Gym Review: Mission Cliffs Climbing Gym in San Francisco CA
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and a rock climber, you have a few options of rock climbing gyms to belong to. The main gyms are:
- Planet Granite, which has locations in the Presidio, Belmont, and Sunnyvale;
- Missions Cliffs/Dogpatch Boulders which are part of the Touchstone Climbing family
In this review, I am going to give you the rundown on Mission Cliffs. In a future post, I will give you a rundown of Dogpatch Boulders. If you go to Planet Granite and would like to write a review, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss!
Mission Cliffs has three main climbing areas, a dedicated bouldering section, a spin class room, and a weight section along with dedicated men’s and women’s locker rooms. There is also a yoga room upstairs near the bouldering section.
Overall, Mission Cliffs is a solid gym albeit very crowded on weeknights from 530-730pm. After 730p things clear out mightily as I’m pretty sure the majority of San Francisco goes to bed early. So either go in the afternoon or after 730 if you do not want to fight half of San Francisco for a top rope.
Mission Cliffs like most other gyms (well, other than Sharma Climbing BCN) operates on the Yosemite decimal system. Climbs are from 5.6 (basically a ladder in difficulty) up to around 5.13a/b, which is realistically as hard as people are ever climbing in the gym.
The bouldering section operates on the universally-accepted V scale, from V0 (very easy) up to around V11, as once again people rarely climb harder than that at a gym and setters often don’t set harder than that.
I should note that I always found Mission Cliffs to be heavily sandbagged on its ratings, meaning it rates routes higher than they actually seem. When I climbed at Brooklyn Boulders in Brooklyn, I was routinely a 5.10b/c climber. At Mission Cliffs, that is a warmup for me and I would regularly climb 5.11b and sometimes 5/11c, and worked 5.11d’s frequently.
You may feel good about yourself short term, but longer term you’ll be humbled when you go somewhere with routes that are rated correctly. At Movement Denver, I climb 5.11a/b and am at my max.
Crowd and vibe
San Francisco is a weird city, and not because of the hippies. San Francisco is full of tech people in the SOMA/Financial District/Mission/Haight areas of the city.
And in the last 3-5 years, indoor rock climbing has become quite popular with the older millennial crowd because it is a great workout and is social at the same time.
Because of this the crowd at Mission Cliffs has a lot of patrons climbing 5.8-5.9 and many fewer climbing 5.10a+. Because there are not dedicated lead climbing sections (like at Movement Denver), there are weird mixes of beginners on top ropes crossing over with more experienced climbers on lead.
It’s not ideal, but somehow it works I guess.
Here are some photos from around the internet.
Price and other information
Mission Cliffs has a few different types of pricing. This first section is their non-monthly ongoing pricing, so the “monthly” you see here is just for one month and does not automatically renew.
|Day Pass||Weekdays after 3pm and weekends||$25|
|Early Bird Day Pass||Weekdays before 3pm, except holidays||$20|
|Kids Day Pass||Ages 12 and under||$20|
|One Month Membership||Good for 30 days from date of purchase||$125|
|Ten Punch Pass||10 passes at a discounted rate. Waives the initiation fee for a monthly membership!||$230|
They also have monthly ongoing pricing:
|Monthly Membership||Our most popular membership option. No commitment with the option to freeze.||$100 Initiation, $79/Month|
|Couples Membership||Join forces with your partner and get $10 off monthly when you’re billed together. Must provide proof of “coupleness” at time of sign up (marriage certificate, domestic partnership, shared banking or health insurance).||$150 Initiation, $148/Month|
|Family Membership||Climb with the family! Must provide proof of “coupleness” at time of sign up (marriage certificate, domestic partnership, shared banking or health insurance).||$150 Initiation Fee, $79/Parent 1, $69/Parent 2, $69/Children (13-17), $0/Children (0-12)|
|Youth Membership||Ages 17 and under||$50 Initiation, $69/Month|
|Senior Membership||Ages 60+||$50 Initiation, $69/Month|
|Student Membership||Must provide current student ID at time of sign up.||$50 Initiation, $79/Month|
|Annual Membership||365 days of pure joy! No initiation fee and save $79 when you sign up annually—the equivalent of one free month.||$0 Initiation, $869/Year|
|One Month Membership||Good for 30 days from date of purchase.||$125|
Map, address, hours, and how to get to Mission Cliffs
Mission Cliffs is located at 2295 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.
Here is their location in San Francisco, in the Mission neighborhood on Harrison Street between 18th and 19th streets.
Their hours are thus (subject to change, so check their site):
- M/W/F 6am – 10pm
- T/Th 6am – 11pm
- S/S 8am – 7pm