Dan points out the route for me on the boulder.
A climbing gym opened up a little over a month ago on Oahu. It’s called Volcanic Rock Gym and it’s got the only indoor climbing on the island. With no prior experience at other gyms, I have nothing to compare this place to. But, what I’ll say is that it’s super fun and a great workout.
I’m a complete newbie at climbing. I’ve climbed a bit on hikes and maybe once at a summer camp when I was a kid but this stuff is different. It’s not just about getting to the top. It’s about getting to the top using a predefined route. And, it’s about moving from hold to hold on that route as cleanly as possible.
In the photo above, what we’re doing is bouldering. So, instead of climbing up a mountain, you climb up and around a huge rock. See the colored tape on each hold? That’s the route. You pick a color and from then on, your feet and hands can only touch holds marked with that color. Using this system, the guys at Volcanic can create routes for novices and experts on the same wall. The more difficult routes have smaller holds that are spread far apart. If you’re really strong you can get very good at this.
What I like about bouldering is it’s not just physical. Each route is like a puzzle. In fact, routes are called “problems.” You gotta figure out where your feet and hands go each step of the way. Sometimes you get stumped and you might think “there’s no way I can reach that hold without falling,” or “I’m not gonna be able to hang on to that hold with just my fingers.” And sometimes you can’t. But, if you do figure it out and get to the top, you’re stoked. After just two times going, I’m hooked on this sport. (See more pics of Volcanic after the jump.)
Justin on the boulder.
Dan also showed us a game called “Add On.” Instead of following the tapes, you make up your own route. Each person adds on two hand holds each turn. If you fall trying to follow the route, you be out.
Dan and Kim on the top-rope wall.
Volcanic also has a wall for top-roping. That is climbing with a rope attached to your harness. This wall is fun because some of the routes require some power moves.
Dan trying to get up on the side of the boulder.
So here’s an example of route that stumped us. We were all able to get from under the boulder to the face, but from there, we couldn’t get our legs up. I have a feeling it’s like a math problem. There must be a simple solution, we just haven’t figured it out.
Kim creating a crazy route during a game of “Add On.”
For those of you on the mainland, I hear that there’s climbing gyms all over the place. I know some of you are already into it. But if you’ve never tried it, check out some of these videos on YouTube. So ninja.