According to this article in Outside Magazine "..gym climbing has a very strong growth rate. Something like 1,000 people a day are starting to sport climb, according to our research.”
And outdoor climbing is not growing. (I see this all the time - everyone loves the environment but fewer people use the outdoors.)
So is this just another fad, a balloon set to burst in a couple of years when people find that sticking to climbing is really hard? And getting fit for climbing does not necessarily make you fit for other activities?
My hunch is, it will burst sooner rather than later because when I read:
"Just how imminent the explosion is may not matter, as long as marketers can sell the sport to open-minded yuppies. Which is already happening. Mountain Hardwear has a new lifestyle-oriented climbing line coming this spring..."
When "lifestyle-oriented climbing clothing" is bought by the masses, the climbers will be less interested in being associated with it.
But, there are some new gyms mentioned in this article that look great. Like this one. And one in California co-owned by Chris Sharma.