Remembering The Good Times At My Climbing Gym
I am moving at the end of this month and wanted to capture good memories of my local climbing gym before I leave. This will be a story of what it's like and why I enjoy going there.
My favorite thing about the gym is that it gives you access to a lot of different types of routes: boulders, top rope and lead.
You can climb boulders, which are short rock wall routes with a pad on the ground to soften your fall. In this gym, you can actually climb over the top edge of the boulder! It's actually pretty scary once you get higher because when you fall, you going straight to the ground. So if you're near the top of the boulder, you better not fall!
My partner wasn't here today so bouldering is a good solo activity. But you still have a lot of friendly people around you talking about how to get up the route. There's a good community spirit here.
I was figuring out how to climb up a route on this boulder wall and I managed to make it up it this time! I was definitely feeling scared near the top of the route so I took deep breaths, trusted my body to climb, and cleared my mind. Next thing you know, I made it to the top!
FYI, my palms are sweaty typing out those last sentences. 😅
Once you're at the top, you have to walk down this somewhat sketchy decline. I always hold onto the rope when I go down in case I slip and fall. Sometimes, the downclimb is more dangerous than the climb up!
There are also some top-roping walls where you wear a harness and a rope anchored to the top of the wall. You attach yourself to the rope and then your partner (called a belayer) keeps the rope tight as you climb up.
This is the safest form of climbing and most fun for me because you can try anything without worrying about hitting the ground or falling a long distance. If you do fall, you only fall a foot or two at most. It's very chill.
My partner and I usually top rope together, but he climbs more difficult routes than I do. He has a lot of fun doing it and I'm always impressed by his technique. We always have a good time no matter how easy or difficult it is.
My favorite top rope route at this gym is the crack. Climbing up a crack is completely different technique than climbing with holds. You literally have to jam your hands and toes inside the crack to go up it.
My partner thinks I'm sadistic because I enjoy the pain you have to endure to climb up a crack. I think it's fun because it's so different from normal climbing. Also once you get a good jam in, it'll be the most secure thing your body can hold onto.
One time, a friend of mine was climbing up a 50 ft crack outdoors with no rope (this is called free soloing). As I looked in disbelief, fear and anxiety (because if he falls, he would die in front of me), he had two hand jams in the crack and flailed his legs saying to me "SEE! THE HAND JAMS ARE SUPER SECURE!" To myself, I said "What a crazy motherf*cker!"
The other thing I love about this gym is the lead climbing. Notice in the photo there's a lack of top ropes. Instead of a rope already anchored at the top, like in the rest of the photos, you have to bring the rope up with you as you climb.
This requires more mental strength and skill because if you slip or fall while leading, you take a longer fall until someone catches you. It's fun, but challenging in mental and physical.
Usually, lead climbing has the most aesthetic routes. You are climbing at an angle and maybe sometimes even horizontal! Sometimes, I feel like a badass when this happens.
My partner and I sometimes take practice falls to get the fear and anxiety out of our system and build confidence that when we fall, we don't die.
But if you're wondering what a real lead climbing fall looks like...
My palms are sweaty again watching this.
It was actually a clean fall! Near the top, I was already tired and felt my hands and muscles giving out. I aimed for a hand hold that was much taller than me, so I launched up which caused my feet to slip.
The other thing I love about this gym is that it has a lot of different people. You have people who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced. I have been here a few times and every time I come, I see people of all ages. I feel like I can be myself here and not worry about being judged.
Overall, I really enjoy the atmosphere of this place. Everyone is super nice, helpful, and supportive. They encourage everyone to try new things, learn, and grow. I've met some cool people through this gym and I hope to continue to meet many climbers who share my interests.
Thanks for the memories Boulderdash! I'll be moving to a new gym in September so I'll update my blog with any new adventures I have there.
Until next time! 👋