Toledo may not be known for its towering mountains or rocky cliffs, but climbing enthusiasts need not despair. Recently, two new climbing gyms and a variety of outdoor spaces have propelled the area forward (or upward as the case may be) in this category of adventurous sports. The city now boasts a variety of climbing gyms and walls that cater to climbers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or a complete beginner, old or young, Toledo has something to offer. In this article, we’ll compare the various climbing gyms and walls in the area to help you find the perfect spot for you and your family’s climbing adventures.
2900 N. Reynolds Rd.
This is the newest spot in town, having opened in early August 2023, and they bill themselves as “Toledo’s first full service climbing gym.” At 12,000 square feet, it is a pretty awesome place. “Everyone is shocked when they walk in and see how big it is,” Laura Hoag (Operations Leader) told me when I visited last week. I felt the same way when I toured the facility. It feels much larger than the building looks from Reynolds Rd. It is quite breathtaking how tall some of the climbs are. Adventus has a great variety of types and difficulties of climbs. As I watched two young boys scale smaller climbs that topped out at about thirty feet, Climbing Leader Ben Waggoner told me that they had considered making those climbs longer, but ultimately decided against it to give the kiddos a sense of achievement at finishing the climbs. That decision seemed to have paid off as these two boys came down from their climbs beaming with pride.
A new development in the climbing world are auto-belays, which are great because you don’t need a partner to belay you, you can just clip in and take off up the wall. Adventus had at least three of these set up while I was there, with two climbs (a beginner and an advanced) available for each auto-belay.
Adventus also has plenty of the more traditional climbs as well, including top-rope, lead, and bouldering. I watched a middle-aged woman lead climb up an overhang all the way to the top. A lot of college students were practicing on the bouldering wall (which offers over 100 different routes!). They also have around fifty different top rope climbs, including identical routes so you can race your friends.
The gym seems to be very family friendly as I saw quite a few parents and children while I was there. Both Laura and Ben told me that there isn’t a minimum age, there’s only a minimum weight. You need to be 33 pounds to use the auto-belays. Although as long as you meet the weight requirements, you are allowed to climb, Ben suggested that two and three year olds enjoy swinging from the ropes mostly and it isn’t until they are four or five that they really get into the climbing.
If Adventus is Toledo’s first full-service climbing gym, Climb Toledo is the area’s first bouldering gym. Located in a small space that was formerly a barbershop, Climb Toledo opened in the summer of 2020. With a focus on bouldering, Climb Toledo is a quick entry into the sport. They are typically open for four hours and users must receive a two hour spot via their website. The folks at Climb Toledo also host a lot of field trips to outdoor spots, check their Facebook page for updates. Here is a list of bouldering routes in the gym.
Gym entrance is $10 (for a two-hour slot) and shoe rentals are $2, so it is an inexpensive intro to an expensive hobby. Monthly memberships are only $30. Unfortunately, the minimum age for Climb Toledo is ten years old so you’d have to go somewhere else with the little ones.
┃2800 E. Rocket Dr. ┃419-530-3700┃
If you’re a student or faculty member at the University of Toledo, the university’s Climbing Wall, located in the Rec Center, is a convenient option for your family’s climbing needs. The indoor climbing wall provides a safe and controlled environment for climbers to practice their skills. Bouldering is allowed whenever the gym is open while top rope climbing requires a certification class.
While the facility might not be as extensive as specialized climbing gyms, it offers a cost-effective and accessible option for climbers on campus. Unfortunately, the Rec Center no longer allows the purchases of day passes so only members are allowed. A family membership for is $130 for employees, $150 for alumni, and $210 for the larger community.
┃26940 Lime City Rd., Perrysburg Open daily 8am until 30 minutes past sunset┃
Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve offers natural limestone cliffs that attract adventurous climbers. It is also a really great place to just go and explore. My two-year-old enjoyed climbing around the quarry and pretending he was a mountain goat.
*Note: Please do be careful with kids, as there are quite a few dangerous spots around; the continuous caution signs tells the same tale.
The rock formations present two bouldering and two top rope climbing opportunities. Climbers will need to exercise caution and bring their own gear as this location is less regulated than traditional climbing gyms. Users must also self-register for any top rope climbing or rappelling. However, for those seeking an authentic outdoor climbing experience, Sawyer Quarry is a must-visit destination. Or for those with adventurous children who need a little more danger than a playground can offer.
Blue Creek Metropark
┃7035 Providence St. Whitehouse ┃7am until dark┃
A Bouldering wall next to another limestone quarry. This one was a little difficult to find as I originally thought it was in the quarry itself. I walked around but could not find any place that looked safe to boulder. But the actual wall is actually down an unmarked trail across from the quarry.
Directions: Park by the sledding hill, and then walk back along the road you just drove on. The quarry will be to your right, but you’ll take a left into the woods and you will almost immediately arrive at an unmistakable climbing wall. It’s a rather long and tall wall so be careful. There were a couple climbs marked on it with white and orange chalk while we were there.
Playgrounds throughout the city
We are lucky as parents to have so many great playgrounds in Toledo. Many of them have little rock climbing areas; some with the same type of holds that you will find at the fancy climbing gyms. The new Grosbeak playground at Glass City Metropark has these holds along the outside of the slide that winds up the tower. The 577 Foundation has a little climbing wall in their children’s play area. The Secret Forest at the Toledo Botanical Gardens offers a lot of climbing opportunities. Watch your children as they play on playgrounds. Do they keep going back to the climbing areas? Then maybe they would enjoy some more adventurous climbs in the places listed above.
Toledo might not be synonymous with rock climbing, but its climbing community is thriving thanks to a range of indoor gyms and outdoor walls. From well-equipped climbing facilities to natural rock formations, the city caters to climbers of all levels and preferences. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the ropes or an experienced climber seeking a challenge, Toledo’s climbing options have something for everyone. So, grab your gear, chalk up your hands, and embark on an exciting climbing journey in Toledo. Happy climbing!
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