Climb to New Heights!

This weekend I decided to try my hand at indoor rock climbing. In addition to their many other great facilities, Manhattan Plaza Health Center has a climbing gym for all skill levels from beginner to advanced. I signed up through MMA so there was a group of about 15 of us ready to learn on this particular outing. After putting on our climbing shoes and harnesses, we were split into groups of four so that our instructors could help us to learn in smaller groups.

I’ll admit that when I looked at how high the walls went, I was a bit frightened but I was here to climb and was determined to learn how. Our instructor went over in detail how we needed to tie the knots to the climbing safety rope and also how to belay (which is when you are responsible for making sure the ropes are properly handled to keep the person climbing safe). Once we had gone over the basics it was time to try our hands at the real thing. The first time I actually tried to climb the wall, I realized the challenge I was in for. These walls were high! Once you have more experience there are specific paths that you can navigate on up the wall. I tried to aim for the beginning paths but at times would go for whatever hold I could get! The first time felt a bit petrifying but I did make it to the top successfully. As we took turns, each time got a little less scary as I felt more secure in what I was doing. When it was my turn to belay, I was worried about being responsible for the weight of the climber but discovered how secure and safe the equipment really was. As you go along with your climbing efforts, you realize that you are working your muscles both while climbing and also while belaying. After our group had all had enough training with the instructor, it was time to climb on our own.

The climbing gym has many varied surface walls to climb, in addition to the area where you try to climb on your own without ropes – which is for the more advanced climbers. It was really fun to explore the different wall sections and see how much high we could reach on the different levels of difficulty. I ended up staying till 5pm and was one of the last pairs to leave from our group. It was a challenging day but a fun one!

Upon returning my rental equipment, I asked about how one could come back without a group. If you already know the basics you can buy a day pass for $20 and pay extra for renting shoes and a harness if you need them. They also offer orientation and learn to climb packages for those interested in learning everything from scratch like I did. More details about Manhattan Plaza Health Center and the Climbing Gym can be found at http://www.mphc.com/.

Indoor rock climbing is definitely a great way to challenge yourself, get a great workout, and try a new activity. I hope to be able to go again sometime soon.
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