5 Ways Auto Belays Can Build a Stronger Climbing Community

At TRUBLUE Climbing, we are committed to growing the sport of climbing. Without question one effective way to accomplish this is to create strong local climbing communities. But, what exactly is a climbing community? Webster’s has two definitions for community, arguably both important to consider as we all strive to create and foster an inclusive climbing environment:

com·mu·ni·ty

  1. A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
  2. A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

With this in mind, we asked some of our partners how TRUBLUE Auto Belays help them to create and cultivate resilient climbing communities. This is what they had to say.

1. Auto Belays help to attract and retain new climbers

Climbing on an auto belay at Grand River Rocks Climbing Gym

Without a thriving membership program it can be hard to create and sustain a strong climbing community. Foreign gear, new skills, belay tests, or climbing with a stranger are all friction points that can prevent a gym — and its community — from growing. Auto belays are a great way to reduce these barriers to entry for newcomers. By making it easy for people to try climbing, you’re more likely to get and keep their business. Plus, in Climbing Wall Association's most recent Indoor Climber Survey Report auto belays ranked in the top 3 amenities desired by climbers. Give climbers what they want, and it’ll be easier to convert them to members while maximizing your profits and community.

2. Auto Belays enable solo climbers to connect

Climbing on an auto belay at Ubergrippen Climbing Gym

There are lots of reasons a solo climber finds their way to a gym — maybe they’re new to the sport of climbing, maybe they’re new to town, maybe they’ve just committed to more regular training to send their next project. And, while some may want to climb alone, if they are looking to meet a partner, but are not into texting random numbers from a meet up board, auto belays can bring them together. By climbing on a TRUBLUE, solo climbers can naturally engage others that are auto belaying when they’re ready to. Just think of it like this: having auto belays in your gym is like having a Match.com for climbers, where single climbers can meet up and find their next life partner.

3. Auto Belays empower climbers to learn new skills, and build their climbing network along the way

Climbing on an auto belay at Risen Rock Climbing Gym

Let’s face it — groups of talented climbers can create an intimidating vibe for those just starting out. Auto belays can be used as tools to ease climbers into new skills and stretch them out of their comfort zones. From basic climbing strength and movement, to belay and lead climbing skills, auto belays are a great teaching and training tool as climbers progress. Before you know it, they’ll be crushing routes and engaged members of your climbing community.

4. Auto belays make it easy to welcome third wheels

Climbing on an auto belay at Texas Rock Climbing Gym

Communities don’t always have even numbers of members, and neither do groups of climbers wanting to use your gym. You may not want to go to the movies alone if your date cancels, and definitely don’t want to bring a friend on your Friday night dinner date, but climbing alone or bringing a third wheel is usually a good time. Even so, with busy schedules and only so much time in the day we don’t always want to have to sit out every third climb. Auto belays not only enable more efficient climbing for an individual or a group — whether it’s warmups, projects, or endurance training — they also make it more inviting or less awkward for all the third wheels out there.

5. Auto Belays improve belaytionships during endurance training

Climber Paige Classen discusses how she uses auto belays for endurance training

Celebrating climbing accomplishments with your partners and greater climbing community is a terrific way to grow together. But, sometimes the prep that goes into that is a solo act. Days spent focused and alone on the treadwalls, hangboards, in the weight room, and even spin or yoga studios are necessary to climb at your peak so you can then go crush with your favorite partner. Having to belay someone for 500 or even 1,000 feet of indoor climbing in an evening could put some serious strain on relationships within the community. To quote Paige Claassen, “TRUBLUE doesn’t care.”

Let’s wrap this up. To build and maintain a strong climbing community in your gym you must get people on your walls and keep them coming back. Auto belays make that possible whether they are new or existing climbers, strong or just trying to make it to the top, coming in alone, with a group or looking for a partner. Plus, why wouldn’t you add one more amenity that climbers want, and create a community rather than a clique?

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