Not long ago, a friend was teling me about local gyms he had joined and was now looking for something better. He asked “why would Gemstone be a better deal?” We talked about pros and cons, but he got really interested in Gemstone when he read an article in Time magazine about how Rock Climbing may be the Ultimate Full Body Workout.* He laughed at the quote, “From the tips of your fingers to your back, abs, calves and thighs, climbing engages nearly all muscle groups.”

I told him, “It’s true, indoor climbing is not only a great full body workout, but getting that workout is fun. In fact, Gemstone is the premier indoor climbing gym in southern Idaho and northern Nevada.”

I then added, “take a look, because Gemstone is more than just a gym.”

1.  Accident rate. Yeah, I get it, why start with this? Because it’s important. It may be hard to believe, but extensive research shows indoor climbing is safer than badminton. For climbing, it’s 0.02 injuries per 1000 workouts whereas badminton ranged from 3.1 to 6.8 injuries per 1000.** The injury rate at an indoor climbing gym is pretty low and getting lower nationwide as gyms hire only certified instructors and staff. The Gemstone staff may be young but they are certified professionals who take their job seriously.

2. If you’ve never tried indoor climbing, you can’t believe what you’re missing! I’ve made a lot of friends since I started going to Gemstone and I’ve noticed most of them climb for the fun of it, not for a workout like me. And maybe that explains why they climb so much better than me. They’re getting in shape and having fun doing it. And the positive vibe is cool; body shape or ability don’t matter – effort is cheered by everyone and it’s great. And with 9 Tru-Blu Auto-belays (the safest in the world) you can practice or get a great work-out anytime.

Gemstone route setters create 12 to 15 new top rope, lead, and auto-belay routes every week. You can watch them weave their magic 3 days a week as they create challenging new routes for all ages and abilities. And then there’s Boulder Set Thursday! 12-16 new boulder problems every Thursday and a new Problem of the Week. Flash it (finish the route the first time) and get a chance to win (prizes change week to week).

And all holds are pressure washed clean and looking new before they’re put back on the wall.

3. And Beyond Climbing? Lots of options are included in a membership: there’s the climbing, but there’s also yoga, cardio, “base camp,” weight lifting, and fitness classes. Let’s say you are an old school weightlifter — you’ll find everything you need except machines – it’s a free weight gym and the gear and rig is top of the line. If you don’t have a workout routine or you want to change it up but not take a class? Dynamic and performance workouts are posted weekly. The yoga studio is the best in town with about 15 classes through the week including hot, warm, vinyasa, among others. High quality cardio machines (treadmill, elliptical, bikes, rowers) overlook the climbing floor (no TVs here). And you’ll see all types of bodies getting it done in the most encouraging and positive environment around.

Last, but certainly not least is the 13,500 sq. ft. of climbing surface area – maybe not the largest but certainly the best in Idaho and northern Nevada. The gym is designed as 40% beginner, 40% intermediate, 20% advanced so there’s something for everyone regardless of age or experience.

4. I looked at other gyms through-out the northwest (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada) and discovered that except for one in Washington, families and kids were virtually ignored. Gemstone welcomes families and devoted nearly 25% of the gym to a Family and Teaching Area. There are routes for all levels and ages, beginners to advanced and 3 to old. To be sure, families and kids are welcome everywhere but with the birthday party rooms, access to restrooms and water fountains, it’s nice having an area where kids can be kids.

5. Variety. Admit it, even if you love exercising, an indoor setting can get stale. Most gyms try to minimize this by rearranging equipment or painting a room (big whoop!).   At this gym, you can do something different every time you come in, even if it’s 3 or 4 times per week: climb, yoga, OCR, base camp, boulder, weights, etc. And since all climbing routes change nearly every 6 weeks, there’s always something new and you only have so long to complete that hard route. One constant you’ll soon recognize is Gemstone is always looking to be better. And among “better” are upscale locker rooms with custom tile floors/walls/countertops, clean showers and toilets. Yes, it may sound gross, but it’s something my wife and I look at, and Gemstone is clean.

6. Membership options are as numerous as the workout and climbing options. From a transferrable 10-day punch pass (you can use with or give to your friends) to Annual Memberships. Members receive discounts on classes, clinics, and 10% off retail gear. Then there are member only events such as “black out climbing (head lamps only),” holiday parties, BBQs, discounts on films, lectures, etc., and 2 guest passes per month (this alone is worth $30).

