Community Relations

Moab Locals Open Climbing Gym

Moab, known for its outdoor climbing opportunities, now offers and indoor community climbing gym opened by local climbers.


Moab is known for its outdoor rock climbing: sandstone spires, right-off-the-road cragging on Wall Street, and splitter cracks at nearby Indian Creek. Some people move to Moab primarily for the climbing, and many devoted climbers have home training set-ups: hangboards, campus boards, or full-on bouldering walls in their garages. 

But there hasn’t been an indoor community climbing gym in Moab until this winter. Climb Moab Gym, launched by two local climbers and their Las Vegas-based investment partner, opened in January of this year. 

The idea of launching a climbing gym—where climbers could purchase day passes or memberships and enjoy continually updated routes with other climbers—had been floating around town for years. Local climber Britt Zale took it up and created a business plan in 2021, and she was joined by another Moab climber, Kaya Lindsay, in 2022. Soon after they partnered, they serendipitously met with an interested investor. 

Justin Beitler was BASE jumping with friends in Moab when one of his companions got stranded on a wall and he recruited a bystanding climber to help with a rescue. Beitler became friends with the impromptu rescuer, and the two BASE jumped together with a local Moab guide, who happens to be Zale’s partner. Through that chain of acquaintances, Beitler learned about the planned climbing gym. Beitler has experience in entrepreneurship and business development as well as a passion for outdoor sports. He offered to invest in the gym, and just in time: a suitable space became available for sale around the same time, on Highway 191 on the south end of Moab. 

From that point on, Zale and Lindsay devoted months to research and design. They joined the Climbing Wall Association, a professional trade organization, and took classes; they spoke with other gym owners, business professionals, and climbers; Zale shadowed at a climbing gym in another town. The two received local support as well, including a $13,000 grant from the economic development department of San Juan County, where the gym is located. 

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Lindsay said. 

They were building on their existing skills: Zale has experience in small business management, and Lindsay has a background in marketing and event coordination, and they’re both passionate about rock climbing. 

They deliberated carefully in designing the space, which is smaller than many gyms found in large cities. They blocked out areas for bouldering, top-roping, and conventional workouts, as well as for climbing-specific training equipment like a Kilter board (on which a set pattern of holds can be used to create thousands of routes at varying levels of steepness) and a treadwall (which is like a treadmill, but for climbing). 

In sketching their vision for the gym they would open, they agreed that they wanted it to be more than a place for climbers to physically train or a welcoming place for newcomers to try out the sport. They wanted it to be a place where climbers could hang out and develop relationships, and foster the local climbing culture.

“People aren’t just craving a workout,” Zale said. “People come to the gym for community.” 

As Linsday said, they wanted to “create a container for the climbing community to flourish.” 

To that end, Zale and Lindsay have plans to host movie nights and bouldering parties; they’ll also  partner with local organizations like the BEACON Afterschool Club to serve local kids and the county’s Department of Active Transportation and Trails to promote outdoor recreation ethics. 

Community response so far has been positive, the two said: turnout has exceeded their expectations and they’ve been delighted to see friendships blossom on the bouldering mats. Groups of climbers will take turns trying out problems, meet new acquaintances, and make plans to meet again at the gym or to climb outside. To Zale and Lindsay, that’s part of the point of climbing. 

“Climbing is addictive because it’s a community thing,” Lindsay said. 

Feature Image: Climb Moab Gym founders Kaya Lindsay (left), Justin Beitler (center) and Britt Zale in the recently opened gym. Photo courtesy of Climb Moab.

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