Indoor rock climbing in the Twin Cities


It’s officially getting cold out. So long, balmy nights of summer, and hello chilly autumn sweater-weather. It is now the awkward turn of seasons as we near daylight savings and the overhaul countdown to the holidays. There’s no snow on the ground (yet) and all the pretty leaves have fallen so what are we supposed to do without snow while it’s chilly?

It was my last semester in college during the fall of 2015 at the University of Minnesota when I asked myself this same question. Knowing summer was ending and school was starting, I knew the cold weather was coming and I was already busy enough with my thesis along with my design exhibition, but I was still short a few credits to be considered a full-time student. So to pick up an easy two credits without a ton of work (lol) I decided I would take up something I have never done before:

For the Fall semester of 2015, I was able to enroll in rock climbing class, which would run the full course of the remainder of my undergraduate college career.

This was something I enjoyed doing because I knew I couldn’t skateboard or play soccer outside anymore with the change of weather, and it was still too early in the season for snowboarding. Rock climbing is a great way to exercise and with the abundance of locations within the twin cities, it made it convenient to do something without having to be outside in the cold.


Throughout the course of the semester, I didn’t think rock climbing class would be a lot of work and I was right. Sort of. Only for paperwork and paper writing part anyway: Rock climbing still requires an excessive amount of hard work, but it was more the physical and coordinated mental side rather than the conventional studying and test-taking intuition necessary for my other classes. This did provide a nice balance though with the stress of my senior graduating year. Though rock climbing is certainly demanding (and no rock climber would tell you otherwise), I was able to work hard mentally in other ways than just through project and paper-writing preparations.

For being a fairly flat state, Minnesota has a decent scene as far as rock climbing goes. There are facilities located throughout the Twin Cities where I get my fix in from time to time. And, for first-timers or those unsure of what they’re doing, these facilities offer the support and guidance to get you to the top.

It is important to keep in mind that not all climbing facilities are created equal. Some require you to have memberships, some only offer bouldering (a shorter form of climbing that doesn’t require a harness/belay), some do not have auto belays, some require you to have your own equipment depending on the time of day you go.

Here is a list of the best local rock climbing facilities located around the Twin Cities. View their websites for more information:

Vertical Endeavors


Midwest Climbing Academy

UMN RecWell

Base Camp


Life Time Fitness

MN Climbing Co-op

Midwest Mountaineering

Minneapolis Bouldering Project 


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When Cody isn’t designing you can find him climbing other creative mountains along the lines of music production, illustration, and piano playing. At times when creative juices are depleted, he’s most likely on the pitch playing soccer, shredding the local skatepark, or in the gym moving heavy things trying to be like Arnold.