Smichoff – Prague’s largest climbing center
I just returned from a weeklong business trip to Prague. I had quite a bit of downtime so I checked out three climbing gyms. There’s not a lot of information online (or in English) about the gyms in Prague, so I thought I’d post it here for other visitors. Climbing at local gyms turned out to be a great way to escape the tourist areas and experience the local (climbing) culture.
Prague has at least half a dozen climbing gyms (or walls that are part of a fitness gym) but most of them are small or only offer bouldering. I visited the two largest roped climbing gyms and the best bouldering gym (according to a few locals). The primary difference between gyms in the US and gyms in Prague is that there are basically no toprope setups . In other words, if you climb a route you lead it. In contrast, the majority of US gyms are set up for toprope climbing (although leading is fine too). Also, most of the gyms have small cafes with beer on tap!
Here’s a quick summary of the gyms I visited:
Gym #1: Ruzyne ( www.stena-ruzyne.com )
This is the oldest indoor gym in Prague. It’s a 20 minute drive from Old Town Prague, but it’s a good gym. There are two large wall – one indoor and one outdoor. Unfortunately I didn’t have a partner so I spent my session in the bouldering cave, which is small and doesn’t have many marked problems.
The indoor wall at the Ruzyne Climbing Center
The awesome outdoor wall at Ruzyne
Be warned that this gym is hard to find. My taxi driver had to call the front desk twice and even then I had to get out and walk around a building to find it.
Climbing Center Ruzyně
160 00 Praha 6 – Ruzyně
Gym #2: Boulder Bar ( www.boulder.cz )
This is my kind of bar! This bouldering gym was recommended to my by local climbers I met at Ruzyne. It’s an easy and pleasant 1.5 mile walk from Old Town Prague. It’s a small gym but the bouldering is really good.
The entrance to Boulder Bar
Boulder Bar is small but has high quality bouldering
U Exhibition 11/230
Praha 7 – Holešovice
+420 220 514 540
Gym #3: Smichoff ( www.lezeckcentrum.cz )
I saved the best for last. This is the largest gym in Prague and it’s truly world class. It’s located in an old Skoda factory about 3 miles from Old Town Prague. It’s a little tricky to find but you can basically follow Google Maps directions to get to the vicinity then head toward the tall smoke stack. There are small signs along the way. You could walk there from Old Town but it’s easier to take a taxi. There are a ton of routes and lots of different features to climb (including cracks). There is not a bouldering area, so you’ll need a partner. Or, you can do what I did and hire a gym employee to belay you for 400 Czech koruna (about $20) per hour (call ahead to arrange an instructor or belayer). I wish we had a gym of this quality in DFW! See the top of this post for a picture of Smichoff’s walls.
Smichoff Climbing Center is hard to find. Look for small signs and head toward the smoke stack. The entrance is on the left in front of the motorcycle.
Climbing Center Smichoff
15000 Prague 5 – Smíchov
+420 604 240 887