Alternative Rocks: Brooklyn Boulders Comes to Somerville

Check out an amped-up new training destination for the indoor mountaineer.


Rock climbing photo via Shutterstock

For the first four dozen feet, the grueling climb wends its way up precipitous inclines, along curves that bow out, then recess, with views of nothing but rock and crevice and your own dripping sweat. Then, at precisely 50 feet (that’s five stories up), you hoist your aching body over the final hurdle for the magic: a sweeping Boston-skyline view. Only you’re not on a mountaintop. You’re surrounded by windows in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse—in Somerville.

New York transplant Brooklyn Boulders is only the latest indoor rock-climbing spot to open locally in recent years (see also: Watertown’s Central Rock Gym), part of a fitness trend that began with mountaineers looking to winter-train indoors and soon attracted treadmill-weary gym-goers wanting to spice up their routines. Rock climbing—even when performed on a smooth-birch, colored-rock-festooned wall resembling something psychedelic from Frank Gehry—offers a complete workout that incorporates cardio and strength-training, plus a healthy dose of mental maneuvering. “You have to map out your route and find the best way to get to the top,” says cofounder Jeremy Balboni. “You need emotional control, and you need to be in control of your body.”

If it’s your mountain-man scruff that’s out of control, Brooklyn Boulders’ on-site barbershop offers a civilized shave. Other amenities include weight rooms, yoga and Pilates classes, saunas, a café, and a “co-working” office space for getting non-climbing tasks completed.

But the only way to see the million-dollar view is to strap on that harness and head for the top.

Brooklyn Boulders, 12A Tyler St., Somerville, 617-623-6700,