When the temperature is not rising above freezing and the sun is setting before 6 o’clock it can be hard to find something to do after school other than sleeping and eating. Most of the time people resort to going to the gym. But for those of us who don’t like the routine (or the smell) of the gym, we end up fantasizing about when the sun sets late and you can strap on your hiking boots and go for a nice sunset trail hike. But until then, we have to find an alternative. While you can go skiing or snowboarding in this cold weather, it’s hard to fit it in after school as well as have the energy to get your homework done.
Indoor rock climbing can be done after school and it is easy enough to do spontaneously. Every time you go it will be different and it is a great blend of flexibility, arm strength and trust. It is good to do it with a friend that you are comfortable with so that climbing will be less stressful. It is a good bonding experience when the belayer is coaching the climber, giving them suggestions as to where to step next. And being a climber is great because you push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn more about what you body can (and cannot) do.
I suggest wearing leggings or long pants and a comfortable shirt. I spared you the photos of me in a harness because it is not flattering on anyone which is why you might as well wear clothes you are comfortable in. The shoes they give you will crunch your feet because they claim that it is better to have them be tight but it’s no fun when you have no feeling in your toes, so don’t be afraid to go up a size. As for the climbing, my friend Teddy recommends that you keep your arms as straight as possible and keep looking down for places to put your feet. It will get difficult when your hands are sweaty which is why experienced climbers have chalk to regain their grip, however, it is not needed as a beginner.
My friend, Bridget, and I went to Vertical Dreams in Nashua. We, as beginners, had to take this beginner class about climbing and belaying. I don’t want to focus too much on the place as much as I want to focus on the action of rock climbing, but I will say that I wouldn’t go back to Vertical Dreams for 4 reasons: the creeps, the cash, the crowd and the children.
- Creeps: I always felt like I was being watched and that was partly because I was. Sometimes the workers would just watch from a distance and then meander over to us to recommend something for us to do differently. While I appreciate the help, I wasn’t really looking for a future at Vertical Dreams being a competitive climber. Don’t get me wrong, I loved climbing but for someone doing it for the first time in 2 years, I was just trying to learn the ropes of it. (pun intended)
- Children: Unfortunately, rock climbing is really family friendly. The reason that this is a con is because if you are 2 seniors in high school just planning on hanging out rock climbing together, you don’t want to deal with kids and parents invading your space. The other thing is that if you are a beginner climber and want the easier course, all the families end up taking it for their children. And then you get one upped going up a course by some 7 year old who believes that 1 person a year dies climbing at this facility. (yes I actually heard one kid say that to his brother)
- Cash: For 2 seniors in high school trying to save up for college and still have fun, rock climbing is not compatible. The beginner course and rental came to $35 each. We had a day pass included in this, meaning that we could climb for the rest of the day, but I don’t know how much climbing we would have to do to pay back that amount of money. I understand that the facility and rentals and courses are expensive, but it didn’t end up working out for us especially because we were still both unsure if we were even going to enjoy it when we payed.
- Crowd: Around 4 o’clock, more people started rolling in and it was hard not to cross people while climbing. You had to scope out which route you were going to take next before you even finished the one you were on. And if someone took the one you had in mind, you might end up having to do one out of your experience level and it turns into a game of “How Long Can I Go Before Falling” and a test of your belayer’s reflexes.
Overall, the activity of indoor rock climbing was great and I really enjoyed it but the downsides of it seemed to overweigh the fun of it. Hopefully, I can find a more compatible facility for rock climbing, but until then, I don’t see it in my future.
Rock Climbing: 4/5
Vertical Dreams: 1.5/5