The Bouldering Garden is a rock climbing gym on St. Charles Road in Columbia that owner Marcus Floyd describes as “a cave of climbing.”
“It’s an easy walk-in workout,” Floyd said. “Most people think you have to take a class to do this or to learn that. But no, it’s come in and have fun.”
The gym has a 12-foot bouldering wall and offers beginner and advanced climbing routes, equipment to check out and instruction from qualified staff.
Floyd said beginners can expect “hands-on fun immediately.” The advanced routes for more experienced climbers have more challenging features and overhangs to navigate.
“Instead of just flat walls without any cracks or ins-and-outs, there are a lot of features,” Floyd said. “Features are important.”
The features include protrusions or indentations in an indoor climbing wall that mimic the rock landscape for climbers.
An initial day pass at the gym costs $25 per person with discounts offered for groups. For an extra $5, the day pass includes climbing shoes, chalk and basic instruction. A return pass drops to $15 per person with an additional $5 to rent equipment.
The Bouldering Garden is available for events as well, ranging from children’s birthday parties to team-building activities.
The price remains $25 per person, or $15 with a $50 deposit. The deposit also covers the cost of renting equipment.
The staff can also arrange a two-hour outing to rock formations in the area, a trip that costs $150 to $200 per person or $100 to $150 per person for a group of two to four people.
Floyd has operated the Bouldering Garden since 1993. He began by manufacturing climbing holds with his company Altitude Rocks before opening a gym of his own. He also serves as an administrator in Missouri for the Mountain Project.
The Mountain Project is an online platform where visitors can submit climbing routes and regions, as well as a place for them to browse climbing locations. As an administrator, Floyd checks routes, answers questions and verifies the submissions.
He has also built climbing walls for organizations around the state, including a climbing wall at the Jefferson City YMCA and a similar one for a YMCA in the greater St. Louis area.
He is now working to expand his business to a larger facility called Altitude. He refers to the facility as “The Mountain” because its future shape will resemble one.
It is to be located just outside Cosmo Park and will double as an events center and a top rope climbing gym.
“There’s a lot going on around the state,” he said. “There’s an amazing amount of rock diversity and a lot of cool areas.”