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Central Rock Gym Brings New Heights to Harvard Square

Central Rock Gym, a chain of rock climbing gyms, opened location in Harvard Square in August.
Central Rock Gym, a chain of rock climbing gyms, opened location in Harvard Square in August. By Truong L. Nguyen
By Kate Delval Gonzalez, Crimson Staff Writer

Central Rock Gym rocked Harvard Square with its grand opening in the Abbot Building this past August.

Hundreds of people turned out for the gym’s Harvard Square opening on Aug. 12, according to the location’s general manager, Che Hartman. The gym currently has rock climbing programs but will soon expand to offer yoga and fitness classes.

In an interview, Hartman attributed the great turnout of the Harvard Square opening to the gym’s existing customer base.

“The word gets out really quickly,” she said. “Our already existing Central Rock family knew we were coming.”

Hartman added that the location’s first few months “have been amazing”.

Since the opening of its first location in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 2009, Central Rock Gym has expanded to 15 locations in New England and New York.

Hartman said both Harvard and MIT students have frequented the new gym thanks to its convenient location close to the Harvard Square T station and Harvard Yard.

Another neighbor of Central Rock Gym is the new location of El Jefe’s Taqueria, a beloved Harvard Square hot spot.

Hartman teased a potential partnership with the restaurant, saying they have been “absolutely the best.”

“They plan on hooking up our members and are more than happy to grow a partnership, which is awesome,” she said.

Another upside of the gym’s location, according to Hartman, has been its proximity to foot traffic.

“The nice thing about where we’re located, is you’re walking the streets – you can see right into the gym, and you can see people on the walls,” she said.

“Just the visibility of us from people walking by has been amazing,” she added.

Hartman also said the gym welcomes newcomers.

“A lot of people in the Cambridge area that have no idea what rock climbing is, or maybe do but didn’t know that we’re here, can actually see our space, and they will kind of mosey on up,” she said.

Central Rock Gym’s Harvard Square location offers student discounts at the beginning of each school year. This year’s special ended on Oct. 1, but the gym continues to offer a discounted membership for anyone aged 22 and under.

Reflecting on the business’ first couple months, Hartman acknowledged stress associated with the opening but said a highlight has been the customers.

“But the first day as soon as people started coming with smiling faces — it’s very cheesy — but that’s been the best part,” she said.

—Staff writer Kate Delval Gonzalez can be reached at

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