It’s nothing like scaling El Capitan, one of the most famous rock climbs in the world, but at a local place, you can get a taste for what it’s like to dangle without spending too much dinero.
|Here I am admiring a giant rock near El Capitan in Yosemite
National Park, not knowing I would attempt it myself one day.
In a safe environment. In a gym.
Coral Cliffs in Fort Lauderdale offers several different options for those wanting to scale – from climbing to belaying to bouldering. We started with the “Intro to Climbing/Belay” class for $40.
|Here I am attempting one of my first climbs!
A hands-on introductory class from one of the instructors showed us the basics of rock climbing and belaying – that is, securing the rope for the climber.
|Here, Frank belays, while I climb to the top
Once you have the essentials, you have your choice of almost 100 courses. All of the courses are marked with colored tape and a grade that shows the difficulty of the course. The easiest grade is 5.5 (easy). The grades at Coral Cliffs go all the way up to 5.13 (fucking hard).
I chose to stick around the 5.6 range, which was slightly challenging for a girl with no arm muscles. But I still rocked it! Check it out while I scaled this wall:
I’m not too bad at belaying either!
Too bad we didn’t have the videos caught on tape where Frank fell and it lifted me up about three feet in the air! Luckily some other gym patrons were there to help me get down and then belay Frank to safety.
I did get a little crazy… Frank wanted to attempt a 5.7+ though, and who was I to have him show me up? So I did it too.
|It's the climb marked by orange tape
I was partially upside down for a moment, and even though someone is holding you with rope, it’s still a little scary.
If you’re not one for heights, bouldering may suit you – and it’s just $15. You don’t need any ropes for that, as you are just moving from side to side.
Also, you don’t need as much gear when you boulder. When you climb, you need the following gear, which you can rent at Coral Cliffs:
You can get all the gear for a special rate of $10.
When you boulder, you only need the shoes ($6) and the chalk bag ($1), which would bring a day of bouldering to just $22.
Because a day of climbing (assuming you brought a climbing partner and have already taken the class) is $19, that will cost $29 per visit with the gear.
Coral Cliffs also offers team building classes, which would be really fun to do! I wonder if my school will spring for it…