Last night I was looking at the web and I saw an indoor rock climbing center near Miramar and made it my goal for today. I have been wanting to try it for sometime.
They offer a Beginner's Belay Class each day but only have 4 slots per class. This is the required prerequisite to climb unless you are climbing on a mechanical belay. Well I should say it is a prerequisite for someone to climb as you need a trained belayer for you to climb.
I thought this would be a good thing to do with Madison and Taylor as they both like to climb. Also I was looking at doing this at the Worcester indoor climbing facility but never went.
The weather in San Diego today was rain all day, sometimes heavy and very windy. This weather backdrop provided for the opportunity to do something inside.
I arrived at Merimar Rim indoor climbing center about 9:00 to find out about the beginners program and sign up for the class at 3:00 if an opening existed.
I walked in the door and saw the vast high walls marked by colorful hand/foot holds. Some walls reversed to make for very chalenging climbs.
I was greeted at the desk by a woman more than willing to help answer all my questions. I was always courious of folks on the fire department that did climbing when we had a tech rescue team. I always thought that I didn't like heights I wouldn't like this.
I learned that it was $8.00 for the class and that I kind of needed a partner as your belay class is around someone climbing and you can't do both jobs. Climbing is not the technical stuff it is managing their lines and supporting them so they don't fall to the ground if they loose hold of the wall.
I signed my life away in a waiver of liability and then signed up for the belay class for 3:00 pm as there was no one anyone yet. They were ok to signed up without a partner as I will have to imagine managing the rope for a make believe person.
As I had all day until my class I went home and did some things with the camper to get ready for the next leg of my trip. Then I headed out to the UTC Mall to see if I could bind some new sneakers for the climb as my current Merrells were kind of dirty from the dusty trail hikes. They are still in good shape for hiking but this climb is inside and a clean environment.
I found some sneakers just what I wanted for $29.00 at sears on sale. Couldn't beat the price for quality, and although a bit loose until I get some suitable inserts they were good for today.
I headed over to the climbing center now at 2:45 arrival for my 3:00 class and checked in and paid my $8.00 and was given my harness.
I then looked around at the equipment to study it all.
Carabeaner, belay devices, and chalk bags here.
Here special shoes and harnesses.
Basic shoes at $100 if a member and Harness that is basic is $60 and the one with carabeaner and chalk bag for $100.
So for a couple hundred dollars you would not need to rent equipment.
Oh I forgot to tell you that to be certified or checked out to get your tag to belay there you need to come back after at least one day to be tested on remembering what you were tought in the class.
I was kind if aggravated that I had not done the class yesterday and then I could test today, but I have tomorrow (Saturday) to come back before I leave Sunday.
While hanging around I watched 2 woman who had taken the beginners belay class some time ago test out and intentively watched and absorbed as much as I could befor my class started in 10 minutes.
It was now time for my class and I first needed to learn the figure 8 knot as this is the Knot used for the climber. You turn it into a double figure 8 by passing the rope through the harness I am wearing and then trace the figure 8 back up through the knot to finish this off.
My next thing I learned was belaying. My class instructor was great and in one way that I was the only student as I got full attention. The bad part was I didn't have a partner still to practice my skills with.
No picture but the carabeaner hooks though the two loops that the climbing rope passed through above. Then the rope gets bent and passed through the belay device that has a metal loop and the carabeaner is used to loop both.
I needed to then learn the command terminology, hand placements, rope management and so on.
Now the instructor was determined to find someone as my partner to tryout what I was taught or better stated what I had learned.
We walked through the walled canyon of climbers and after getting turned down twice she found a willing well fit 30 something man who agreed with a wide smile.
We went to the wall and I learned that I needed to tie the climbers knot and climb the wall. I thought this was a belay class. I learned that I needed to know what it was like to be belayed.
I scaled the wall to the top hitting the rope connection at the top and repelled down. Did I just do that? Yup, and no feeling of fear. I don't generally have fear when I am holding on and know the mechanism and I tied the knot and I was in a comfort zone. That was fun!
Now to let the man climb and I belay him. I did well and pased the beginners class.
Determined to come back tomorrow to certify I was offered the opportunity to stay and rehearse what I had learned and I did just that.
Over and over again I went through each step by myself for an extra 1/2 hour. Feeling confident with my work I left to meet the girls for dinner.
Here is a YouTube video on the belay basics training. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gwka44NO3mM
I met the girls and we went to dinner and I picked up some Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fufge Chunk for desert at home.