I mentioned a few weeks ago (in this POST) that Dustin has been trying to get me to join him at Vertical Endeavors. He purchased a year membership there, and has been going a couple times a week. He says that it’s a great workout…so, for the benefit of the Right Fits I joined him yesterday.
Yesterday, we both had the day off for Veteran’s Day. Since the climbing gym wouldn’t be as busy in the middle of a weekday, I decided to give a shot. Dustin had a few 1/2 price guest passes with his yearly membership. The passes included the equipment rental as well.
As a newbie, I first had to go through a 15 minute orientation. The guide explained bouldering, top-roping, auto-belay, and lead climbing. Say what???
Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad (called a bouldering mat) so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas.
I was able to try bouldering (just a bit), but I definitely preferred auto-belaying.
Auto-belaying: An auto belay is an automatic belay device that eliminates the need for a human belayer. The auto belay takes up the slack as a climber ascends and controls the descent when the climber reaches the top or in the event of a fall. Rather than requiring one human belayer per climber, auto belay devices allows multiple climbers on the wall with one person as a supervisor
Top-rope climbing (or Top-roping) is a style in climbing in which a rope, used for the climber’s safety, runs from a belayer at the foot of a route through one or more carabiners connected to an anchor system at the top of the route and back down to the climber, usually attaching to the climber by means of a harness. Assuming that the route is predominantly bottom-to-top; that the anchor holds; and that the belayer pays attention, the top-rope climber generally will not fall more than a short distance and can thus safely attempt even the most difficult routes. Most top-rope anchors can be reached through non-technical means, such as by hiking or scrambling to the top of the cliff..
Lead Climbing: Lead climbing is a climbing technique used to ascend a route. This technique involves a lead climber attaching themselves to a length of dynamic (elastic) climbing rope and ascending a route while periodically attaching protection(quickdraws or traditional protection) to the face of the route and “clipping in” to it. The lead climber must have another person acting as a belayer. The belayer has multiple roles: holding the rope in the event of a fall, and paying out or taking up rope as the climber moves. As lead climbing does not require a pre-placed anchor at the top of the route, it is often seen as less restricted than top roping. Also, because a lead climber does not have an anchor point above them whilst climbing, only the limbs and body of the climber are used to effect upward progress. Protective devices are only placed to catch the climber in the event of a fall.
He coached me throughout the climbs, helping me figure out where to place my legs, and reminding me to USE MY LEGS, not my arms! We were at the gym for about 2 hours total, with about 1.5 hours of climbing. My arms, especially my wrists/forearms, are pretty sore, so clearly I need to work on using my legs a bit more. But overall, I had a good time, and will definitely join him again in the future.
It was a totally different kind of workout than what I am used to- challenging, but fun!
What to Wear:
Comfortable clothing that does not inhibit movement. Remember, your clothes need to fit under a snug harness. In winter you may want to bring a sweatshirt or fleece for when you’re not actually climbing. Jewelry and watches should be avoided! Rings and watches can take a real beating. They get scratched on the wall and can catch on things.
More Information on Vertical Endeavors:
Monday to Friday 8a.m.-11p.m.