Climbing gyms are generally converted warehouses with high ceilings and walls built-out into irregular formations. Scattered all over the walls will be knobby protrusions of various sizes that are used as handholds. Sections will be divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced difficulties, and will have colored tape marking the different routes to the top.
The two types of climbing are top rope, where you are secured to a rope for protection against falls, and bouldering, where you climb along the wall at very low heights so that no rope is needed. You will probably receive basic instruction while bouldering and then move on to top rope. Before trying to scale the high walls, new climbers will begin with instruction on how to belay, which means to secure the rope being used to protect your partner against falls. You will then be shown various ways to use both hands and feet to progress up increasingly difficult sections of the wall. When you both feel comfortable, you will have the freedom to try whichever routes you want, taking turns belaying for each other while the other one climbs. Most climbing gyms will have a number of different easy, intermediate, and difficult routes, see how far you can progress!
If one of you has climbed before, this will be a great chance for your date to experience something new without having to join a class. Just make sure you don't push them too hard, which can make the date go from fun to miserable in a hurry. Climbing is physically demanding so watch for signs of fatigue and frustration from your date. If you sense either of these things try to break it up with an easier route, a water break, or move on to some light bouldering. Any more than 45 minutes to an hour for first-timers is pushing it.
I wouldn't recommend going to lunch before climbing because the strenuous activity can make you feel a little sick. Besides, after climbing you’ll have plenty to talk about and an appetite to match. Also, you will both be a little sweaty and grimy after climbing, which can make lunch uncomfortable. Throw a few light towels into your bag and after you’re finished, dampen them to wipe down your faces, necks, arms, and legs. This will help more than you think!
A brief overview of bouldering:
A couple does a mixture of climbs and bouldering, provides a good look at a standard climbing gym:
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TOP DATE IDEAS
Cost$10-$15 entry fee
$5-$6 equipment rental
$25-$30/person for lessons (equipment and entry fee generally included)
LinksJulie and Zane try rock climbing
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