing, and they won’t do what they don’t know very well. The mats on the floor for regular climbing are great. It’s not too cold or too warm.
* It’s thorough – there are two elliptical machines upstairs and one rowing machine for warming up; there’s a shorter wall upstairs for beginners, there’s bouldering, of course a chin up bar, and there’s regular climbing and a good number of lead routes too. You can borrow the gym’s ropes.
* Great route-setting. They’re challenging and the problems are interesting. They’re rated a little high, if you ask me, but that’s not a problem. I especially like the routes in the corner that you need to mantle on. Great great holds throughout the gym – these routes really work your arms and your fingers, and your balance… really interesting traverses often.
* The guy who runs the gym is our age (that’s how I refer to people within a decade on either side of me). He’s very mellow, open to suggestions and requests, very good at giving climbing tips, super welcoming, and just a fun gym-owner.
* The folks that work at the front desk are super – you can ask them about anything. You can ask them to belay you. You can ask for tips on any routes.
* They do a lot of kids parties on the weekends. I think adults should start having birthday parties like this too!
There is something that this gym does that I have never seen at any other rock gym. THEY GIVE YOU BELAYS! That’s right. If you come by yourself for the evening or the day, there are people at the front desk who will give you belays. This means that you don’t have to be an ace climber to do a few really great climbs right off, and to work yourself hard right from the beginning.
The Cliffs at Valhalla
1 Commerce Park, Valhalla NY 10595
On a serious note, I once fell when bouldering and landed badly on one ankle off the mat below me. I recommend you always have a spot when you’re bouldering at or above your level, and I recommend you always triple check the setup of the mat. If I had any advice for the gym, it’s that I wish the mats were much wider. Sometimes for an overhanging boulder problem, I’ve put two mats side by side, but those can slide when you land on them. I’ve also gotten into trouble bouldering at Planite Granite in CA about a decade ago, also an ankle, so it might be that as Constanza says, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Otherwise, this is one of my favorite gyms that I’ve ever been to.