My son Colby has had a desire to get into rock climbing for more than half his life. My wife and I took him to a climbing gym a few years ago, hoping he’d have a little fun, but then be able to say he’d done it, and then forget about it. But that trip to the climbing wall only reinforced his desire to scale vertical surfaces.
He’s built himself several finger-grip pull-up boards to strengthen his grip and work his climbing muscles, and he never stops badgering us to get him out to do some actual climbing.
The trouble is, we don’t have many options near where we live to learn to climb. Well, not to learn to climb safely, that is. We could traipse out to Vedauwoo and give it a shot, but we’d probably end up as a quartet of grease spots on the ground underneath those world-famous climbing routes.
It’s much safer to learn to belay, practice with the equipment, and discover the correct ways to ascend a vertical slope in a controlled environment, like a climbing gym. We go to climbing gyms when we can, but Colby would like us to go more often. One of those gyms has got me thinking I could really get into this. For about 50 bucks, both boys and I have full access to the facility for the entire day.
The first time we went, I was thinking I’d just let the boys climb, and I’d sit off to the side and read or catch up on emails or something. But I joined them. Big mistake.
Now I’m addicted. We go as often as we can, and we’re thinking about buying our own gear so we can go more places. Pretty soon, we’ll be shelling out thousands of dollars for climbing gear so we can tackle Vedauwoo.
If I get serious about this, I might need to sell a kidney.