A Day in the Life: The six things to know about working at a climbing gym

1. The climbing gym is your oyster, but damn sometimes you get tired of seafood

Working in a climbing gym seems super awesome because you get to work at a place you LOVE, but sometimes it takes some of the magic out of climbing. We're always looking forward to getting a climbing sesh in after our shift — but sometimes after eight hours of orientations and birthday parties, even the thought of staying another five minutes sends us into fits of PTSD. Luckily after a closing shift, we can have the whole gym to ourselves!

Anisa's moment of zen after the chaos of a day at Summit Dallas.

Anisa's moment of zen after the chaos of a day at Summit Dallas.

2. We're more qualified than your middle school janitor at getting stuff clean

SO. MUCH. CLEANING. What no one ever tells you about this job is that it involves a lot of cleaning. In between mopping the obscene amounts of chalk from the mats, sweeping all the bits of tape and finger skin, and cleaning the bathroom that people still insist on wearing their climbing shoes into, I'd say that 95% of the job is cleaning ... with the other 5% for knowing where the band-aids are at. Something like that.

Ross' utility belt of super-cleanliness!

Ross' utility belt of super-cleanliness!

3. People assume we're pro-climbers ... and we're all like "Dude I just work here."

We're flattered by the amount of people who ask our opinions on a problem, or ask for our beta! But some of us are still on like, V3 — so when you ask for beta on that V9 proj our response might just be "Uhhh .... yeah just crimp harder?!!" While some of us might not have been climbing for 20 years, we make up for it in attentiveness — we watch all you guys on these routes and problems ALL DAY, so we can always spout off what we saw so-and-so do when they sent the problem. 

"Hi welcome to Summit Denton, can we help you?"

"Hi welcome to Summit Denton, can we help you?"

4. It takes a village to reset just one climbing wall

In between stripping, power washing, organizing and resetting, turning over just one wall at the gym takes a LOT of people. Power washing all the chalk and grime off our holds is a necessary evil, that becomes a lot more brutal in the winter when you're blasting holds with ice cold water outside in 30 degree weather. The more we're resetting, the more we need to strip and wash — so when preparing for a big competition we'll sometimes be at the gym til three in the morning just getting the holds clean enough to be reused. After they need to be sorted by color and size, and then, and ONLY THEN, can the routesetters do their magic and throw them back on the wall.

SORRY MALCOLM

5. We are all OBSESSED with climbing

We work at a climbing gym, climb in our off time, then go home and watch climbing videos. We are up on all the latest gear, and have visited the local chosspiles and can give you the beta on how to find them. We immerse ourselves in climbing and love to share that passion with you guys when you walk in the door!

The Denton crew on a family trip to Reimer's!

The Denton crew on a family trip to Reimer's!

6. We have more fun on our job than probably anyone else

We go through all the aforementioned struggles and STILL love what we do! We're never bored, and find plenty of opportunity to enjoy ourselves while on-shift. A job is only as cool as the people you work with, and we gotta say, we Summiters are some of the coolest folks around.