Rock walls: climb every fiberglass mountain

Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:10am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - British climber George Mallory famously said he wanted to climb Mount Everest because it was there.

But there or not, experts agree that climbing is a great workout, so if you cannot get to a mountain, fitness centers are bringing a mountain to you.

"Indoor rock climbing is one of the best workouts you can imagine," said climbing instructor Abby Nelson of Chelsea Piers Sports Center, which offers climbing classes in New York City. "You use legs, core, arms, hands, and it gets the adrenalin running."

In fact, Nelson said scaling the 65-square-foot indoor rock wall at Chelsea Piers can be a more efficient workout than climbing the real thing.

"If your goal is to get as much climbing in as possible, sometimes that doesn't happen outdoors, where you need to find your climb," she explained. "Indoors the ropes are already set up and working out is easy. If you can climb a ladder you can climb a wall."

Rock climbing walls have been cropping up in gyms and on playgrounds ever since Don Robinson, a British lecturer in physical education, created the first one in 1964. By 2005 at least 9 million people were estimated to be participating in the sport in the United States alone.

At Brooklyn Boulders, an 18,000-square-foot climbing gym in Brooklyn, New York, to rope or not to rope is the question.

The gym, which opened in August, offers classes in three styles of climbing: Top-roping, in which an anchor is set up at the summit; lead climbing, where a leader is attached to a second climber; and bouldering, which is rope-less.   Continued...

<p>Instructor Abby Nelson scales a 10,000-square-foot wall at Chelsea Piers Sports Center in New York City in an undated photo. REUTERS/Scott McDermott/Handout</p>