I finally went rock climbing – I feel like a real Squamptonian now! Sure, it was at the indoor gym (Ground Up Climbing Centre) and not up the face of the Chief, but you have to start somewhere, right?
My history with rock climbing is very, very brief. I went to a gym with a climbing wall once in my early teen years with my cousin Jamie, and I remember my forearms hurting for a week afterwards. Fast forward a decade and I got the chance to try rock climbing outdoors on the most original first date I have ever been on. I had fun both times, but never really pursued it again.
A few of our friends from Whistler told us they were headed to Ground Up and we thought it would be fun to join in – what else is there to do on a rainy Sunday evening? I rented the required gear and decided to try my hand at an impossibly challenging 5.6. (Just kidding – 5.6 is as easy as it gets at this gym. I’m still learning the whole rating system.)
I have limited experience with climbing gyms, but Ground Up seemed to be top notch. The facility is really big – the walls are super high and there is a ton of space. It was pretty busy on this particular evening, but the place is so spacious that it didn’t feel cramped or like we were stepping on anyone’s toes. There’s all kinds of cool stuff to look at – a sweet bouldering section upstairs and this treadmill style rock climbing wall that kids were tackling at full speed.
Unsurprisingly, I had a great time. It was equally fun watching Cedric and our friends tackle their “routes” (do I sound legit yet?) as it was trying it on my own (5.7 is as hard as I got this time).
My forearms were incredibly sore the next day – apparently I haven’t worked these muscles much since my first rock climbing adventure at age 13.
I’m pretty cautious about throwing myself into new activities – I already have a few fun and expensive hobbies – but there’s a real appeal to having something fun to do on rainy day, of which there are plenty in Squamish. I’m contemplating signing up for the $50 belay course, which will:
- teach me how to belay so I’m not dead weight when I’m out with friends;
- provide me with a two week pass to the gym; and
- provide me with rental gear.
From there, I can decide whether or not it’s worth investing in my own gear and a pass. I think this decision will be tabled until the new year, because the calendar is quickly filling up with Christmas events. Have I been bit by the climbing bug, like everyone else in this town? Time will tell.