Grateful for the change of school schedule from Central American to Northern American, this TravelingMom’s sons finally got a summer vacation US style, experiencing summer camps in a unique way. Learn all about their adventures at an indoor climbing gym.
Take the Kids to and Indoor Climbing Gym on Your Next Vacation
Warning – after reading this, you probably will have some serious changes to your travel plans. At least that’s what happened to us.
Living in Guatemala, we’ve always been on the Southern Hemisphere with our school schedule. Gratefully, after many years of parental requests for a schedule change, our private school, which has more international kids than locals, gave us six weeks off for summer, mid-June to the end of July.
For the first time ever, my kids can experience summer camps and summer fun in the US. Normally, we have two weeks off at a time. We usually visit my family every year for their break. But my parents recently moved to the Metro NYC area, on the New Jersey side. The options for fun grew exponentially!
The Best Laid Plans….
We planned our trip out fully – or so we thought.
My oldest boy, 14 years old, decided on a mini-camp program for first-time sleep away campers. I signed him up for one week because I wasn’t sure how he would adjust. Of course, he did great and wanted to stay for the whole eight weeks!
My youngest, 8, signed up for YMCA travel camp. His first time in a US camp, with over twenty kids in a group. Where we come from, everything from classes to camps were no more than 10 – 12 kids.
Even though I only had about one week of camp time organized for each son, we had two full weeks of other activities planned and arranged.
That was until I discovered Gravity Vault.
Why I started to search for an indoor climbing gym
My men, two sons and husband, have been into climbing for over five years. We’ve even gone to Siurana, Spain, considered by most climbers as one of the best spots in the world to climb. You can literally stay there all your life and never do the same route twice. For climbers, it’s a really big deal.
However, in Guatemala, climbing isn’t super accessible. The closest indoor climbing gym is about 1.5 hours from our house.
Then, about six months ago, the Guatemalan Climbing Federation opened a branch right in our hometown. A full-on climbing team and community assembled in seconds. And my sons gladly joined the club.
The facilities are meager, but the climbers have become a close-knit community. The coach is truly one of the most inspirational people we can get.
Needless to say, my kids are now obsessed with climbing. So two weeks before arriving in the States, I wanted to see if there was a place nearby where they could climb.
When I got in touch with Andres from Gravity Vault, we started to talk about all the options for kids, especially in the summer months. That’s when plans changed!
The options were endless:
- Private Classes
- Team Practices
- Weekly Camps (certain weeks only)
- Climbing on your own
Before I knew it, I had rearranged most of our itinerary (other than the camps) so my kids could spend as much time as possible at the gym.
My youngest signed up for a private class and had some training sessions with the team. He also did a two-hour break camp.
I found a way to get my older son signed up for the week-long rock climbing class and one team practice.
Reality vs. Internet Reading
Since my husband and kids climbed in the past, we’ve seen some cool gyms, mainly in Spain. We’ve been to gyms designed by the top climbers in the world, such as Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra and Alex Honnold.
However, when my youngest son and I walked into Gravity Vault, it was like nothing we’ve seen before. I knew my kids were about to get the best training possible.
Gravity Vault is a chain of gyms in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Hoboken, the one closest to my parents’ house, is the flagship gym. It has two floors, one for climbing with ropes and one for bouldering.
Due to its immense size, you never feel the influx of people coming and going. In other words, my kids climbed the entire time, with only a natural break to rest, rather than wait their turn.
Our biggest issue back home is that at the federation gym, there is only one wall. Each kid spends more time waiting for his turn than actually climbing. So even if the coach is great, there is only so much climbing they can do.
Managing to rearrange my older son’s schedule, I signed him up for Camp Rocks, a one-week climbing camp.
Three of the five days are spent in the gym between climbing sessions and games for diversion
During the other two days, if weather permits, they go to a climbing rock and obstacle course. For my son’s week, the second day they had programmed to go to the rock was torrential rainfall, so they enjoyed one day at the obstacle course .The other field trip day, they went to another Gravity Vault gym which had much harder bouldering walls.
The camp is for ages 7 – 14, and all levels. With my son being a higher level, he was able to connect with other kids that climb at that level and it helped them all push themselves.
Not only have our travel plans changed for our summer break, it looks like we will be moving around our winter break as well to be here in December for several weeks – back at the gym.
It is too soon to tell what the schedule for kids’ activities will be in December. We definitely know that kids want to come back and train with the team, and who knows what else.
The bottom line, if your kids have any interest at all in rock climbing, Gravity Vault is without a doubt one of the best options for them. They have something for everyone, from the zero level experienced to super advanced.
But it’s not only for kids. The gym was packed every time we were there with people of all ages and levels. And I mean packed. I have never seen so many people actively enjoying climbing other than our visit to Spain. And still no waiting!
We love being part of the universal climbing community and this is one great place to fit right in.
General Information for Gravity Vault
The Gravity Vault Indoor Rock Gyms are facilities where anyone can experience excitement of rock climbing.
Each of their facilities is custom designed and has its own unique layout. You won’t see the same walls anywhere else.
- Key Holes
- Climbing Walls
- Rope Stations
- Extensive Bouldering – Dynamic Lead Climbing
- Cardiovascular and Strength Training Areas
- Lounges – Pro Shops
- Private Party Rooms