Hello! I’m checking in a bit later today, but hey, I have something fun to share with you!
After (somewhat) facing my fears of heights last night, I can officially say that I am at least one step closer to fighting crime as Spider-Man…
Or, at least that is what I felt like scaling walls and belaying from vertical distances yesterday.
Have any of you taken up the sport of climbing?
I always figured it would be challenging, but I never really understood the logistics behind how people can safely train to climb cliffs and mountains until my visit to a local climbing facility.
Planet Rock – Madison Heights
I have taken a stab at climbing rocks before, but never in the environment of a training center. Thanks to a killer deal on Groupon, Scott has been joining a couple of friends to climb over the last month or so. Like real rock climbing, minus the minor detail of actually being outside.
He always comes home from hours of climbing raving about his experience, all the while complaining of already being sore everywhere from his legs and arms to callused hands.
Wanting to see what all the fuss was about, I asked to join him in climbing this week and was ecstatic when Planet Rock graciously invited me to enjoy a complimentary starter package.
The closest I had come to rock climbing before my visit to Planet Rock was tackling a rotating rock climbing tread wall at my college gym. It’s similar to a treadmill for the use of running, and I thought it was perfect for someone like me who has a fear of heights.
You didn’t need ropes, harnesses, or special climbing shoes, and you could experience the art of climbing without having to get high in the air. That may seem lame to some, but to me, it was comforting and one heck of a workout.
That said, I was really looking forward to putting my big girl pants on and diving into climbing… for real.
Rock climbing is no joke, y’all. There are ropes, harnesses, clips, climbing shoes, chalk bags, and a variety of other equipment you need to get familiar with before taking a climb.
The shoes are made to run pretty snug, since you don’t want them sagging off of you in weird angles. Scott eventually purchased his own climbing shoes to avoid having to rent them every time, and he calls them his “Geisha” shoes. I get it.
As soon as I walked into the main lobby, I could tell that I wasn’t just going to be able to walk in and go for it. And rightly so!
First time climbers ages 14 and older go through a lesson to learn safety, knots, and belaying (how to hold the ropes) before climbing. This lesson takes about an hour and is given on a first come first serve basis.
For those of you interested in bringing children, it’s best to bring along a nonparticipating adult to help keep an eye on younger kids while adults are occupied. Children ages 8 – 13 participate in the first 15 minutes of the lesson to learn how to tie the knots, but kids under 8 do not participate in the remainder of the training.
It’s always recommended to arrive at least two and a half hours before closing on your first visit to allow enough time to complete the training and feel comfortable enough to get the most out of your first climbing experience.
The training floor was huge! There were multiple levels and different areas appropriately labeled to display exactly what you were getting yourself into.
There were also trails of tape to lead you from the bottom to the top with a clear (suggested) path to follow for a variety of skill levels.
With an environment filled with first-timers like me to national competitors, you have to be alert and on the lookout towards whatever might be happening around you. There are people belaying, ropes dropping, and climbers falling down at any given time!
My training group was considerably large, so it took us about an hour to get everyone through.
Here, we learned how to tie an 8 knot (surprisingly, I rocked at that!), numerous safety precautions, and how to spot and control the belays of someone climbing above you. It took me a few tries to get the hang of the things, but I eventually got there and passed the test of spotting the instructor. Woo hoo!
As soon as I felt ready to take on my first climb, Scott and a few friends of ours led me upstairs to what I deemed the “baby wall”, which even with a name like “baby wall” still proved to be a challenge.
This wall had progressively harder tracks to follow, but the biggest advantage was getting to feel comfortable with an automatic belay system first, before needing to tie your own knots and getting a friend to spot you from below.
My biggest mistake was taking my first climb all the way to the top. Looking back, I should have gone about a third of the way up, then fallen to see what it felt like. I mentioned above that I have a slight fear of heights, so it took some real motivation and coaching from friends to have me voluntarily jump back and fall to belay down.
I trusted the system, but it would have been smart to test what that felt like before I was 25 feet in the air! Needless to say, (after staying frozen, vocally expressing my fear of being up there, and actually climbing down a few steps) I eventually fell and it was exhilarating! Haha. I’m a bit dramatic, I know.
I have belayed before, but never had the task of jumping off of anything to do it. My falls have always been in control of professionals, so this was a totally different experience for me.
After just a handful of climbs, I could already feel the burn in my arms and back. I tried to use my legs for a lot of the climbing, and even so, my upper body was on fire!
Before we left, Scott and our friends had to complete a run on “the chimney”.
You start with one leg in front of you and one leg behind, then jump and shimmy up all the way up to the top! Crazy, right?
I quickly passed on that challenge and will revisit that maybe… never. Kudos to you, friends!
Overall, my first real rock climbing experience was a terrifying, but amazing one. As someone who doesn’t care for heights, I see rock climbing (especially at facilities like this one) as a great way to get over my fear. Little by little, visit by visit, I’m sure my climbs will become scarier and require more trust and skill on my part. I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead!
Thank you so much for having us Planet Rock, we will be back!
After climbing, the boys took us to one of their favorite nearby dinner spots for Mexican food. It was Scott and I’s first time visiting Mojave Cantina in Clawson, and it was just about a ten minute drive from Planet Rock.
The weather outside was beautiful, so we sat on the patio and ordered chips, salsa, and freshly-made guacamole as soon as possible.
I also might have ordered a skinny margarita, because… Wednesday night? #turnup
After eating an impressive amount of chips, I ordered the low-cal black bean & corn salad with chicken.
