Climbing has become one of the preferred recreational activities of adventure seekers. In fact, a 2010 study from The Outdoor Foundation revealed that more than 6.1 million enthusiasts in the United States alone favor climbing activities such as mountaineering, indoor climbing, bouldering, and traditional climbing.
However, the same study revealed that the sport is losing participants from specific age brackets. For instance, children participating in climbing (6-17 years old) has declined to 1.4 million, from the recorded 2.5 million participants in 2006. Likewise, the young adult demographic (18-24 years old) decreased from 993,000 climbers in 2006 to 769,000 in 2009.
To help increase these numbers, more institutions are coming up with innovative techniques to make climbing an enjoyable sport. In this article, you’ll get to find out some of these activities for you to try.
Mountain Climbing: K2
In a previous post from Ali Alami, he said the 8,366-foot Mt. Helens is a good introduction to mountaineering. But, for those who seek higher peaks, it’s time to challenge yourself with more difficult mountains such as the K2, the second tallest mountain in the world (28,253 feet).
For novice climbers, just getting to the base of the mountain is already a fun adventure. You have to drive along narrow mountain roads, with an eight-day hike and camping to get to the mountain. Because it’s in a remote area, it’s important to bring all the essentials (food, clothes, camping paraphernalia), as the nearest store is located 200 miles from the base camp.
Wall Climbing: Alice in Wonderland Climbing Wall
The Alice in Wonderland Climbing Wall in Japan topped Oddee’s 2011 list of the coolest climbing walls in the world. Inspired heavily by the popular novel, designer Nendo conceptualized the two-storey climbing wall that is made up of various baroque design elements, including mirrors, picture frames, flower pots, heads of deers, and cages of birds. It’s also comprised of hard to find holds, making up for a more challenging scramble. However, there are exceptional finger grips if you think the ladders are too advanced for your abilities.
Outdoor Climbing Challenge: Up at The O2
In 2012, O2 in the United Kingdom partnered with AEG to announce ‘Up at The O2.’ One of the latest attractions in the London Skyline, Up at The O2 combines exhilarating obstacles where climbers get the chance to have a 360-degree look of the city, including landmarks such as the Thames Barrier, the Olympic Park, Canary Wharf, and the Royal Greenwich. First, you need to go through the 90-minute guided expedition across The O2, through a 53-meter suspended walkway above the ground. Before climbing, visitors go through a series of briefing, where they’ll be kitted up with climbing suits, safety harnesses, and shoes. The same report also said challenges are appropriate for children aged 10 and above.
Rock Climbing: Red River Gorge
Apart from kayaking and rappelling, the main attraction of the Red River Gorge is its amazing rock climbing terrains. It offers the best climbing experience, where popular companies such as climbing gear firm Petzl conduct its Roctrip Festival in 2007. The event drew climbing enthusiasts worldwide and to its hometown, Kentucky.
Hikers will also be able to enjoy the Red. Hikes being offered can be a simple five-minute climb to serious back-country packages. Reaching the Natural Bridge is done in three ways: by walking, through a sky lift ride, and through a multi-hour trail hike. Before hiking, remember that trail maps are being sold in Slade, a town which you will pass through before reading Red River Gorge.
Bouldering is a type of rock climbing that doesn’t allow you to use ropes or harnesses. In California, the small town of Bishop is known for its bouldering spots, with its topographical location like the lower Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
There are three main bouldering areas in Bishop, namely Buttermilk Country, Happy Boulders, and Sad Boulders. Depending on your preferences, these three spots offer a varied climbing experience, characterized by pocket volcanic boulders and highball granite stones. Buttermilk Country features a selection of boulders called eggs, namely Jedi Mind Tricks, A Birthing Experience, and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. For the Happy and Sad Boulders, both offer canyons with interesting, easy, and difficult routes.
Arguably, climbing has become a good way to release stress and anxiety, especially with the abundance of activities that go with it. With the destinations we’ve mentioned, it can be said there would be another increase in the number of climbers.
Images courtesy of Nelson Toledo via flickr
Bernhard Thum via flickr
BRUISES FOR PARTIES via flicker