By Rachel Werner | Photographed by Kaia Calhoun

Ascending to the top takes more than pure grit at Boulders Climbing Gym. For 20 years, the facility has been a rigorous training ground for novice rock climbers, competitive teams, recreational clubs and bouldering aficionados.

Though brute force may be useful in initial ascents, Manager Katie Schultz says it’s often easier for women to excel in the sport because the mental strategy needed to navigate a challenging slope may come more naturally to women than to men. “Women are very suited to climbing, usually due to a larger range of flexibility and a lower center of gravity,” she explains. “Having less physical barriers and limitations often affords us extra time and mental space while scaling a surface.”

Schultz also emphasizes Boulders’ commitment to ensuring all its members and day visitors feel empowered and have access to the right tools and instruction to achieve success on-site and during outdoor expeditions. The gym offers yoga instruction three to four times a week, aimed at building core strength and preventing injuries. Each month it also hosts outside groups such as Madison Women Climbers and a special adaptive climbers’ series for participants with special needs.

“It’s very affirming when people think they can’t do it, then make it to the top,” she says. “And seeing the women belayed next to you do well doesn’t detract from, but only deepens, your success.”

Boulders Climbing Gym
3964 Commercial Ave., Madison
[email protected]

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