Archive for rock climbing

Rock Climbing

Posted in Sports with tags , , , on August 9, 2009 by mccoolio


We’ve been doing a lot of climbing lately. Indoor climbing that is. My first experience with it was when Christopher, Kellye’s cousin in the Navy, would come in on leave and we’d want to do something cool while he was in. We’ve done all kinds of things : pull up contests, push up contests, roller skating, movies, sushi-eating, sushi-making, wing-eating, gun shows (mostly mine) bowling, shooting. Anyway, he suggested rock climbing. So, I found a place out at Cool Springs: Classic Rock Gym (now The Crag) We went and it was really cool. We’ve gone back to that place several times over the years as has our youth group from church. The same owners of CRG opened a new place on Murphy Road, Climb Nashville. Our former youth minister Sean Judge took us out to that place. It’s way bigger than CRG with way higher  walls.

Jordan never really liked climbing all that much.Wow, has that changed! All of a sudden, a few months ago, he wanted to  go climbing at CN. So, that’s turned into Jordan getting a year membership and going usually at least twice a week. I got a 10 visit deal, which I’ve just about used up already.

A little about climbing: There are levels of difficulty on climbing walls. The walls are covered with thousands of different sizes and shapes of grabs and holds, some huge, some little bitty. The walls also are all different configurations: some are 40 feet tall, others only about 15. Some are straight up, some lean in, some lean backwards, some have huge ledges, some have small ledges. Some have a combination of all these features. All the thousands of grabs and holds have little pieces of different colored pieces of plastic attached to the side of them. At the base of the wall, one of each different colored piece will have a number written on it. The number scale goes from 5.6 to 5.14. This scale represents level of difficulty. 5.6 is the easiest, with big holds that your fingers wrap easily around, sticking out from the wall 6 or 7 inches, spaced just right where you can just go right up like a ladder, a climb that a little child could zoom right up. 5. 14 is the most difficult, with little bitty pieces of plastic sticking out, sometimes as small as 1/4 of an inch for you to try to grab with your fingertips or try to scrunge the tippy tip of your climbing shoe onto, hopefully that when you put your weight onto it, your precarious grip on it won’t slip off. On these routes, the spacing of the holds are sometimes insanely far apart, devilishly created to only allow a master climber with monster fingertip strength and awesome technique to even have a chance to complete.

When you’re standing at the base of a wall,  you  select the route of your choosing, according to your skill, and aspirations. If you want to climb, say, a 5.6 level climb, you just exclusively use the grabs that have the colored tape on them that is associated with the 5.6 written on it at the base of the climb. Usually white tape is the 5.6 but not always, or so Ive been told. Anyway, to complete the 5.6 all the way to the top, you just grab and put your feet on the holds with the white tape on them, using none of the other grabs with different colors on them. This becomes more important as you try more difficult climbs. For instance, if you’re halfway up,  say, a 5.9 climb, and you’re stuck and can’t seem to make that next grab to the hold with the 5.9 color on it, there might be a different color hold right there that you can easily grab to further your climb. But if you want to successfully complete your 5.9 trek to the top, you can’t grab or put your feet on any other color.

Climbing is very safe. You’ve got a harness on your waist that a safety rope attaches to. That rope goes to the ceiling, wraps twice around 2 steel bars, comes down and goes through a belay device  clipped to your belay buddy’s harness. Every single climbing station has a rope there for this. As you begin your climb up the wall, your belayer pulls the slack you’ve created in the rope out with one hand , then pulls the same slack up with his other hand,  brings the rope down into a brake position, both hands slide up the rope again as you continue to climb, and the belayer continues to pull your slack out, all the time watching you as you climb, ready at an instant to pull his braking hand down in case you miss a hold and fall, and stop you instantly from falling. A 105 lb girl can pretty easily hold a 275 lb fella up in the air safely, through the leverage gain accessed by the double loop on the steel bars at the top of the wall.

rock climbing

All the climbing places I’ve been to and heard about are very, very, very safety conscious. You can’t belay unless you prove you can, or are a known regular. If you want to learn to safely belay  it costs about $5 or so extra but well worth it. When you are deemed safe to belay you get a red paper bracelet to wear or hang on your harness.

I’m at about the 5.8- 5.9 level right now. That’s decent, especially for my weight, which is 238. I’m almost always the heaviest person at the gym. Rock climbing is definitely a sport that gives a huge advantage to lightness, especially lightness and strength. Not necessarily big muscle strength but wiry strength. If you combine lightness,wiry strength,  good technique, and experience, then you get someone that’s capable of doing the high levels climbs.

Climb Nashville has special prices on Monday and Saturday evenings for students.

Come climb with us. It’s a blast!!!