Boulder wouldn’t be Boulder without the Flatirons to let all who come here know they’ve found the outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
Boulder is home to many an outdoor sport like hiking, cycling and running. It should come as no surprise that a city whose name is literally means “big rock” has rock climbing as one of its most popular outdoor sports.
A great place to learn the ins-and-outs of rock climbing safety is right here on campus. The CU Recreation Center is not only a great place to get away from pesky roommates or play sub-par basketball, it’s also a fine place to start rock climbing.
Sophomore engineering physics major Tyler Yahn, once a member of the CU Alpine Club and a present member of the CU Hiking Club, said Boulder’s ideal location is the reason rock climbing is so popular.
“You’ve got the Flatirons in your back yard that you can walk to,” Yahn said. “You’ve got Boulder Canyon, which is only a bus ride or a bike or car ride away and Eldorado Canyon has world class climbing.”
Many students might not know how to get started in a sport that can sometimes look pretty scary.
“Any piece of climbing equipment you look at will say ‘climbing is inherently dangerous’ on it,” Yahn said. “So obviously climbing is inherently dangerous.”
Exhilarating sports such as surfing, skiing or rock climbing always come with a certain degree of danger.
“Small dangers are just a fact of life,” Yahn said. “You can get broken legs, get caught up in your rope and flip over backwards and hit your head. But as long as you are safe with your climbing techniques you are pretty well protected, you’re relatively safe.”
The Rec Center offers a number of introductory courses for rock climbing beginners. The climbing gym intro class is two-and-a-half hours of safety, belaying, spotting and basic skills training. The course is $35 and includes access to the bouldering wall at the Rec Center for an academic year.
Rec Center Climbing Gym Springs Hours
2:00-5:00pm (through March only)
Unlike other crowded Rec Center classes, the average climbing course usually has only three to four students in it.
Katie Landry, a senior international affairs major, works at the CU Outdoor Program office at the Rec Center.
“For many of our introductory courses, like beginning rock climbing and better bouldering, we tend to keep the classes really small,” Landry said. “And that’s simply because there’s a lot of safety learning that goes in to it, so we want to make sure our instructors have full attention on everyone.”
One of the most popular courses for rock-climbing offered by the Outdoor Program is the beginning rock climbing course. For $90, this two-day course in April allows students to begin climbing real mountains in and around Boulder with the guidance of a certified course instructor. Registration is allowed up until one day prior to the event.
Rock-climbers familiar with safety procedures and basic methods can sign up for the Outdoor Program’s six-day adventure trip to Desert Towers, Utah over Spring Break.
Landry said the trip is designed for non-experts and “it’s something that if you have any kind of climbing experience, you will be able to do.”
There’s still two weeks to sign up, and in the meantime, off-the-mountain training is a great way to prepare for the rigors of rock-climbing.
“Aerobic training is great to keep you in shape,” Yahn said. “You don’t want to be a fat guy going up the rock. It just doesn’t work out so well.”
The CU Rec Center, along with the Outdoor Program, hosts Mountain-fest on April 12 and 13.
Among the evening’s events are a climbing competition for all levels, free food and a live band. Prizes like Go-Lite jackets, harnesses and grip-boards will be awarded.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Evan Acker at firstname.lastname@example.org