So, you want to take your kids hiking, bouldering or perhaps rock climbing? Well, you may have already found that that they’re truly natural climbers. But, are they ready for the next level? The real deal? On a smaller scale of course! If you’re still wondering, then keep reading!
Do you remember rearranging or even dismantling your parents living room furniture to create an indoor adventure course? Can you remember scaling a light pole positioned next to a two story building just to hang out on the roof and glare at the cityscape as the sun was setting? Okay that was me. If you’re still reading, I’m willing to bet your parents were probably pulling you off every large object that was in your reach. Now you want to introduce some of your favorite outdoor adventure sports to your children!
Outdoor Sports; Indoor Style
Hopefully, this post will help you introduce the outdoor life to the family. But, let’s start indoors first! You’ll find that it’s a little safer. The location may be slightly more convenient. You’ll have access to advice from coaches and experienced experts. You’ll also be around others who are using the facility for the same purpose. This is an opportunity for you and your kids to learn from others who are at the same level. I’m talking about indoor climbing gyms. We’re going to discuss some of the basic, but essential necessities that you’ll need in the gym, hiking the trails and bouldering up a mountain path.
Let’s start with the basics, the essentials:
Bring water and snacks. There’s a good chance the indoor climbing facility you choose will offer both, but bring both. A simple water bottle and granola bars will do!
Before you go, make sure that everyone climbing is dressed appropriately. You’ll probably break a sweat shortly after the first climb. So will the kids. Most likely, the temperature in the gym will be controlled. Bring a variety of clothing and use your best judgement. A day pack is a perfect way to carry clothing and snacks.
Start with a 10 minute Warm up! Adults; do some laps around the gym. Kids; do some jumping jacks, or some laps with your parents! Just a few though. You’ll want to conserve energy for the wall.
Stretch upper and lower body muscles. Truthfully, beginner Yoga is perfect. If you’re not a Yogi, some basic stretches will do. Try to keep it fun and easy. Finally, keep it to ten minutes or less. Here are a few examples of easy stretches.
Place one foot forward and drop into a lunge, by bending your front knee. Keep your back leg straight as you slowly lower your torso to the ground. Finally, slowly straighten your front leg and slowly reach towards your front foot. Repeat with the other side.
Standing Side Stretch:
Stand straight and place your hands together above your head. Arms straight. Lean to the left. Lean to the right.
Anterior Shoulder Stretch:
Reach your right arm straight out in front of you. Take your opposite hand (left hand) and place it on your right elbow from underneath. Gently pull your right arm across your chest, keeping it straight. Repeat with the left arm extended.
Extend your right hand out parallel to the ground. Place your right hand on a wall or poll. Gently take a step forward and toward the wall or poll. You should feel the stretch in your right shoulder. Repeat with your left shoulder by extending your left hand out parallel to the ground. Place your left hand on the wall or a poll and follow same steps.
Extend your right arm straight up into the air. Bend at the elbow and reach for your opposite shoulder behind your head. Place your left hand and place it on your right elbow. Gently pull your back behind your head, towards your left shoulder. Repeat with the left hand extended straight into the air.
You’re now ready to tackle the wall. The instructors at the gym should be willing to assist you and the kids with getting into the harnesses and attaching your harness to the ropes. Most gyms will have auto belays, so you won’t have to worry about attending a belay class. The gym should provide climbing shoes as well. Don’t forget the chalk for your hands. Gripping the pegs can be difficult with sweaty palms and fingers. Just a small amount will do.
You may find that the climbing pegs on the wall are an assortment of different colors. These colors usually represent different levels of climbing difficulty. Of course, you’ll want the kids to stick with the less difficult colored pegs, as they ascend up the wall. The instructors at the gym should be willing to assist with deciding which color to stick with as you ascend the wall. An entire day of fun should cost about $20 per person. The fee should include the shoes, harness, chalk, help and advice.
Check you progress
So, how’s it going? If you’re getting the big thumbs up from the kids, we’ll talk about transitioning to the great outdoors in the next post! It will be titled, “Bouldering with the kids” and will part of the “Off the Las Vegas Strip” series. If the response is thumbs down, then please come back to the post and leave your feedback.
Here are some final tips! Stay local at first. Start with the indoor climbing gym and then move to an outdoor location that is close to home. Things may not go as planned. You can return home if the family isn’t having the time of their lives. Keep it short. Work your way up to the all day bouldering adventure. Keep it safe. Slowly increase the challenge. You’ve heard the saying, “it’s all fun and games until someone get hurt”. Finally keep it fun! That’s what this is all about.
Off the Las Vegas Strip
If you’re in the Las Vegas area and looking for an indoor climbing gym, uber over to Origin Climbing and Fitness. Visit their website for more information. One day of fun should cost you around $20 per person. Here’s a links to my favorite local climbing gym: