Climbing your way to better fitness

Mike Wang, Clarion staff

To the experienced climber, Boulder’s Climbing Gym is an opportunity to get ready for the outdoor climbing season, but the gym also offers a unique opportunity for new climbers to learn the ins and outs of climbing.

If you’re looking for a different type of full body workout, Boulder’s is the place for you. After a night of climbing many will feel the burn for the next several days. Boulder’s also offers a great opportunity to meet new people and have an all-around great time.

Upon entering Boulder’s, one can expect to be greeted by the friendly staff at the front desk. Clients must first check in and sign a standard waiver release form that is quick and easy to fill out. Beginners will want to rent a harness, climbing shoes, and a chalk bag. Once the gear is equipped, the staff will teach you the basic climbing techniques: bouldering, top-roping and clip-in.

Bouldering is simply just climbing up a pre-defined route and reaching what is called the finishing hole. While it is the simplest form, it is also the most dangerous because it does not offer the protection of a rope.

Standard top-roping involves ropes which are suspended from the top of the wall to provide protection for the climber as they scale a predefined route to the top. Climbers must first pass a test out procedure at the facility to use this technique.

Clip-in is a simpler form of top-roping and by far the easiest to learn and usually the most enjoyable for first timers. You simply clip the rope to your harness and climb to the top of the wall while following a pre-defined route. Once you reach the top a climbing partner lowers you back to the ground.

The first time someone is lowered back down can be a bit frightening. Full trust must be given to the climbing partner that does the lowering. Usually after people get past the first one and are back on the ground it is gravy.

Lead climbing is an advanced type of climbing that is also offered at Boulder’s. However, it is for experienced climbers only.

The gym, founded in 1996 by local climbers, is top notch. It boasts 8,000 square feet of climbing space. For those that may have been less than satisfied with a past visit, the gym has been remodeled.

The actual climbing space is big and open. It has numerous boulders and walls to climb. Some walls are straight up while others are at angles.

The floor of the gym is made of a cushy material that provides support should a climber fall. There are staff members everywhere as well as experienced climbers that are more than willing to lend a helping hand.

Climbing is a good activity for any age group. This sport is made for just about everyone. Some regulars said that the place gets pretty packed at times, so climbers definitely want to keep their heads on a swivel.

During climbing, a person’s strength, agility, endurance and mental wherewithal will all be tested. Before climbing it is advised to take the time to study the routes that are marked by different colored arrows. This helps clients focus on climbing rather than scrambling to find the right arrow.

Each route is also marked by degree of difficulty. Using chalk is highly advised. It makes grasping the holds much easier and dries up any sweat that accumulates on your hands. The chalk comes in a bag that can be tied around the waist.

The first climb is the toughest. Walking up to that first wall, clipping in, and staring up at the top can be intimidating. Climbers must study the route they are about to take and start by putting their hands and feet on the starting holds.

Upon ascending the wall, confidence will usually grow with every hold that is achieved. At the midway point many climbers experience what is called, “the freeze.” It is at this moment that many will realize that they are pretty high up in the air and a moment of panic may set in.

The usual advice is to just push past it. Usually confidence returns as people continue. Upon reaching the top one should expect to feel exhilarated, relieved and hungry for more.