By Lainey Younkin
Outdoor activities seem to diminish in the winter. If the elliptical is not going to cut it until spring, or you’d like your dates to be a little more exotic than dinner and a movie, or you’d just like to do something fun indoors with your friends, then rock climbing is your go-to activity for the next few months.
Afraid of heights? No problem. Keep in mind that not all rock climbing involves ropes and hanging out near the ceiling.
I recently ventured to Rock Spot Climbing gym in Hyde Park. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced rock climber, this gym has something for everyone – including student discounts. And don’t worry, the sport is safe. There were 8-year olds having birthday parties there.
First, a brief overview on the two types of rock climbing: “top-rope” and “bouldering.” Top-rope climbing involves ropes (provided by gym), a harness, climbing shoes, a belay device, and two people – a climber and a belayer. The belayer stays on the ground and pulls the slack out of the rope (using the belay device) while the climber is climbing. While climbers climb up during top-rope climbing, they work their way across the wall when bouldering (without a harness or ropes).
Top-rope climbing and bouldering may seem scary, but after most people try, they realize it’s not. Experienced rock climbers know that safety comes first. Therefore, the ropes and knots are checked frequently to ensure safety for everyone. Large “crash pads,” or big mats, lie beneath the bouldering area to catch climbers should they fall. Also, gyms do not allow climbers to go above a certain height on the wall when bouldering since they are not tied into ropes.
You might also be under the impression that you need to be strong to rock climb. False. I’ve seen plenty of skinny guys out-climb football players. Don’t get me wrong – you will be sore after climbing. But the more you climb, the better you’ll get. And you’ll learn it’s not all about strength but about technique and trusting your feet.
If you’re new to rock climbing, Rock Spot is the place to go. The gym is beginner-friendly and is open seven days a week from 10am-midnight. It offers both top-rope climbing and an area for bouldering. Belay classes – in which you learn the proper technique for pulling the slack out of the rope while your partner is climbing – are offered for $12. If you already know how to belay, you simply have to demonstrate your competence (at no cost). And if you go by yourself, they have auto-belays that do the work for you.
If you aren’t so sure about the climbing but want to tag along, you can work on your balance by attempting “slack-lining,” which is similar to walking on a tightrope but at lower heights. There’s also a stationary bike, pull-up stations (rock climber style), and room for ab work.
Now on to what’s most important – dollars, discounts, and deals. Information is from http://rockspotclimbing.com/content/rirg_rsc_pricing.pdf.
|Day Pass||$16, $24 with gear|
|Bouldering Pass||$12, $17 with shoes|
Student (must show valid school ID):
|1 month – $50||3 month – $99||1 year – $365|
|1 month – $60||3 month – $160||1 year – $500|
Enjoy being a student while you can! However, if you’re not ready to commit to a membership, you can also purchase a punch card for 5, 10, or 20 visits, at $70, $130, and $220, respectively (not including gear).
If you’re just looking for that fun night with friends or that new date idea, check out the discount days at http://rockspotclimbing.com/content/rirg_rsc_pricing.pdf where you’ll find deals for students, ladies, and more! You can also read the Newsletter to check out monthly events and specials.
Rock climbing is a great way to mix up your workout routine with a fresh challenge. Head to Rock Spot Climbing gym this winter, and you’ll discover arm muscles you didn’t know you had and perhaps even take your relationship to new heights.
67 Sprague Street
Boston, MA 02136
Via the T:
Option 1: Orange line to Forest Hills, take #32 bus to Hyde Park Ave @ Milton St., walk to 67 Sprague Street (~10 minutes)
Option 2: Red line to South Station, commuter rail – Franklin Line – get off at Readville, walk to 67 Sprague Street (~12 minutes)
Lainey is a first year Nutrition Communication student. She enjoys running, rock climbing, and traveling to the South. She hopes to help people have a positive relationship with food. When not doing school work, she enjoys selling jewelry through her business at Stella and Dot – www.stelladot.com/laineyyounkin.