Saturday, March 10, 2012

Climbing The Walls

Last night I met up with two of my girlfriends, Dancing Queen and Maverick, for a Girl's Night Out.  Instead of heading for the nearest bar, we went to an indoor climbing gym and spent the evening literally climbing up the walls.  It was a blast!

After signing our lives, and the right to sue, away we were fitted with harnesses and given a quick orientation on the gym's auto-belay system.  The auto-belay is basically a giant pulley system rigged through the ceiling that allows people to rock climb without having to learn the mechanics of belaying (safety ropes).

Maverick: Modeling our uber-unsexy harnesses

After that, we were turned loose in the 12,000 sq. ft. facility to climb to our heart's content.  And climb we did.  It quickly became obvious that Dancing Queen is part spider-monkey as we watched her scale the walls like she was walking up a flight of stairs.  In no time at all, she tagged the ceiling 35 feet above our heads! 

Dancing Queen or Spider Monkey?

I was up next.  Climbing up the wall wasn't too difficult as long as I took the time to figure out what my next move was. 

Coming down was another story.  In order to get down, we had to let go of the wall and let ourselves fall backward (and then the auto-belay kicked in, slowed the fall, and lowered us somewhat gently to the ground).  Let me tell you...the last thing in the world you want to do when dangling 35 ft. in the air is let go and fall backward!  Once I finally convinced myself to let go, I discovered that coming down was almost more fun than climbing up.  It sort of felt like floating.
It felt much cooler than it looks!
After getting comfortable with what we were doing, we decided to each take a turn on a more difficult route.
See the part of the wall jutting out by my waist? Yeah. Climbing over that was much harder than climbing straight up the wall. Of course, Dancing Queen made it up there in no time at all and I made it eventually.  Poor Maverick was within one step of the top when she fell off the wall. Although really, she deserves a ton of 'brass balls' points for going rock climbing.  I had no clue, until now, that she's terrified of heights!  The woman is a rock star!
After a few more climbs, our arms were burning and all three of us were exhausted.  We retired to the burger joint next door for dinner, ice cream, and of course, girl talk. It isn't a Girl's Night Out without girl talk!

I can't wait to do this again!  I discovered that the gym offers introductory belaying, knot-tying, and climbing classes for adults and am seriously considering giving it a try next winter!

Have you ever tried indoor or outdoor rock climbing? 


Megan said...

I love Rock climbing. Insanely love it! Great idea for a girls night. In fact, I think I might take the idea! You NEED to check out Upper Limits in Bloomington, IL. You climb inside the silos. 65 feet to 110 foot indoor and outdoor rock walls. I've been here before and this place is amazing. You will love it.

Mary said...

I just checked out Upper Limits. That might almost be worth the 4 hour drive!

Anonymous said...

Have I mentioned I'm also afraid of heights? I sound less badass everyday! Lol