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Rock Climbing : Comments

Comments by moss1956 (1)

Article: Guide to the New Gym Climber
1 out of 5 stars A climbing gym can be a great place to develop safe belaying skills, develop strength, rehearse basic climbing movements, and socialize with friends. It can also be a good place to hook up with more experienced climbers so that you can get a chance to get outside to climb. There is a real difference between pulling down on rock and pulling down on plastic, but when you are starting out the difference is marginal.

Different gyms emphasize different kinds of climbing, gyms like "The Front" in Salt Lake City and the "The Spot" in Boulder emphasize bouldering. "Upper Limits" in Bloomington emphasizes lead climbing, though they have recently added more
bouldering, and places like "Planet Rock" in Ann Arbor and "Vertical Endeavors" in Naperville have a little bit of everything. Bouldering entails climbing shorter climbs, so you don't need to rope up. This means that you don't need to invest in as much
gear, and don't need to worry about belaying. However, boulder problems tend to require more strength and deeper technique than taller climbs, so the physical barrier to entrance is greater.

Most gyms will offer a class in how to belay, or for people who can already belay, give a belay test before you start climbing. Generally, there are two different levels that they test you at. One is to belay someone top roping and the other is to belay someone who is leading. The degree to which they worry about belay competence tends to depend on
the local culture. For instance, I have never had a belay check at a climbing gym in Poland. In Idaho, sometimes they give you a belay check sometimes they don't. On the other hand, in the Midwest of the US, the gym personnel will generally object to
you belaying in any manner than is different from the one way they do it in that gym. There is more than one way to belay correctly, however there are many, many unsafe belay practices. Learning to belay safely is the most important skill for a beginner to pick up.

Most gyms want you to bring your own belay device, harness and shoes. Generally, there will be a pro shop where they are willing to sell you this gear if you need it and in general they are willing to rent or loan gear to people who don't own it yet. If you have never been to a gym before you might call up ahead of time and find out the schedule for the belay class, and what their schedule of fees is, including the price of renting any gear you don't own that you will need. Even though most gyms require you bring your own belay device there are some gyms that require you to use their devices.

In conclusion, if you are curious about climbing, a climbing gym can be a great place to go check it out.