An expert’s guide to indoor rock climbing gyms of Kansas City
Ibex Climbing Gym
Kansas City’s original plastic crag. Despite changing hands several times, this suburban destination continues to thrive. Great route setting and a large overhung arch are the highlights. There’s also an active annual competition scene.
Scene: Birthday parties, scout groups, the diehard
Regulars known as: Ibexercisers
801 N.W. South Outer Rd., Blue Springs, Mo., 816-228-9988, climbibex.com. 10 am-10 pm daily.
An odd installation on the back wall of a gymnastics facility that has somehow stood the test of time. Bizarre party-trick boulder problems mid-route distract from weird features. Nonetheless, regulars appear weekly to get their top roping pump on.
Scene: Gymnastics kids, people with daisy chains and three belay devices on their harness
Regulars known as: Monster Mountaineers
9063 Bond St., Overland Park, Kan., 913-438-7775, emeraldcitygym.com. Monday-Friday 6-9 pm, Saturday and Sunday noon-5 pm.
The current darling of the rapidly growing Kansas City rock climbing community. There’s a bit of everything here, including a fitness facility, yoga classes, bouldering and lead climbing. The walls are not steep, but that’s made up for by good hold-color based route setting.
Scene: Ten-year-olds who climb harder than you, yoga pants, beanies,
Regulars known as: RoKC Stars
1501 Howell St., North Kansas City, Mo. 816-843-7652, climbkc.com. Monday-Friday 6 am-10 pm, Saturday 8 am-10 pm, Sunday 10 am-8 pm.
A typical rock gym, but located inside a cave 100 feet underground. This recently renovated location offers a few supplemental fitness options and a wildly overhung cave section to satisfy the hunger of the most primal. This is where you go to get upside down and watch people who started six months ago climb harder than you (but with worse technique).
Scene: Total crushers, total newbies, college kids, beanies, tank tops
Regulars known as: Cave Dwellers
150 Mercier St. Suite 641A, Kansas City, Mo. 816-621-2020, climbkc.com. Monday-Saturday: 9 am-10 pm, Sunday: 10 am-6 pm.
A recently opened world-class bouldering facility in the Crossroads District. You will never climb every route here — there are too many. Any given weeknight finds the strongest of the strongest crushing bones on the training wall, as well as hipsters sampling the casual 16-foot-tall offerings. The facility also offers yoga, fitness and coffee on tap.
Scene: Crushers, first-timers
Regulars known as: Crushroads
1710 Washington St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-944-3936, sequenceclimb.com. Monday-Friday noon-10 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-8 pm.
You live in Johnson County. You have a chalk bag and shoes. You watch American Ninja Warrior. This is your gym after work. Bouldering and ninja warrior activities are the highlight here.
Scene: Muscles, ponytails, families, ninjas
Regulars known as: Apex and Glutes
200 W 106th St., Overland Park, Kan. 913-283-7341, apexclimbinggym.com. Monday-Friday 10 am-10 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday Noon-6 pm
Do you live near a Lifetime facility? Do you need a babysitter while you climb? Or do you want to climb on auto-belay while your parents dink around on their phones?
Scene: Fitness, babysitting
Regulars known as: Lifetimers
*Jeremy Collins is the author of the Missouri climbing guide Mo’ Beta: Rock Climbs of Missouri. Get a copy at mo-beta.com.