It was delicious, but didn’t even compare to the couple bites I took of Scott’s enchiladas. Yum!
This morning I realized that I never announced the winner to the Bombas Athletic Socks giveaway! Whoops. I do apologize for the late reveal, but CONGRATULATIONS to…
Entry #355, Erin Ellis!
You have won four pairs of socks and will need to respond to your email within 48 hours to claim your prize. <3
I have a feeling this was only my first of many visits to Planet Rock. If I’m lucky, most of them will also include a trip to Mojave for dinner, too. I’d say our climbing and eating adventure was a nice little mid-week treat!
All right, I need to get moving and onto work. I hope you all have a great rest of your day, and I’ll see you back here in the morning with Friday Favorites!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever been rock climbing?
• What is one of your biggest fears?
Besides, heights, I have several other fears. I even outlined some of them in a previous blog post. One that might surprise you is my real fear of dark water… especially when it’s cold. I just can’t comprehend what’s under the surface, and the thought of something living actually touching me at any given time freaks me out more than a spider crawling on my face. Ahhh!
I went rock climbing in college once and wasn’t a fan. Congrats on facing a fear!! Your Mexican food and margarita look amazing!
Julia recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday
Oh no, have you been back to try it again? I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. And yes, I’m already dreaming about more chips, salsa, and margs. 😉
Woo, Planet Rock! I learned to climb at the PR in Ann Arbor and now I live in Colorado and climb (both indoors and outdoors) all the time! I’m so happy you went!
That’s awesome!! Yes, I heard they have another location in Ann Arbor too. I bet there are a ton of great climbing gyms in CO!
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
I LOVE rock climbing!! Glad you had fun!!
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted…Why I Buy Organic
Glad to hear you’re a fan, thanks Erin!
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss
okay, your rock climbing facility is way cooler than ours here in Richmond! I had a lot of fun trying it out this winter with my friend Brittany. I think I’ve had three rock climbing birthdays (in my defense, I was in like… middle school).
Alyssa @ Life of bLyss recently posted…Trader Joes, You Really Screwed Me [that time there was a bug in my packaged food]
I can easily see it becoming a regular activity in the winter months! Oh I bet rock climbing birthdays would be fun. 🙂
I STILL after all these years of climbing, cannot and will not do a stemmy-route (the chimney, Scott climbed). Good for you guys!!!
Nancy recently posted…Dior Blush Cheek Sticks
Oh, I have no intentions of ever trying that. But yeah… good for them! 😉 Ha!
um my biggest fear? Zombies. For my whole life. They scare me SO. MUCH. i threw up after my friends made me go see Dawn of the Dead the remake in 2004. I can’t even handle walking dead commercials!
The purge movies kind of freaked me out too, bc that sort of rioting and violence etc is definitely possible. and thats terrifying.
Mary recently posted…Kaitlin is my homegirl
Haha, I’m sorry to laugh but your answer is pretty great. And you’re right, zombies are no joke. I’d be lying if I didn’t halfway workout just to ensure I could outrun some if the opportunity ever came up… 😉
Rebecca - Strength and Sunshine
Ah so fun! The last time I did any rock climbing was the “rock wall” surrounding a foam pit at a gymnastics gym when I was like 12 😛
Rebecca – Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Coriander Garlic Grilled Chicken + Green Goddess Sauce
Ohhh a rock wall surrounding a foam pit sounds awesome. I wouldn’t be nearly as afraid to climb! Fun!
I love rock climbing! I wish I could do it more often, there is a rock gym near me but it is a bit pricey. It is such a good workout and I always leave feeling accomplished! What I really want to do it try some real rocks!
sarah recently posted…I’m Moved In!
Bummer, have you tried looking for deals on Groupon or Living Social? I feel like specialty gyms and training facilities usually take advantage of advertising on discount platforms like those.
Alexandra @ My Urban Family
I am terrified of heights, but rock climbing has always looked so fun to me! I’ve done a pretty short wall outside, once. But never anywhere legitimate like that. And I’ve heard it’s a crazy good workout!
Alexandra @ My Urban Family recently posted…Friday Favorites – Week 3
Oh it was! I’m not kidding when I say my arms and back were burning after a short 5 climbs. I’m looking forward to going back and building up my muscle endurance!
I am obsessed with rock climbing! I’m glad you gave it a try! I just did a periscope last week at my local rock gym trying to convince people to go rock climbing! I started in college and actually joined the rock climbing club and starting going to competitions and such. I fell out of the sport a little but after college but have recently gotten back into it. If you are afraid of heights, you should try bouldering! I typically do more of that and love it. I can imagine how scary it must have been to use the auto belays for the first time. I had never used those before moving to my current gym, and I have to say that they are a little more frightening than having a real person belaying you! Good job for facing your fears!
Lindsey recently posted…Family-Friendly Things to do at Crater Lake, Oregon
I still have yet to try out Periscope. It looks like I need to get on it! Bouldering sounds interesting, I’ll definitely have to look into that too. Thanks for the suggestions!
Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut
This looks so awesome! Have you ever watched American Ninja Warrior?? That’s what the chimney reminds me of!
Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut recently posted…Yoga Poses to Prevent Running Injuries
Yes!! I meant to include this in the post, but they actually have a ANW training area that includes the warped wall! I’ll have to take pics next time.
Krystal // The Krystal Diaries
Rock climbing is so much fun! I’m terrified of heights so I’ve never made it to the top of the walls but I still have so much fun!
Krystal // The Krystal Diaries recently posted…Remember How Blessed You Are
I would like to see more posts like this. I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to see new information on your blog.