And if you’re not a member, there are still an incredible variety of events. Birthday Parties, Church Groups, Corporate Events, Lock-ins, wedding parties… yes, wedding Parties, Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, School Events, and Family Get-Togethers.

7. Personal and Performance Training. Overall fitness as well as performance fitness (these are two different things!) are available at Gemstone and can be scheduled to fit your busy life. Gemstone works with you to build a program so you get the most out of it – in a nutshell, it’s about you and your goals. The team being assembled at Gemstone is among the best in the country. Team leaders are Kim DePew (yoga) and certified personal trainer Brian McCombs, a Spartan pro athlete now rated #9 in the United States. Jesse Clark, nationally ranked martial arts instructor, recently joined the Gemstone Team of top line instructors. They don’t need to show you how good they are; their goal is to help you be as good as you want to be.

8. Gemstone Climbing School. Gemstone is developing more than just athletes – these athletes are developing persistence, dedication, integrity, and determination. For example, kids climb almost before they walk and in their experience it doesn’t change with age. Climbing has been shown to help not only those in traditional sports, but the 70% who don’t fit regular interscholastic sports, climbing is a godsend. Because of the level of concentration required, climbing improves mental acuity, problem solving, while increasing physical strength, flexibility, and endurance. There are youth classes, adult classes, a recreational team, and a competitive climbing team.

Today, indoor climbing is the fastest growing sport in the country. And Climbing is now an Olympic Sport.

Although just starting their 3rd year, competitive team members are making it to Regional and Divisional competitions. These kids are good. And one reason is they are competing with the best in the USA. The National Bouldering Champions (men and women) climb out of SLC and are in our 5 state region. For next year’s 2021 Olympics, Gemstone may have a few athletes in the running!! And you can start working on your Olympic dream right here, right now!!

9. ADA Accessibility. Gemstone Climbing is an ADA accessible indoor climbing gym. Coincidentally, the first in the United States – right here in Twin Falls, ID. They’ve hosted Courageous Kids and are working with local physical therapy groups and St. Luke’s. Climbing has been shown to be therapeutic for a variety of disabilities from autism to missing an arm or leg. The grins, smiles, and laughter from one of these kids is more rewarding than I can describe.

But the owners also recognized some kids don’t have the financial means. So, Gemstone partnered with United Way and created a Scholarship program for disabled and disadvantaged youth. At every competition and through-out the year, Gemstone puts on fund raisers for their scholarship fund. Gemstone is creating opportunities for everyone.

10. Location, Location, Location! If you’re a regular to all the family-friendly events that take place in Downtown Twin Falls, or would love to make them a part of your life, you’ll quickly learn that Gemstone Climbing Center is an active part of these goings-on. Locally owned, locally operated, AND the first ADA accessible gym in the country, the owners of Gemstone have brought something to our community we can be proud of and something most other gyms only dream about.

From local and regional indoor climbing events to concerts and celebrating a wide variety of worthy causes, think of your membership to Gemstone as a Front Row Seat to all that’s happening in the Scenic Center of the Southern Idaho.

The possibilities are endless, the reasons many, and opportunities await you!   Gemstone Performance and Fitness is a great place to get fit and have a great time!!

-Don Campbell


*Why Rock Climbing may be the ultimate full-body workout. Markham Heid, February, 2018. Time Magazine, Health Newsletter

**Acute injury risk and severity in indoor climbing – a prospective analysis of 515,337 indoor climbing wall visits in 5 years. VR Schoffl, et. al. Wilderness Environ Med, 2013 Sep: 24(3). Injury rate of 0.02 injuries per 1000 visits.

Active Living and Injury Risk, UCLA. J. Parkkari, Int. Journal of sports Medicine 2004: 25 Injury rates for numerous sports.

College Sports-Related Injuries- United States, 2009-2010 through 2013-2014 Academic Years. ZY Kerr, et. al. December 2015, 64(48). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Injury rate table men’s cross country 4.7 injuries per 1000 exposures (workouts), women’s cross country 5.3 injuries per 1000 exposures.

This was adapted for Gemstone Climbing and Performance from High Point Downtown by @ That Outdoor Guy copyrighted 2015. High Point Downtown is in Chattanooga, TN and is “The Official Climbing Center of @ That Outdoor Guy.” And “The Official Gym of @ That Outdoor Guy.” Information and text has been changed to conform to Gemstone. Thanks Outdoor Guy.