Updated: Apr 9, 2019
Rock climbing is a fun activity open for students every Tuesday and Thursday
By Mickie Shaw, Multimedia Editor
Anyone daring enough to inch their way up the rock climbing wall should make their way down to the Community Service Center for a fun challenge open to new and experienced climbers.
The wall is ominous, standing tall and towering over the climbers gathered to challenge their bodies and nerves. The climbers tightened the laces of their rock climbing shoes, while other climbers adjusted their waist harnesses. The goal is to make it to the top of the wall and not come crashing down on the padded floor below.
“Its really scary the first time you fall,” said Diana Nunez 23, a Valley College chemistry major. “The hardest part of rock climbing is trusting when you are going to fall.”
Trusting the belayer, the person holding the climber’s climbing rope, is important. The climber’s waist harness is attached to the rope and, if they fall, the belayer will stop the climber’s fall using the rope.
The wall is covered in multi-colored hand grips: orange, blue, white, red and green. The large grips are called jugs and the small ones are crimps. Each color marks a route climbers follow and the routes are graded in difficulty from easy to very hard. The climbing wall also has ledges, cracks, over hangs and a half tube indentation. All of these make the gym’s climbing wall’s surface resemble an outdoor natural rock wall. The climbers reach, stretch and contort their bodies to place their foot or hand on the next grip. Carefully they make their way up the wall.
“When you are working on a particular route there are some challenging moves you have to make, and when you successfully move through that challenge that is kind of awesome,” said Paul Reid, a 10 year rock climbing veteran.
The wall is located at the Valley College Community Services building, where kids climbing classes are taught and older newbie climbers are shown the ropes. The climbers are a variety of people, from young to middle age, women and men. All are under the watchful eye of the climbing teacher.
“It’s definitely a good hobby to get into. It’s pretty fun,” said Steven Gonzales, the climbing instructor. “Here we are focused on getting them started, on learning to see if this is something that they like. And if it is, how to improve and get better.”
Gonzales is an alumni of the gym. He took his first climbing class at Valley.
“I had to take a PE class for my major, and I thought rock climbing sounds cool so I will take the class, and I really liked it.” said Gonzales. “So I started coming to our open gym here.”
The climbers at the wall are just a few of the millions of climbers in the United States. According to IBS World, a market research and analyst company, the indoor climbing gym industry has risen 7.2 percent over the last five years. Many of these gyms host rock climbing competitions like sport climbing, speed climbing and boldering.
Some climbers prefer indoor climbing, but many also enjoy outdoor rocking climbing as well.
“It’s nice to be outdoors. Because it is enjoyable to be in nature,” said Anthony Toribio. “But you can climb a lot more indoor and more frequently. You don’t have to worry about weather and you don’t have to hike to get into the climbing spot”
The rock climbing gym is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Valley’s Community Service Center. The cost is $8 per person, which includes the climbing gear.