Local Rock Climbing as a Workout?

Local Rock Climbing as a Workout?

Lindsay Edward

Kyle Lacey, Sophmore Staff Writer

At its rawest, rock climbing is simply the act of climbing a large rock or other inclining surface such as mountain or canyon. Typically this is done with the aid of ropes and pulleys to reach the top of a climbing surface be it mountain or climbing wall. Climbing walls mainly concern indoor climbing, an offshoot of general rock climbing. Indoor climbing is generally held in climbing gyms where climbers climb to the top of the wall by using holds. Holds are placements on the wall that imitate foot and hand holds of real rock faces. Indoor climbing tends to be safer than general rock climbing as it’s in a controlled environment, but this doesn’t mean it’s not as challenging.

Recently I was able to participate in a local climbing class located at St. Mary’s college in St. Mary’s City, with a fellow friend and classmate. The class is usually held every Wednesday after school. Before the class began I was told of the different climbs, their difficulty, and how I could approach them. Each climb is a general path you could take to make your way up the wall, of course you can free climb about the wall as you please but completing a climb as it should be can be a great achievement and an easy way to mark your progress. Each climb also has a different difficulty from one another ranging from V0 (being the easiest) increasing to the more advanced climbs. The coach arrived and the class began, consisting of only five students (excluding myself). My friend and I arrived early so half an hour later when the class actually started my arms felt like they could collapse. The class began with more climb specific based exercises, working out fingers and forearms as well as performing several stretches. Some of the exercises  were simple gym exercises like push ups, curl ups, and squats. But some were very advanced wall workouts that, quite honestly, I wasn’t entirely prepared for.

The wall itself is public and available to anyone interested in climbing. But be prepared there are no ropes to help you, the whole wall is free climb from top to bottom. It costs five dollars to use the gym for a day and a waiver must be signed by your legal guardian before getting on the wall. The gym also offers climbing shoes which are available if needed (because let’s be honest, climbing shoes are expensive!). The wall may not always be accessible as there are often climbing competitions going on (mainly on weekends if there are any). Climbing competitions are basically time trials in which climbers will try and get to the top of the wall as quickly, and skillfully, as possible to gain points. More points will gain you a higher score in the rankings.

Climbing can be very relaxing sport to get into and a really nice way to workout most of your body. The class is generally more working out than it is climbing and as a beginner, having only climbed two times prior two my visit they were very helpful in explaining, as well as helping with, the things I had never done before. The coach will try and help each one of the students increase on their own individual goals to further advance each person’s climbing skill. Over all I had a fantastic time climbing at the St. Mary’s College climbing wall and will definitely go again and I recommend it to anyone interested in the sport or anyone who wants a major workout.