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New Meetup: Sportrock Alexandria 3/6

From: Sigmund
Sent on: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 2:00 PM
Due to popular demand, here is a Saturday climbing session for The VA/MD/DC Rock Climbers Meetup Group!

What: Sportrock Alexandria 3/6

When: Saturday, March 6,[masked]:00 PM

SportRock - Alexandria
5308 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22304

Attention New Climbers! There is a Sportrock Basic Skills course that starts at 12pm and costs $25. You can sign up here or by calling Sportrock directly at[masked]. I highly recommend taking the class if you don't know how to belay, as this is how I got started with climbing. I have coordinated the Meetup to start when this course ends.

Meetup Location: Meet at the table past the check-in counter.

Organizer: Sigmund. Ask the staff if you can't locate me.

Normal day pass- $18**
Climbing shoes and harness rental- $10
**If you tell the staff you are with the Meetup group, they will usually discount the day pass price to the member-guest price of $14

Gym Location:
The gym is located in the first two warehouse bays across from the Alexandria Impounding Lot and is a short walk east from the Van Dorn metro station. In addition to the marked Sportrock spaces, you can park in the other shop spaces as long as it's after their posted working hours. There is also overflow parking available at the Carrier HVAC business in the adjacent parking lot on weeknights and weekends. The gym closes at 9pm on weekend nights. Check for more details.

Gym Info:
Bouldering and rope climbing are both available at Sportrock. Bouldering requires only shoes and a chalk bag and involves climbing up a 11-16 ft wall under the protection of crash pads and a spotter. Rope climbing requires that you tie into a harness with a rope and have another person belay you as you climb up a 25-43 ft wall. There are both top-roping and sport leading available at Sportrock.

If you have not been to the gym before, you will need to sign a waiver. No matter how long you have been climbing, you will still need to pass Sportrock's belay test to be allowed to tie-in yourself and belay other people. Top-rope belaying and sport lead belaying are two separate tests so be sure to specify the test you'd like to take.

Top-rope belay test requirements (covered in the Basic Skills class)-
1. Proper dressing of harness
2. Tie-in with a Figure 8 knot and a Fisherman's backup knot
3. Belay and lower with any tubular belay device (ATC) or auto-locking belay device (Gri-Gri)

Lead belay test requirements-
1. Top-rope belay certified
2. Cleanly mock lead a 43 ft 5.9 route chosen by the Sportrock tester
3. No back-clipping, Z-clipping, and back-stepping during the climb
4. Lead belay and lower with any tubular (ATC) or auto-locking belay device (Gri-Gri)
5. Back-clipping, Z-clipping, and back-stepping must be called out to the climber during the belay

If you have just taken the Basic Skills class, you can belay for the rest of the day with a backup belayer. Just remember that you have to wait until at least the next day to take the top-rope belay test and that you cannot practice for the test inside Sportrock facilities.

If you do not know how to belay and tie-in with the rope, find a belay-certified Meetup member with a pink or green certification card and have them tie you in and belay you. This Meetup group is quite generous, so you will most likely have people offering to belay you.

If you've never climbed before, I can show you some basic techniques. We have an encouraging group of people, so don't worry if you struggle at first or get nervous on the wall. Everyone has been in your shoes at some point.

I recommend clothes that won't restrict your movement; think about something you would wear to yoga. This is indoor climbing, so the gym can get quite warm especially after your first climb. Avoid short shorts, because they tend to be uncomfortable with the harness. To prevent scraping your knees against the wall, I highly recommend longer shorts or pants that cover the knees. There is a water fountain at the entrance leading to the bathrooms, so having a water bottle around is handy but not necessary.

If you have any questions at all, just send me a message and I will be happy to help. Happy climbing!

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