I spent some time in the south of France recently. Of course, I couldn’t leave without checking out a local boulder gym. Out of the numerous options available, I chose the Block’Out company’s branch in Montpellier, or, to be precise in Castelnau-le-Lez.
The welcome and setup
I received a very warm welcome with a super friendly employee showing me around. They have a kids’ area on the first floor with short routes where you can warm up and there is this pipe slide you can use to get back down. I didn’t want to try it but it must be a lot of fun.
They have a café where you can sit outside in the summer, an inside and an outside bouldering area, locker rooms with showers, as well as a mixed sauna which is included in the price (you have to wear your bathing suit however). There also is a strength training area, which unlike at most other gyms, is not on the first floor 😉 While there would be lockers in the changing room, most people seem to put their things in the common Ikea Billy style square things close to the mats which many gyms have. And so did I. They also have a water fountain where you can recharge your water bottle for free if you brought one.
Difficulty levels and selection of routes
The levels seem quite similar as in most places, however I found the first two levels weird. They had extremely many holds (like crazy many) but they were not very usual ones I hadn’t seen before. Both those difficulty levels were extremely easy and thus, a bit pointless, I found. The thrid level (blue), however, held many nice challanges. And, like I was pleased to see in Amsterdam as well, they have lots of easy slopers. In many gyms, especially in our home gym sadly, I find that there are very few slopers in general and those usually only start at the difficult levels. So that when you don’t easily master those levels, you are confronted both with your difficulty with the route level as well as having to adapt to this new hold type. I think this is pretty shit didactically and thus, was very happy to find those easier slopers (and even slab routes!) in Block’Out Montpellier and Monk Amsterdam.
I tried out many routes. Flashed a few. But as usual was also not my normal (at-home) fitness level because of the holiday. It’s so extreme how fast a little less training has an impact on your bouldering. It’s scary! But I met a few people and had a nice chat, so it was a success after all.
The price of 16€ for university students or 20€ without reduction for entrance and renting shoes is quite steep. I am always astonished, time and time again, how expensive a hobby bouldering really is. I mean, ok, many people stay really long but I usually come for an intensive workout and see no point in lingering much longer after I’m tired. I don’t usually do multiple sessions in a day. I find it much more effective to come regularly and have quick and efficient trainings. However, the steep prices don’t really allow you to do that when you’re not at your home gym with a monthly pass which makes it a bit cheaper. So yeah, this is the only criticism and it really also applies to our home bouldergym, Boulderclub in Graz.
Hope this review helped someone,