August 31, 2009 —

“We basically built a playground for ourselves,” said Ben Weaver, technical director and climbing manager at Brooklyn Boulders. “And there’s a real need in New York City for a dedicated climbing gym on the subway line in Brooklyn.” Located in Carroll Gardens, the Brooklyn Boulders facility was the first of it’s kind in the tri-state area and started by a small group of climbing-obsessed college buddies determined to offer a different experience.

Founders Stephen Spaeth, Jeremy Balboni, and Lance Pinn contributed their ideas and tapped into their imaginations to help create a climbing facility—complete with a mountable Brooklyn Bridge-like tower—that is truly eye-catching. The 18,000-square-foot venue boast 30-foot ceilings and a custom flooring system that is firm to walk across but soft to fall on. Much of the gym was constructed from recycled materials, and energy-efficient equipment, and the interior is decked out with graffiti-style artwork.

Despite the intensity of Boulders’ experienced rock climbing community—many are part of an intense second generation of Gunks climbers—amateurs are very welcome, and even catered to.

“We’re set up to be a comfortable home base for the climbers of New York—like a clubhouse for climbers—and we really want to make beginners and kids alike feel like a part of that club,” Weaver explained. “There’s really nothing like climbing. The rush and the focus of it are really unique.”

The Brooklyn gym is open to climbers daily from 7AM to 12AM. Climbing classes, which focus on basic techniques and include rental gear, run at 6PM and 8PM on weekdays and at 11AM and 1PM on weekends. A separate class called “Learn the Ropes” includes a day pass, equipment rental and a one-month membership for $78. Boulders also offers day passes for $32, as well as 10-packs, month-to-month memberships, and three and six-month memberships.

How to get there: Take the 2, 3, 4, 5, N, Q, R, B, or D to Atlantic-Pacific, transfer to the R for one stop to Union St. (Brooklyn Boulders, 575 Degraw St., Brooklyn, 347.834.9066,

Photo: Courtesy of shootingbrooklyn


  1. BKB is to climbing gyms as Equinox is to a regular gym (lame, flashy and obnoxious).

    Look here is the deal with the place from a climbers perspective. If your a major gumby as we all were once bkb is the best place to go and spend your hard earned money on bells and whistles. Look guys yeah the actual space has the most climbing surface out of any nyc gym. But its the attitude behind bkb which makes it such a gummball paradise ( and therefore unatractive to someone who wants to just crush). Its “sweet” they have extra toys like slacklines and “dope vibe builders” like yoga classes but this is all to attract gumby retards who will drop hundreds of dollars on shoes and membership only to quit after floundering on some V0’s for a month, then they will move on to a spin class or maybe the p90x.

    What upset me most about this place was not the annoying gumbies (fuck it we all were once) it was the grading system. No one on here has mentioned that thier grades a beyond soft, they are straight jello dude. And the reason for this goes along with the theme of it being a business over supporting our sports culture and scene. They set weak V5’s and throw a V7+ label on iy, yeah, lol almost V7. They want people to feel good about themselves climbing there as opposed to other gyms or even outside thats why they do it. After all when you spend 100 on chris sharmas signature model shoe it sucks when after 3 months your still peeling off of a V2, so why not just call it V4!

  2. What’s a gumby and why do you hate them so?? Does it include bitching about everything in sight? If you just want to “crush” then put some kings of leon on your ipod, zone out and if you’re a V7 climber then get on a steep V10 to compensate for their soft ratings.


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