Are you sick of running laps while your flabby legs ripple in the wind? Did your Bowflex just break when you sat on it? Well, here is an alternative that will provide an adrenaline rush that no mile-long run or workout machine can offer. Rock climbing is not only a test of physical endurance but of mental courage.
“Most people will get sore if they put effort in the first times,” amateur rock climber sophomore Kenny Moran said. “It works all the muscles so it gets you strong.”
Rock climbing gives participants a full body workout. As climbers scale steep sloping cliffs, they work almost every muscle group in their bodies, providing both an aerobic and anaerobic workout. In an average 2-hour session, a 140-pound rock climber will burn about 1,400 calories. Rock climbing two or more times a week can improve strength, flexibility, muscular and cardiovascular endurance and mental stability.
How can people get started? Most beginners go to indoor courses to learn. These indoor courses feature artificial cliffs where beginners may take lessons and begin their treks to expert climbing.
The nearest indoor facilities are Twisters Gym on Terminal Boulevard in Mountain View and Planet Granite on Stewart Drive in Sunnyvale. Prices for admission, rental shoes and harnesses range from $16 to $24 depending on age and climbing time. However, lessons will cost extra, ranging from $34 for a belaying lesson to $129 for a 4-week beginner course.
Introductory lessons cover the basic safety rules. These rules are very important, as most climbers suffer injuries during their climbing careers. Climbers are taught how to secure themselves in harnesses, tie basic knots and to belay (taking up slack in the rope as another climber ascends). Beginners are also taught basic holds and climbing maneuvers.
After many lessons with an experienced instructor and with much practice on artificial walls, climbers can move on to climbing real cliffs and begin tackling real adventures staring down jagged peaks. There are many popular peaks all over the country that are desirable to climb. Some close peaks include Pinnacle National Monument and Castle Rock State Park.
To climb such challenging outdoor courses, a climber will want to purchase gear. A basic set of gear costs about $200 or more. This set includes rock shoes, carabineers (metal snapping links used for climbing tasks), a harness and rope.
After much practice and experience a climber can make his climbing more than just a hobby and begin climbing competitively. Kenny climbs in three leagues every year. These include American Boulder Series in the fall, Youth Climbing League in the winter and Sports Climbing Series in the spring. With practice, rock climbing can become not only just a hobby but a lifestyle.
“[Rock climbing] allows for laziness and then short, focused bursts of concentrated energy,” Kenny said. “There are so many ways to do a certain climb and finishing a hard one feels awesome.”