Sketched Jan. 3, 2020

At Seattle Bouldering Project — people call it SBP — on a recent weekday afternoon, teal-shaded artificial rock walls filled an enormous room where every 20-something in Seattle seemed to be congregating.

Unlike most regular gyms, where you work out by yourself on the treadmill or with the weight machines, the cushy floor was filled with groups of people hanging out. Noah Schwartz, who navigated his way to the top of the tallest “boulder” in no time, was reuniting with friends he’s known since middle school while on break from attending college on the East Coast.

SBP, which opened in 2011, has capitalized on the social aspect of bouldering, a spinoff sport from rock climbing that doesn’t require ropes or harnesses. The fitness center includes a coworking space and a coffee shop/bar that is open to nonmembers as long as they check in at the gym’s entrance and sign a waiver. A second SBP location near Gas Works Park is slated to open this year.

I never expected a gym to be this scenic. The colorful holds represent different degrees of difficulty, and they are switched around frequently to keep everyone from getting bored.


Seattle Bouldering Project, open 6 a.m. through 11 p.m. daily, with annual and monthly memberships, single-month and day passes, family options and more, starting with single-use passes for $18; 900 Poplar Place S., Seattle; 206-299-2300;