Indoor rock climbing – a safe and modestly exciting way to introduce yourself to the sport of climbing. Indoor climbing is becoming quite popular. Gyms exist in most urban areas and offer everything from birthday parties to professional competitions.
Indoor rock climbing gyms simulate outdoor rock climbing by offering a range of wall angles and artificial holds. The routes vary from the challenge of climbing a very steep ladder to climbing bat-like across the ceiling. Most gyms have rock-like textured walls and holds as varied and unique as natural rock.
The majority of the climbs are top-rope routes where the rope is already attached to the top of the route before you climb. They are the safest, most controlled way to ascend. Many gyms also include lead routes which are similar to "sport climbs" because the leader puts the rope through attached protection points as they climb. Lead climbs suit more advanced climbers who have passed a lead test at the gym.
Most indoor rock climbing gyms also offer bouldering walls and caves. These are short routes, often very steep, that are low enough to the ground that a harness and rope aren't required. Bouldering moves require good strength and power. Many climbers use them to train difficult moves, and to develop skill and strength.
No need to drive a long distance or hike a long way. It requires less gear and learning. Just walk in, pay your admission, and climb. Seasoned gym climbers can blast through a dozen or more routes in a few hours and get an intense and varied workout. And, through the winter, gyms may be one of your few climbing options.
A climbing discipline that's not gear intensive! Usually the gyms provide the ropes, and the anchors are permanent fixtures on the wall. The majority of gyms rent shoes, harnesses, belay devices, and chalkbags.
First-time gym climbers must demonstrate some knowledge of climbing before they can get off the floor, usually a simple belay test. If you've never climbed before, gyms offer introductory courses. The intro courses teach you the basic skills you need to belay and climb safely, and usually include the belay test. So, if you've been thinking about trying climbing, get into an indoor rock climbing gym and you'll be on you're way to rope-gunning glory.