With a desk job, the extent of my exercise is walking to the coffee machine and lifting the endless supply of junk food into my mouth. To get some form of a workout during my lunch break, I thought it imperative to join a health club.
In the ten year hiatus between my first job in Incline Village to my current one, the local health club has transformed from a racket-ball facility, so popular in the 80’s and 90’s, to a rock climbing gym. They have a stair-master, weights, and – most importantly for my co-workers – showers. So I joined and using the same equipment I had always used, didn’t give their theme change much thought. But eventually, I became curious about the attraction that mostly young people had about slowly climbing those walls.
Finally, I mentioned my intrigue of the sport to our young, buff marketing specialist Sophie who said that it really is a blast. She offered to show me how it works, though I think she might have just wanted a good laugh.
On my first climbing day at the gym, I changed into my workout clothes, and ran down to the pit with unbridled enthusiasm. “Where are your shoes?” Sophie asked. Lesson one: There are special shoes. I started on a ten-foot beginner wall with larger holds to climb. A few feet up, I lost my grip, fell backward, and realized the importance of the pad Sophie had put on the floor under the wall. By the end of the hour, I was able to scale the ten-foot wall fairly easily, though my forearms had been screaming since the fourth try.
Following the next weeks of watching other climbers, I found a day when few people were participating and bravely rented shoes and a harness. “Do you need a chalk bag?” (Lesson two). I clipped into the auto belay, which eases the climber down from high up and made it successfully about 20 feet until the holds got too small and my courage waned.
My next day climbing, I was determined to make it to the top. After mapping a course, I methodically climbed up, using all four limbs, staying patient and positive, re-routing my course on the fly if I encountered an obstacle. Finally, I was within arm’s length on the top, and joyously tapped the top of the wall in victory. Looking down from probably 50-feet, I prayed that the auto belay worked, which it thankfully did.
Climbing is an intense, challenging workout that combines strategy, strength and patience. I see the thrill that I never realized before, and hope to conquer the wall more frequently.
Rock Climbing Venues
Rock Sport Indoor Climbing – Reno, NV
Red Rock Climbing Center – Las Vegas, NV
Basecamp Climbing Facility – Reno, NV
Source: Galena Times