It’s no secret that I love climbing mountains. But when winter gets too cold, dark, and full of avalanche warnings I’ve got to take my exercise inside sometimes. It’s really hard to hike on weekdays in the winter due to lack of daylight, so I’ve already started looking for a new winter activity to try. And I think I’ve found it!
I finally tried indoor rock climbing and I think I’m in love already! Last month my friend managed to get me to the rock gym for a belay certification course, which is necessary in order to climb at the gym. I spent most of that session learning how to belay and playing around on the walls while my friend practiced belaying me. And ever since then I’ve been too busy or too focused on getting the last bits of hiking in before winter started to go back. But when it snowed on Saturday I decided it was time to get back to the rock gym and really try indoor climbing.
I went with two of my friends who were also total newbies and we had a blast! As soon as we got there we headed upstairs to the bouldering area. Bouldering is when you climb on a much shorter wall without a harness. It’s great because you can do it alone without needing someone there to belay you. But it turns out that without a harness I’m actually pretty scared to climb. I made it to the top of the main bouldering area once and then decided I was done with bouldering for the day. I’d love to come back and tackle that again when I have a bit more confidence in my arm strength.
Next, we headed downstairs to climb the tall rock walls. I think we were all a bit nervous about heights at first, but I managed to make it all the way up to the ceiling 3 times! My hardest climb was a 5.7 and I’m honestly pretty proud of that (the easiest they had was a 5.5). There were some tiny (to me) footholds and some sideways hand holds that slowed me down, but I really enjoyed the puzzle of looking for the next place to put my feet and hands. I was usually more scared at the bottom than I was at the top because once I got in the zone I forgot that I was hanging onto a super tall wall with just my fingertips and toes and I just kept working to find the next step. But by the time I got back to the bottom my hands were shaking with fatigue and nerves!
I didn’t expect myself to like it so much, or even to do that well my first time. I completely expected myself to chicken out when it got scary and I was surprised at how easily I was able to shut off the part of my brain that was freaking out and just keep on going. I’m already looking forward to my next climb and can’t wait to try to tackle a 5.8 – but I have to wait until I’m a bit less sore first!
Have you ever tried indoor rock climbing? Would you ever try it? What’s your favorite indoor workout during the winter?