The Challenge: Climb to the Top


Rock climbing is a fun way to exercise and spend time with friends. (Janet Jensen/Tacoma News-Tribune/MCT)

Brooklyn Boulders, located on 575 Degraw St., Brooklyn, New York, is an indoor rock climbing and bouldering gym. Best done in a group of two or more, rock climbing is a great way to spend time with friends and get an amazing full-body workout. Rock climbing and bouldering are open to anyone willing to take the challenge, but there is a difference between the two. Anyone can rock climb on top roping walls, but only those who have been belay certified at Brooklyn Boulders can belay on top rope. To belay is to secure the climber’s safety by means of the climber’s harness and the top rope. Bouldering does not require a harness or a person certified to belay; it is free climbing.

Brooklyn Boulder’s walls are dedicated to replicating various mountainous scenarios, making it a gym unlike any other. Every segment of each wall has different vertical angles and various difficulty levels to ensure a constant flow of new challenges. The difficulty level is labeled by a number, and the path to climb is coded in color. Labeling is generally found at the bottom of the wall. If the label number two is situated next to red, then follow the red path to perform a difficulty level of two. This label and color method applies to rock climbing and bouldering.

The greatest perk to these activities is the opportunity for friendly and engaging competition among friends. You and your friends can have races, see who can best one another or watch a friend attempt to climb. Overall, it will be fun-filled and laughter ensured day. An hour of rock climbing or bouldering quickly passes by. From the moment you start climbing, there are no other thoughts than reaching the top and smacking the red button to signify that you have overcome a difficult challenge Your forearms will tense up and your toes will grip the wall; it is very exhilarating and rigorous. But that is why rock climbing burns about 750 calories an hour. When rock climbing and bouldering are for exercising purposes, it is arguably one of the best workouts. These activities require full-body movement, so unlike weight lifting which isolates certain parts of the body, rock climbing and bouldering utilize all the muscles. Not to mention, rock climbing and bouldering are a lot more fun than lifting a few pieces of metal.

There are several actions of caution you should take before climbing. Beware of how high up you have climbed when you boulder. Since it is free climbing, you start your way up on your own and you’ll certainly end your way down the same. If you climb with a person certified to belay, I say reach for the ceiling. One issue to be aware of is both activities may cause strain to the tendons in your fingers. A great deal of pressure is placed on the fingers when climbing. The best method to deal with this is to tape your fingers with adhesive tape. In addition, be sure to have gym apparel for climbing. Gym clothing that is not baggy is greatly preferred because it is less likely to get in your way. Climbing shoes are required but, Brooklyn Boulders does provide rental shoes. Lastly, ask the front desk of Brooklyn Boulders for a bag of chalk. Chalk will keep your hands dry and afford you a better grip on the wall.

If you have not tried rock climbing or bouldering before, there is never a better time to try than the present. Bring some friends and prepare to say, “Challenge accepted.”

For more information, visit