Climbing can mean summiting 20,000-foot mountains, trying to get up a 5-foot boulder, or anything in-between. It can also mean using no gear to help you, relying totally on gear, or anything in-between.
Climbing in gyms typically focus on three categories within this range: bouldering, top-roping, and sport climbing. Bouldering involves climbing short distances (~10 ft) without a rope. Since no anchor system or belayer is required, bouldering allows the climber to focus on the physical challenge of climbing a short sequence of moves. Top-roping involves climbing with a rope going up from the climber to a pre-set anchor. While an anchor setup and belayer is required, the climber can still focus on the climb itself, with the ability to go higher than bouldering. Sport climbing involves clipping into pre-set anchors as the climber progresses. This adds difficulty to a climb by requiring the climber to stop and clip additional anchors.
How do I get started?
If you’ve never climbed before, the best place to start is with a beginner lesson (If under 18 you need a signed waiver from a parent or gaurdian). This will show you what the gym has to offer, what it all feels like for you, and teach you the basic skills needed to boulder and top-rope indoors. The 1-hour lesson costs $40 and includes all the necessary equipment and a complimentary one week membership. It’s helpful in the long-run to bring a future climbing partner with you, since you’ll need someone to climb with for top-roping.
If you enjoyed your lesson and want to come more, you can buy day passes and rentals on a one-time basis, or buy 10-passes, which have no expiration. The best pass for a beginner is the 10-Pass with Gear because it includes rentals for $155, which will save you $5 per visit over the regular rate.
If you decide you have more than a passing interest in the sport, you’ll want to invest in some basic equipment. The first purchase should be a properly fitted pair of climbing shoes. These are an investment – typically around $100 – but they can last several years or more for a beginner, and they’ll dramatically help your climbing. Next you’ll want a harness, belay device, and carabiners to fulfill your top-rope equipment needs.
Having your own equipment and beginner skills will allow you to get a membership at the gym, which is significantly cheaper than the initial investment. Memberships are at most $60 per month.
Many participants use climbing as their primary form of exercise, since it’s a full-body workout, and cheaper than a “regular” gym. Many find the mental challenge to be very rewarding. Beginners tend to enjoy facing the natural fear of heights. As for climbing at the Indoor Ascent, we have a small staff dedicated to the sport and passionate about teaching. And our facility is open year-round.
Please call us at 603-742-7848 to arrange a class or lesson.