Less than a month into the second semester, you could see the enthusiasm of the
Upon arrival, they were greeted by fifty-foot walls and a group of five certified climbing instructors. After signing waivers, everyone was encouraged to get harnessed up, fitted with climbing shoes, and get ready to go. You could feel the suspense as they realized how high it was possible to climb.
Everyone took turns giving it their first try, some making it to the top and some falling on the way, safely and softly caught by the belayers (rock-climber’s term for a spotter) climbing ropes. After several ascents, most students were rather tired, being challenged to use muscles they normally would not exercise in their fingers and forearms to hold on. Some students pushed themselves on overhanging roofs, corners, and differently shaped walls. Others raced to the top for bragging rights. Some were just happy to get high up without falling.
The instructors also introduced students to a different type of climbing called “bouldering,” a more challenging form of climbing which involves harder moves and holds that only go about 10-15 feet high without a rope. The climbers were spotted by to partner to make sure they landed on their feet when falling and had a “crash pad,” which is a specially designed compact pad to absorb the impact of a falling climber and some of the best pads can effectively cushion a freefalling climber from 40 feet. The Cliffs is sponsoring the “Feats of Strength” bouldering competition on Saturday, February 22.
After bouldering and top roping, students were exhausted and ready to call it night, only to be revitalized by the breaking news of a snowstorm and cancelled classes Friday.
For anyone interested in climbing, The Cliffs is under ten minutes away by car. The Cliffs has experienced instructors and offers a variety of classes. It features 2,500 square feet of bouldering with different features, over fifty top rope stations, and walls equipped for lead climbing. They have professional climbers’ set routes with difficulty ratings similar to outdoors from 5.0 to 5.13, twenty-foot walls upstairs for younger climbers, and a rappel tower.