Rock climbing can be a little intimidating if you’ve never climbed before. Luckily, Stone Age Climbing Gym is there to offer expert guidance and help alleviate any worries. The gym has two locations in Albuquerque, one in Midtown and one in the Eastside/North I-25 area. Either makes a great outing for a day of fun. I recently visited the Midtown location as a first-time rock climber, and I was impressed by how easy it was to learn and how much fun I had.

Monthly and annual memberships are available, or you can purchase a day pass and rent all of the equipment you need to climb. Everyone I talked to was very friendly and helpful, and the front desk staff were no exception. They outfitted me with a harness and belay device, and I was ready to climb.

A look at the sport climbing room at Stone Age Climbing Gym Midtown

Photo Credit: Facebook

For first timers, a Stone Age staff member takes you on a tour of the facility. The Midtown gym consists of a large bouldering area, auto-belay climbing walls, a sport climbing room with 45-foot-tall belay walls and a beginner area for auto-belaying and bouldering. In the beginner area, a staff member explains the rules of the gym and how to safely use the auto-belay equipment that allows you to climb up and come back down safely without a second person.

I spent most of my time on the beginner walls. Within a short time, I was able to climb up the parallel ladder on the walls pretty well. Each route is labeled with a different color and number, going from 8 (the easiest) up to 14 (the hardest).

Visit Albuquerque employee Sarah gives a thumbs up from the top of a beginner climbing wall at Stone Age Climbing Gym

I made it to the top of one of the beginner walls

I also tried my hand at bouldering, which is rock climbing without a rope. The most important thing to remember is to fall correctly so you don’t injure yourself. I found bouldering to be a little more difficult than climbing with a top rope (where the climber is attached to a rope at the top of the wall).

I watched my coworker Lara conquer one of the 45-foot belay walls in the sport climbing room. These require another certified person to belay for you on the ground and control the rope as you climb up the wall. The benefit of belaying is you don’t drop to the ground when you let go of the wall, so you can take a break and continue climbing from where you left off. I was proud of Lara for almost making it to the top!

Visit Albuquerque employee Lara Brockway swings from a rope while climbing at the Stone Age Climbing Gym

Lara takes a break while climbing a belay wall

My main takeaway from this experience was how friendly everyone was. Every single staff member enthusiastically welcomed me and answered my questions. I spoke with some of the route setters at Stone Age who chart out and create new routes on the walls, and they gave a lot of insight into how a route is created. I even befriended a young girl who was climbing alongside me in the beginners section (although she was a much better climber than I was). I left with a few sore muscles and a newfound love of rock climbing.

@visitalbuquerque Stone Age Climbing Gym has two locations in ABQ: 📍4130 Cutler Ave. NE 📍6200 Alameda Blvd NE #trueabq #abq #albuquerque #climbing #climbingtiktok #climbingtips #newmexico #newmexicocheck ♬ original sound - Aaron

Stone Age also offers yoga and other fitness classes, classic gym equipment, and special climbing nights for women and members of the LGBTQ community. Climbing classes are also available.