Indoor Bouldering Comes to NOLA
Sep 21 2015

Indoor Bouldering Comes to NOLA

By: Celeste Turner

Rock climbers, rejoice! New Orleans has officially opened a new indoor rock climbing gym named NOBL, New Orleans Boulder Lounge, located at 1746 Tchoupitoulas Street. With its unique design of angled walls from 12 to 15 feet, NOBL requires no ropes because all climbing is done at lower heights over padded floors made of thick-density foam.

“This gym is open to anyone who wants to come out and try climbing on their own,” says Eli Klarman, a Tulane graduate student and owner of NOBL. “Anyone can climb, no matter their age or experience level.”

Since Hurricane Katrina, the rock climbing community has lacked a facility for their sport. “New Orleans has been hurting for a climbing gym,” agrees Klarman, “and we realize our facility might not satisfy the growing demand, but we definitely have an eye toward growing in the future.”

For access to the gym, climbers can sign up for a monthly membership, which starts at $60/month for an adult and $55/month for students and children. Another option is the day pass, which costs $15 for an adult and $12 for students/children. Introductory lessons and private coaches are available.

Bouldering is a rock-climbing style done without the use of ropes or a harness.

In addition to climbing, NOBL offers yoga classes that are included in the day pass or monthly membership. “Yoga is great specifically for improving the strength, flexibility and breathing technique needed to climb at a high level,” says Klarman, who was inspired to open a bouldering gym in New Orleans after a climbing trip in Wadi Rum, Jordan, during the spring of 2013. Yoga classes are one hour long and are offered every day during the week, taught by a variety of popular local instructors. There is also an hour and a half Acro class on Thursdays, which is also included with a NOBL day pass or membership.

The yoga studio and fitness area complement the climbing workout, while the lounge area provides a restaurant-style space with a stage and professional sound system. “The lounge is primarily a place to relax and unwind,” notes Klarman. “We think of it like a coffee shop environment inside a climbing gym...we can hold all kinds of music events.” 

On August 25, NOBL hosted its first “Climb by Donation Day,” which provided access to climbing and yoga classes all day long, with all proceeds given to a local charity. This particular event benefited the non-profit organization Fitlot, which installs outdoor fitness equipment around the city. “We are at our halfway point of $13,157 to reach our goal of $35,000,” says Adam Mejerson, founder of Fitlot. The NOBL event raised over $2300, which will go directly toward the construction of Fitlot's flagship fitness park along the Lafitte Greenway. Donation Days at NOBL will be held monthly to increase climbing access and raise money for local charitable causes. 

Another special event held in August was the celebration of NOBL's grand opening on August 30. Although NOBL had been open every weekday from 12 pm to 10 pm and from 10 am to 10 pm on weekends since August 6, the grand party was held on August 30.  Climbers were given free access to NOBL, including day passes and shoe rentals from 2 pm to 6 pm. At 6 pm, the climbing stopped so the party could begin with food, drink, live music and friends. 

Even if this is your first experience with bouldering, the climbing community welcomes anyone who will attempt to scale the wall. “I took a big step and held on,” says 97½-year-old Roslyn Klarman, Eli’s grandmother. “My grandson told me what to do. He is a good teacher. I wouldn't go up any higher because I don't want to take the chance and fall. I don't want to break a hip at my age...that's a big fear!” Roslyn, or “Roz,” was one of several fearless cavaliers who set their feet on the colorful walls and tested their climbing skills at NOBL, where age is only a number for the fun at heart. 

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