Rock climbing is an incredibly fun activity. There are some great indoor rock climbing facilities in the area that we will take advantage of throughout the year. In the summer we will be planning some outdoor rock climbing, with perhaps day trips or an overnight trip or two to the fantastic gorges in West Virginia. For the real adventurous, we will be planning a multi-day ice climbing trip during the winter months.
Members new to climbing are encouraged to attend the meetups. Most events will be ideal for new climbers. If there is an event geared towards more serious climbers, it will be clear in the description.
The indoor rock gyms and many of the outdoor locations will have routes geared towards new or novice climbers with what is called top-roping. In top-roping an anchor is set up at the summit of a route prior to the start of a climb. Rope is run through the anchor; one end attaches to the climber's harness and the other to the belayer, who keeps the rope taut during the climb and prevents falls. This type of climbing is widely regarded as the safest type of climbing. It is also the first type of climbing most people do when learning to climb, as it allows the climber to climb freely and the belayer to learn how to belay more proficiently. The belayer needs to be "certified" at the rock climbing gyms by passing a belay test.
Some get pretty nervous before climbing for the first time. During climbing, many participants might experience their first fall, or at the very least, their first hang on the rope. With a belayer, falling while climbing results in the climber simply hanging in the safety harness. Falling on purpose during the first time climbing usually shows new climbers that they won't get hurt should they lose their grip and fall. It's at this point that the new climber improves dramatically, because they realize that they're safe, and they worry more about reaching the top than falling. Just follow a few very simple safety rules and you'll have a blast.
Many people ask if you need to be in peak physical condition to rock climb. The answer is...it depends. Tough routes on outdoor granite can be physically and mentally demanding, testing a climber's strength, endurance, agility, and balance along with his or her mental control. Indoor rock climbing has routes that aren't as physically demanding and most people can "summit" many of these easier walls. Having said that, it is more enjoyable for those in condition simply because you have the stamina to climb several times and get your money's worth.
Speaking of money's worth, rock climbing is not free. Indoor gyms charge a fee (a "day pass") that will normally run $10-$15. On top of that, you will need to rent a harness and climbing shoes if you don't own your own. That typically runs about $10. We will try to chose night to climb when there are deals (for example, Kendall Cliffs has free equipment rentals on Monday and Wednesday nights). For some outdoor trips we may have a guide who would charge us a fixed fee that we would split.
For you more experienced climbers, obviously the rock gyms have many, many challenges. In addition we will be planning some outdoor climbing that will give you an opportunity for some multi-pitch climbs. Also, you will have the opportunity to lead some sport climbs or even do some trad climbing (neither of which I can do). Also, for those who are semi-experienced, we may organize some group lead climbing lessons through one of the indoor gyms.
So, c'mon, give it a try!
Rock on (pun intended).
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