The Factory, Bridgeport’s Huge New Rock-Climbing Gym, Has a Ninja Warrior Training Course
Combined with sister facility Reach Climbing and Fitness, the Factory is the largest rock-climbing and training center in the area.
Though it’s been a challenging year for fitness organizations, there have also been bright spots and exciting, unexpected new openings. The latest newbie to defy the odds in the Philadelphia area is the Factory, a 20,000-square-foot competitive rock-climbing training center for youth and adult athletes, which officially opened to the public on January 25th. The Factory (401 East 4th Street, Bridgeport) is the sister facility to Reach Climbing and Fitness next door — combined, the two buildings are the largest rock-climbing and training center in the Philadelphia area.
Reach Climbing and Fitness originally opened to great fanfare in the spring of 2019, in time to host the USA Climbing 2019 Youth Sport and Speed National Championships. (It was our Best of Philly climbing gym that same year.) “We built the original gym from the ground up as the first built-to-suit climbing gym in our area,” says owner and longtime climber Michael Feinberg. “It’s got the only regulation speed wall in our region and a number of other features that make us really stand out.”
The Factory is a continuation of Feinberg’s vision. While the first Reach space was a completely new build, the Factory has a bit more of Philly’s fabric and industrial history built into it. Feinberg chose the name because, well, it’s set in an old factory building. “It was originally Lee’s Carpets,” explains Feinberg. “It’s well over a hundred years old. It’s really cool; we were able to utilize a lot of the original features of the building, like the original hardwood floors, which we refinished, and the original columns.”
Now, with the Factory, there are two facilities where amateur and pro rock climbers can enhance their skills on the bouldering walls, spray wall and inverted steps, among other features that beginners and old hands alike will appreciate. The Factory is geared toward competition training zones and also offers fitness classes from HIIT workouts to strength and endurance training, with cardio, resistance and weight-training areas and a yoga room. Notable highlights are 6,000 square feet of bouldering and a Ninja Warrior course. Plus, there’s a children’s bouldering area equipped with a slide and tunnels for the little ones.
The Ninja Warrior course isn’t typically something a climbing gym has, but “We wanted to add some obstacles to this new center,” says Feinberg. Ninja Warrior classes for newbies let you check out the obstacles. Among other special features, the climbing walls in the Factory are replicas of what’s currently being used for the USA Climbing National Championships. “The reason for that is training — we’re a facility that’s training a very talented youth team,” Feinberg says, “and we want them to train on the best walls and what they’re using for national championships.”
“We feel fortunate to be opening,” he adds. “It’s been a difficult year, especially for a young gym like us. We’ve only been open for a year and a half. The shutdowns were hard on us. But we’re lucky that climbing is a growing sport and that we have committed members who love climbing as much as we do — and who love our facilities.”