Would climbers be willing to accept certain limitations in order to start indoor climbing again?

Find out what over 23,000 gym customers think about it

May 21, 2020 (update)

Many gym owners, experts and representatives of the indoor climbing industry agree that a reopening of climbing gyms can only take place under certain controlled circumstances. The goal is to implement effective Covid-19 risk mitigation measures, ensuring appropriate hygiene and social distancing.

We have carried out a survey, asking climbers their opinion on possible solutions to the current challenges. The proposed measures are based on common suggestions and general recommendations. Please note that they have not been tested, nor do they have to necessarily be implemented at gyms in the way described, or at all.

It has to be said that there are several other considerations to be taken into account when deciding about a potential reopening, such as current legislation and economic considerations. The major focus of this study is to analyse which solutions and restrictions would be acceptable for climbers. After all, climbers expect to have fun and a pleasant experience when climbing in the gym. This assessment can ultimately help gyms make further informed decisions.

As we are sharing these results, our survey still remains open since demand and interest continues to be high and many gyms would like to know more about their individual outcome. Because there are currently many ongoing processes at a political, economic and social level, we have decided to prioritize the rapid availability of results over final completeness. Furthermore, many results already seem to be very clear.

The May 7th version, in which we presented the results of the first 16,000 participants, has now been updated. To date, over 23,000 climbers have answered the questionnaire.

If you’re interested in sharing the survey with your climbers and receiving your gym’s individual results, please contact us.

Browse through the results of the study here. You can filter by country.
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Who were the participants?

The majority of a total of 23,000 participants come from Europe, mainly from Germany (36%) and the United Kingdom (13%), followed by the Canada (12%) and the United States (12%). An initial analysis has shown that there are no major country-specific differences.

71 percent of the participants live in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. More than half state that they usually come to the gym more than twice a week (53%), 37% climb regularly (1-2 times a week), 9% less often. The most common form of climbing among participants is bouldering (83%), about half of the participants lead climb (46%), 34% top-rope and 15% use auto-belay devices.

“Yes” to Covid-19 risk mitigation measures

Overall, 94 percent of the climbers would like to climb at the gym again, for 61 percent specific measures are a prerequisite for this. Only 6 percent would not feel safe.

The majority of climbers would agree with the proposed measures. There is a high willingness to adhere to hand hygiene measures (98%), to have body temperature measured at the entrance (91%), to refrain from using changing rooms (89%) and showers (76%), and to agree to fewer routes and boulders (81%). A large proportion would also be willing to wear a mask (67%). However, only half of all climbers would want to climb in a restricted, assigned area.

Introduce time slots, keep entrance prices

Among the participants, almost all would be prepared to limit their stay in the gym to a given maximum time, with 1.5 hours (39%), 2 hours (43%) or 2.5 hours (15%) being sufficient for many. Many climbers would also have the opportunity to come climbing outside peak hours, for example on weekends after 6pm (60%) or early in the morning (45%), during the week in the morning or at noon (53%) or late in the evening (47%).

Most climbers would also find it helpful to be able to use digital tools to find out about the current number of visitors in the gym (79%), reserve time slots for climbing (79%) and check in contact-free (56%). Find out more about software tools to help you manage headcounts, check-in, slot bookings, avoiding queues and much more.

The climbers participating in this survey also showed a great deal of understanding in regards to the difficult situation their local gym is in and would agree to pay the same admission and membership fees (77%) or even higher prices (16%). Only 7% would expect to pay less.

A total of 75 percent of the participants announced that they want to spend the same amount on climbing in the future as they did before the Covid-19 pandemic. 14 percent would even like to spend more money on climbing, while 6 percent reported they are likely to spend less.

The climbers surveyed are also active at home during the closure of their gyms. They keep fit mainly with general fitness training (71%), hangboard training (42%) and online courses (26%).

Traveling plans are changing

As expected, the current crisis has had a considerable impact on the travel activities of climbers and will continue to affect them in the near future. Many climbers are no longer able to go on trips as planned (35%). Although a total of 73% would like to travel again as soon as it is allowed, they would rather travel only within their own country (22%) or region (21%) or to countries reachable by car (18%). Only 12% say they would also like to travel by plane or to international destinations.


All in all, it can be said that the majority of climbers would very much like to return to the gym for climbing and would also be open to following certain regulations. It can be assumed that climbers are aware of the difficult situation their local gym faces, and that they know that it is important to follow the rules in order to be able to continue climbing in the gym after a potential reopening.

The present results can hopefully serve as a guide to reflect on a possible resumption of gym operations. Of course, every decision has to take other criteria into account - such as economic efficiency and the current legal situation.

Contact us to find out how the visitors of your gym have responded.

Find out more about digital tools that can help you manage headcounts, check-in, slot bookings, avoiding queues, and much more.