An unforgettable experience
December 5th, 2017. It was a Tuesday. Any other Tuesday, you might have seen me in leggings and a tee shirt anyway. This day was no different, except that, ultimately, it was.
This day, I was going to rock climb.
The rock wall was this Everest, looming over the gymnasium at all times: beautiful to look at, but daunting. From the moment I found myself back at the J, I knew I was ready to conquer it. But climbing isn’t a lonely sport - you need a partner. There was no better home for community than the J, and thus, the brainchild of Open Climb was born.
You could overhear me through the halls of the J asking people if they were ready to “harness up.” I walked through the fitness center with my gear on to let our members know that Open Climb was starting, to which I got more than one confused look. Before I could explain it to others, though, I had to learn myself!
an amazing staff instruction
Ryan, one of our rock wall supervisors, was laid back in his approach to teaching me how to belay. Once I was certified, I wanted to challenge myself. I quickly learned, however, that I was a bit overconfident in the routes I approached to say the least. I tried a 5.7 and swiftly realized that I needed to start with a beginner route, even though I was in decent physical shape! That’s why I became a regular at Tuesday night Open Climb; the full body workout was the ultimate challenge.
an unbelievable workout
When you climb, you work every muscle, from your fingertips to toes. Abs, obliques, biceps, you name it! Every part of your body is engaged, whether you’re climbing or belaying.
The benefits extend beyond the physical, too: the mental barriers you break down while climbing are almost immeasurable. People refer to it as a “climbers high,” a combination of problem solving, active engagement, and confidence. When you rock climb, you’re only in competition with yourself.
an incredible personal accomplishment
When I finally did reach the top of that 5.7, I felt so proud. I stuck with it. My perseverance and persistence paid off. But I have to recognize the help that I had along the way, and I found that at Open Climb.
Challenge yourself in a new way, and you’ll be amazed at the results. As with any new program it will take some practice and patience to learn the lingo, the moves, and the etiquette, but the payoff will be oh so satisfying. Whether you are looking to conquer a 5.12 or just getting used to completing 5.6’s or have no clue why I am referring to numbers, we will welcome you at Open Climb.
The Siegel J rock wall is open on Sunday afternoons, 2 to 4 PM and Tuesday evenings, 7:30 to 9:30 PM.