People choose to go to an indoor rock climbing facility or climbing gym for a number of different reasons and there will probably be one located not far from where you live.
Safety and Building Confidence
Some choose to go to an indoor facility as it’s a safe controlled environment to learn the basics of rock climbing before venturing outdoors to do it for real. By starting off in this way, people are able to build up their confidence with little risk and there will still be climbing instructors on hand to teach them all the basic skills which will be easily transferable to an outdoor climb. You’ll also have access to all the equipment and how to use it, such as how to attach a harness and learning how to belay.
From a confidence perspective, an indoor facility will also test your mental resolve so that you can see if climbing is really going to be for you and, if you decide it is, there are all manner of maneuvers ranging from the easy to the extremely difficult to test your resolve and to see if it can prepare you for an outdoor climb. It also provides you with a useful insight into how you work as part of a team as you’ll discover how your goals can only be reached by having an understanding of what your goals are and an appreciation that climbing teams tend to succeed or fail on the basis of a collaborative effort.
From the safety angle, indoor climbing facilities come fully equipped with hand and foot holds on the walls and safety ropes strung from the top of the walls. They’re also about 40 feet high, although they can vary in size and complexity, but they’ll all have a soft, cushioned landing base which prevents serious injuries. In this way, a novice climber will be given all the reassurances they need which means that you will tend to pick up tips and training methods quickly, instead of often being scared to death if you were to practice your first maneuvers on an outdoor expedition.
There’s the social aspect too as you’ll meet other climbing enthusiasts and, in addition to the camaraderie you’ll find, you will be also be able to pick up useful advice from other, perhaps, more experienced climbers.
So, Indoor Rock Climbing is not Just for Novices Then?
No, not at all. Many highly experienced climbers still like to use indoor climbing facilities as a way of keeping fit and sharp in between actual climbs. They’ll also use them in between climbs if they live in the city where the surrounding environment means they don’t get to climb outdoors as often as they’d like or the environment in which they live is so harsh and the weather so severe that, even if they live close to a mountain range, they have difficulty getting out to the mountains to practice their climbing techniques.
They are also often preferred to actual outdoors climbing when instructors are giving lessons as there are no interruptions due to bad weather which can be crucial if an expedition date is imminent and people need to complete training courses first.
Do You Need to be in Great Physical Shape?
The way in which you might use your local indoor rock climbing wall can vary between those who just want to keep a certain level of general physical fitness to those who wish to physically train for a potentially gruelling expedition. Rock climbing in the outdoors takes a good deal of physical strength and mental endurance. Things like the strength of your fingers for gripping and holding and the strength of your legs in order to keep your footing can all be practised at an indoor climbing centre. Your instructor can put you through a regime of exercises tailored to ensure that you’re as physically fit as you can be before tackling an outdoor climb.
There are even competitions and you will often see people going up against each other in things such as speed climbing and bouldering.
Do I Have to Move on to the Outdoor Expeditions?
Whilst many people will go on to use the training they receive at an indoor climbing facility to prepare them for an outdoor climb, there are many people of all ages and both sexes who simply enjoy the challenges that indoor rock climbing presents, without even considering transferring those skills to the hills and mountains.
They will often go to meet friends and because they thrive on working in situations where success depends on the whole team working together. It can help many people come to terms with overcoming fears and dilemmas in their professional and personal lives and is a good alternative to the gym for keeping fit.
Can Anyone do it?
Yes. Men, women and children can all take advantage of an indoor climbing facility and you don’t need to be an outdoor adventure climber to benefit from all it has to offer.