Rock climbing is not just a unique and challenging sport, but also a way of life. If you want to succeed on the wall, it is not enough to have pure strength or dynamics; you must be on the top mentally as well. The state of your mind is just as important as your physical condition, and as rock climbing develops both instantly and effectively, it serves you well in every walk of life. Also, it is the art of movement, requiring the highest precision and aesthetics to succeed, making it the dance of extreme sports. Last but not least, rock climbing is also equals to being in harmony and union with nature, not fighting with the wall, but against yourself.
In our modern world, the distance between us and nature is sometimes insuperable. Rock climbing is an outdoor sport, and it is not easy to do on a regular basis if you live an urban life, but luckily the need brought with itself the solution. Wall climbing gyms are date back to the 1960s, and have an unbroken popularity and spreading since that time. One of Budapest best gyms, and actually one of the oldest ones is the Boulder Club in the loft of the Váci Str. Mountex store.
First of all, let me clarify the difference between bouldering and the so called sport climbing. During sport climbs, you use a rope for belaying, and you climb higher but easier walls. During bouldering, you don’t have any sort of safety device other than maybe a mat under your feet, but you climb much shorter and really hard routes, usually 5-10 moves on overhanging walls with the smallest holds possible. A rock climber usually do both, pushing the limits of each style.
So, let’s get back to our mighty Boulder Club, the long time favourite of many climbers. It is located in Lehel sq., one stop away from the Nyugati Railway Station. Sure it is much easier to get there than any climbable rock around the city. The building itself is a huge Mountex outdoor store, so you can get all the equipment you’ll need, and actually practise rock climbing at the same place. You have to be somewhat familiar though to get in, you have to cross a barrier and a gate at the back of the building, go through an unsigned door, ring a bell, and you almost done! You have to climb some stairs, but there you definitely notice that you are in the right place. There are display cabinets full of climbing equipment, amazing pictures on the wall and bikes hanging everywhere from the banisters. Also, you can hear some good music, or sometimes the guitar of the guy at the cashier, who is a recognized swing musician too. In the forefront, there is a big couch, a public computer and usually few guys exercising. You get your daily ticket for 1.000-1.300 forints depending on what part of the day you choose, or you can have a 10 occasion ticket for 8.500/11.000 forints. You can also rent a climbing shoe if you are new to the sport and just want to try it, but a regular sports shoe will do for the first times as well. You get your locker with the ticket, but here I should mention a really good experience. It happened to me few times that I accidentally left my valuables on the bench in the locker room (supplied with a bath as well), but it always remained untouched for 3-4 hours. Sure, it is a place with strong communal ties. If you go there regularly, you’ll easily find some good company to problem-solve together around the wall, and maybe have a drink after at the small bar just on the top of the forefront.
The gym is one of the older ones, but it does not mean any bad in terms of equipment. It is the biggest boulder gym in the city, and the guys working there constantly work on improving it. Holds are changed and cleaned in every two or so months, and just recently there was a big expansion to the wall. Sadly or not, there are no competitions in this club, as in a few others. It would be a great place for it, as the wall itself is perfect, but it would also mean that the gym wouldn’t be functioning for a few days, and here it comes another great advantage of the place. It is open from 8a.m. to 10p.m. during weekdays, and 10a.m. to 10p.m during the weekend and holydays. Given the location, the opening hours, the professional grade wall, the kind employees and the fairly good price compared to other sport facilities in the city, you barely have any good reasons not to try it if you are interested. And remember, you train for the rock! Go for it!