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viewpoints on indoor climbing space

had my girls at a local indoor climbing establishment today.  they spent a few hours navigating around, ended up doing some routes that are ostensibly 5.7/5.8.  all top-roped, obviously no need to place protection or clip in.

what is your view on them continuing in this vein as opposed to doing some classes to learn climbing in the real world? they like this a lot, and it's a heck of a lot easier to take them to an indoor place in a controlled environment.  

Personally I see no negative to this. Is it the most natural, purest form of the sport? No, obviously not. But your girls are still going to gain the physical benefits of climbing as well as the self confidence and postive body image derived from climbing. Priceless when raising a young girl in todays world.

I have a yearly membership here at a local gym for just as you say, convience. Theres too many days I just don't have to time to gather everything up, drive the hour to the crag and fulfill all my commitments. Is all that an excuse and I should be climbing more outdoors? Maybe, but I figure climbing indoors is better than nothing.

We, as adults, need to remember that we can't force children into activities/sports/crafts just beacuse we enjoy them. I am absolutly not trying to accuse you of that leadbelly, it's just as a teacher I all too often see and hear parents trying to push their kids in a direction, whether or not the kid wants to. It often seems its a result of the parent missing his or her "glory days". That pressure and stress is all too commonly placed on children. Again this is an observation from my occupation and is not directed at you leadbelly or the OP. Rant done.

Back to the topic. An activity with physical and mental health benefits, safe and controlled environment, encouraging young women to explore sports, gain self esteem and a postive self body image? I see nothing but positives!

WARNING!: Climbing gyms are gateway experiences to more hazardous outdoor activities!  (I can think of worse vices.)


I agree, nothing negative about it that I can see. The only amendment to that would be making sure they understand that gym climbing doesn't prepare one to take on trad without further experience and training on the real deal. Of course, that can be done pretty easily by taking them out and experience the difference every so often. 

I'd be a much better climber on rock if I had a place to practice.  The gym phenomenon is partly responsible for the increase in outdoor climbers and the increase in their skills.

I have belayed a lot of people on their first outdoor climb.

Gym climbing certainly has its place, but it can't substitute for the real thing, especially when it comes to traditional climbing (placing your own protection and belaying).  But it's a great place to start and to get into/stay in shape.

On a different note, I once heard "belay" defined as, "If I let go of the rope, you'll belaying on the ground."

i love teh climbing gym. I met many of my outdoor pals there and have learned a lot being there. A great place to try out the new activity, get used to things on a basic level and if your gym has a cave, even do some more difficult stuff. We have a guy that comes in from the Cirque shows and practices that ribbon hanging stuff that is amazing. A slack line is often going and people are learning to clip in and practicing while gaining some fitness. Downside? No sun, no clean air, no approach hike. :)

rant perfectly acceptable.  i'm definitely not re-living any glory days - the girls tackle climbing walls at summer camp and were hucking me to do this.  i climbed a little back in the day, but i'm much more interested in backpacking and winter mountaineering, neither of which i push onto my kids.  we also lack any of the protection, harnesses, ropes, shoes, and skills for real rock-climbing (i'm terribly rusty and would need to take classes again).

my kids know i love being outside - we hike together occasionally, but they prefer the soccer fields to the forest and the mountains.  i do think they gain some appreciation through enthusiasm and osmosis.  my son, away at camp in Maine, volunteered with some friends for a 3 day jaunt up and around Katahdin.  he knows that i know he doesn't love hiking, so his note, 'believe it or not, i hiked Katahdin, and i loved it' was great. 

I live near a Lifetime Fitness, which my good friend now manages the rock-wall, but point being they do classes for both parents and kids! so it could be a great way to bond with em!

I also prefer to backpack than climb, but I'm in my college's climb club because I like to get outside and that was the cheapest way to do it (before I got my job with the university's Outdoor Pursuit Center).. but this could be a great gateway to doing both, and you could always be there to belay them!

Maybe you could find an instructor that'll teach you to set up some anchors.. and find somewhere to do a top rope. Eventually, get them good enough to learn to lead climb and backpack into a climbing site.

So, let em climb inside and get them good enough for the outdoors!

I took up climbing in a gym to learn rescue techniques. It gave me some good techniques for getting down to someone who's fallen and for stopping them from getting hurt in the first place.

However, I eventually found it too boring to be climbing the same walls all the time, and wound up moving from gym to gym for better challenges. I now have belay tickets at every climbing gym in town (and even a few that have shutdown).

Like GoG says, though, "No sun, no clean air, no approach hike." I haven't bothered in a year or so.

September 28, 2020
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