Yey or Ney
Energiehaven Utretch sets the gold standard for bouldering venues. For beginners to the elite, they’ll keep you busy till you’re finally doing 1-5-9 on the campusboard!
Check out on the incredible training area 💪
Utretch, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, is mainly known for it’s medival fortifications, although it has one well kept secret: it’s home to one of the best bouldering gyms in the Netherlands.
If you’re wondering what makes this oh-it-seems-quite-standard gym stand out then keep on reading.
A Very Brief History of Energiehaven
Until the opening of Energiehaven, the circa 350,000 inhabitants of Utretch could either head to Klimmuur Utretch for roped climbing or Boulderhal Sterk closer to the center of Utretch, if they wanted to do some bouldering.
Energiehaven opened it’s doors in the winter months of 2017, close-by to Klimmuur Utretch and they weren’t here to mess around.
In fact, since the opening just over 5 years ago they’ve gone on to expand to a family of seven, spread out throughout the main cities of the Netherlands: Utretch, Groningen, Leiden, Maastricht, Zwolle.
This first venue, in the industrial north-west of Utretch, is slightly out-of the way and is close to Klimmuur Utretch and preferably requires a means of transport, other than your walking, to get there.
As usual in the Netherlands access is easiest by bike, with a brisk 15 minute ride from the center. Alternatively you can take the 5 minute train ride to Utretch Leidsche Rijn, the closest sub-urban station and then hike the short 750 remaining metres.
The Energiehaven Bouldering Venue
The Energiehaven bouldering hall is situated in a classic industrial warehouse/hangar building typical of the majority of bouldering gyms. The main entrance faces the Elektronweg street by which budding climbers arrive with the rear of the building giving directly onto the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal.
The square shaped hall covers 900m2 squared of surface area with the ground floor being dedicated to boldering but also has two additional balcony areas: one for bouldering and the second larger entirely dedicated to a training area.
As there are effectively two floors the roofing is relatively high giving the venue a spacious feeling.
The lighting is provided primarily by halogen spot lights, with two transversal ceiling windows on either side running the length of the venue. These provides ample natural lighting during the day and with the near facing windows makes the venue feel bright and airy in the sunny summer months.
There are equally front facing lifting doors which open onto the outdoor bouldering area that are generally opened once whether permits.
The large bar and café area is located near the entrance on the ground floor which expands into a sofa and family area. The multitude of toys can keep tired children entertained whilst parent continue their bouldering session or simply relax during an afternoon out to the gym; a nice touch.
The Boulders And Route Setting
The ground floor and main bouldering area is made up of two giant free standing boulders in the center with bouldering walls on the three other sides of the building. The entrance side of the building is entirely dedicated to the coffee and facility area.
The free standing boulders are extremely large and cover mainly vertical, overhanging and roof/cave like terrain. The left side wall (when your back is facing the entrance) is equally dedicated to a cave-like area and is therefore dominated by overhangs.
In counterpart the right side wall which covers the full length of the building has less intimidating vertical walls for more technical face climbing. The left hand balcony features predominantly similar terrain with a few panels also dedicaed to slabs.
Overall the gym is definitely dominated by vertical, steep and overhanging terrain with less slab-like walls. These doesn’t go amiss.
The boulder problems accommodate different styles, body types, and skill levels and will keep you entertained through the differences in dynamic, technical or pure power required to solve them.
The route setters do a fantastic job and live up to the reputation of the Energiehaven family.
There is no sandbagging, grade inflation or too reachy problems here and the problems hit the sweet spot for all climbing abilities; from the newcomers all the way to the elite who regularly train here. If anything the routes can be a bit sparse, an aspect not seen very often in climbing gyms.
Bouldering Colours & Grades
The bouldering grades follow the Font scale (6A, 6B…). The colours with corresponding grade ranges are provided below.
Another standout feature of boulderhal Energiehaven is the granularity of the grading. Many gyms will decide to cater more for the masses and have more grade colours in the beginner/intermediate range (4-6A) or alternatively target the intermediate/advanced and have more colours in the 6A – 7B range.
Energiehaven stands out here and have 5 different colours dedicated to the lower range (2-6A) as well as 5 dedicated to the intermediate and advanced level (6A-7B), plus the comp circuit.
Climbers of any level won’t feel left out with the quantity of problems as with the availability of different wall angles.
Energiehaven Utretch Bouldering Colours
The Training Area
If you ever had any doubts about the climbing standards set at Energiehaven then look no further than the second and much larger balcony area, entirely dedicated to a climbers heaven: the training area.
If you can think of anything needed to take your training and climbing to the next level then it’s all here:
- Kilterboards? Have two.
The cherry on the cake is the strength and conditioning equipment that most climbing venues exclude making their training areas incomplete. This isn’t so here:
- Squat rack
- Watt bike
Plus numerous other paraphernalia for your training needs.
To work on your flexilibity, stretching or balance there’s:
- Gymnastics mats
- Resistance bands
Chill Factor and Vibe
Head to Energiehaven on a hot summers days and on arrival you’ll be pleasantly welcomed by the outdoor bouldering area and terrace which can extend out of a large hanger door placed just behind the family area.
Electro vibes blast out on the regular Thursday night summer barbecue and you could easily imagine yourself in a Shoreditch or other pop-up bar venue, with people chilling on makeshift sofas and drinking craft beer.
During the colder winter months the indoor fire pits and surrounding settees provide a great area to kick back and relax in with a warm drink, or you can just chill at the bar with a beer.
Toddlers have their own dedicated play corner, a great touch to allow young parents to take a break.
The gym is one of the most popular locations in the Utretch area for good reason can get quite busy, especially in the evenings when the after work crew head over to get a few hours in.
The vibe is international as in most bouldering halls in the Netherlands but less so than the Dutch capital. Nonetheless, with the many elite locals training here, it’s a great place to come and train hard, all whilst practicing your Dutch.
Other Activities & Classes
If you’re looking for a venue that provides coporate team building events or simply somewhere to organize workshops or out-of-office meetings then Energihaven have large commercial spaces than can be rented out.
The trainers can provide adult group sessions, organize childrens birthday parties and even lessons for school groups.
The Financial Stuff
At the time of writing:
Single entrance adult (over 25 yrs): 13 €
Single entrance student (18 – 24 yrs) : 12€
Single entrance youth (6-17 yrs): 10€
Monthly membership adult: 55.5€
Monthly membership student: 51€
Monthly membership youth: 43.5€
The monthly memberships gets you entrance to the whole Energiehaven family if you either feel like checking one of their other gyms out or are nearby for the day.
You can find out more here.
Our Take on Energiehaven Utretch
It’s difficult to find any flaws at Energiehaven. This is really a gym that targets all climbers at all levels and the wide variety and well set problems will keep you coming back for more. This goes for the elite as well newbies.
If you had any doubts about how serious they are about climbing or the pedigree that boulder here, look no further than the training area or Dock Masters international competitions that are held here.
Other than the climbing, the wide expanse of café and bar area is sufficiently large that it makes the gym a great venue to just chill and hangout in, even if you don’t feel like climbing.
Was there anything else that you loved/hated about Energiehaven?
Let us know below.