Mesa Rim: Hanging Around

A $17 day pass will give you access to Mesa Rim’s 30,000 square feet of climbing terrain and a free class with teachers from Kaya Yoga, a studio inside the gym. Located a 14-minute drive from campus, Mesa is immaculate — there’s no sweat-stained harnesses or scuffed floors here. The floor under the climbing portion is padded, while marble, wood and slate floors cover the rest of Mesa’s expansive ground. The place is eco-conscious too, and uses chalk balls instead of chalk dust to reduce the amount of chalk that ends up airborne.

For those coming in sans equipment, separate (low) prices are set for each item. Employees are quick to assist burgeon- ing climbers with harnesses or grips via a $30 non-member belay lesson (a quick how-to for newcomers) or the more complex lead-climbing lesson for those feeling a little more confident in their skill level.
The routes range from 5.5 (the easiest route) to 5.14d (think Spiderman hanging from treacherous heights — these are some of the hardest routes in the world), pandering to all skill and experience levels.
If that’s not exciting enough for you, Mesa also has crack climbing where daredevils can scale multiple crevices of varying widths, using just fingers or a forearm to test upper body stamina.
Boulderers can also take advantage of the gym’s “walk off climbing”, which lets participants hoist themselves up over the structure and go down a short flight of stairs, instead of dropping down off of the wall. There’s also chimneys for the people looking to climb something resembling an elongated door frame, with walls on two sides of you, without holds and a bouldering cave that lets people climb without a rope at a much smaller height. The cave has one straight wall and another curved one that extends for 100 feet and complexity from VB (easy) to V13d (hard).
But Mesa isn’t just about climbing — there’s a separate room for hosting parties, a regular gym with a squishy- chaired, WiFi-equipped lounge area (complete with a kid’s section), an empty office space that will soon be converted to a space for an in-house chiropractor and masseuse and a kid’s climbing wall (with animal and face-shaped wall holds). If you’re hungry, the retail shop at the front of the gym has healthy snacks (read: powerbars) — if all else fails, it’s only a five-minute walk to Mira Mesa blvd. And did we mention there’s a sauna inside the locker rooms and bathrooms?
There are drawbacks to Mesa’s expansive size — for one, $17 dollars is pretty steep for a day at a climbing gym, and it’s hard to break into the climbing “scene” as a beginner in such a large, overwhelming atmosphere. First-timers may want to start out in a smaller locale.
A little advice: If you find yourself smitten with the rocky highs and lows, drop some cash on your own shoe and har- ness set. It’s worth avoiding the disgusting bowling alley feel on your feet.
Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.