Climbing wall

Matthew Linza works his way up on a 5.8 pitch while climbing wall manager Libby Nye anchors the belay rope.

Yes, yes, the rumors are true, Buena Vista just opened its first year-round public climbing gym.

With rumors floating about, I sat down with Libby Nye, the climbing gym manager, to see if I could get the facts straight on this new and exciting opportunity.

Peak Fitness’s climbing gym opened up this past Memorial Day, and it seems to be the buzz around town with outdoor enthusiasts.

First things first, I asked Libby just how intense this climbing wall is. She quickly assured me that the the wall is beginner friendly with shorter routes for people who are learning.

It also has bouldering options and more advanced options like lead climbing, which is great practice for people who climb outside.

She stated that it’s probably more beginner friendly overall though, and there are routes that are as easy as climbing a ladder.

Without much experience, it sounded like a beginner could jump right in.

Libby and I carried on about the sport of climbing and how newcomers may step up to the challenge.

She told me that often the hardest part for people is getting in the door and overcoming their personal fear.

I guess that is where our sense of adventure has to kick in. There is already a community of climbers forming at the gym and people are making friends and encouraging one another.

Why would someone jump into a new sport like rock climbing? Perhaps it is the mental focus, attention to the task at hand and sense of accomplishment that draws people to the sport.

When gripping your way through difficult and strenuous technical routes, your mind is clear and in the present moment.

When you are clinging to one hold and flexing and stretching for the next, your mind certainly does not drift.

You have your mental game, and you have your physical game, both are quite challenging.

Clutching tiny ledges with only fingertips while grinding out squats and pull-ups to the next hold takes all your strength and your breath away.

Rock climbing is an all-out full-body workout focusing mostly on your legs, glutes, back, shoulders, core, biceps, forearms and hands. Rock climbers are a fit and tough group of folks.

While I may not be able to help you conquer your climbing fears, there are a few exercises to help build your stamina and muscles before you step up to the climbing wall.

Remember that it’s important to always warm-up your body first with dynamic stretches or a resistant band and to cool down with long static hold stretches.

Health and fitness columnist Julie Wilson is a local ACE certified personal trainer and 200-hour yoga instructor through her company BeNShape. She previously wrote health and fitness columns for the Summit Daily News before relocating to Buena Vista and loves sharing her passion for a healthy lifestyle with others.

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