Thanks to the team at Sportsetter, this was a week of athletic firsts for me. You’ll have to wait until next week to hear about one of my adventures, but today I’m sharing the other. I went indoor rock climbing for the first time at The Cliffs in Long Island City! This location of The Cliffs opened less than three weeks ago, and it’s unlike any other gym or facility I’ve seen. In fact, it’s the largest climbing gym in the Northeast. They offer over 30,000 sq ft of climbing terrain, 125 top rope stations, 16 ft top-out bouldering, a rappel tower, and a full traditional gym. Sound intimidating? Don’t worry, I was a total newbie. I promise after reading about my experience and seeing the pictures below, you’ll want to try it, too.
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After being fitted for a pair of shoes and a harness, the team learned how to knot a rope to the harness. It wasn’t until I started up the wall that I realized how high it would be, but the instructor was very helpful. He made suggestions about where to place my feet and reminded me when to shift my weight. Climbing is far more about pushing upward with your legs than pulling with your arms. Still, my forearms were sore from keeping such a tight grip on the nubs sticking out of the wall.
This is a bouldering wall, which I didn’t have time to try. I’d like to go back to do it. When bouldering, you aren’t attached to the rope. Don’t freak out. The wall is much lower than others, and there is a thick padding at the base. On a bouldering wall, you climb in zigzag patterns or even hanging parallel to the floor. At the top, you can climb back down or jump.
Rather than bouldering, I fit in a quick small group training session. As I said, The Cliffs offers a full traditional gym as its second floor. Our group fit in high intensity intervals using ropes, sandbags, and TRX straps. The personal training area also included circuit machines and a unique pull up wall. Here’s Sportsetter Founder Trevor Ferguson on the rope:
Finally, there’s The Highline. Definitely very different from the park in Chelsea. This Highline is a tightrope that’s over 40 ft off the ground. You get harnessed in, climb the ladder, and tiptoe your way across. I’ll admit that I chickened out. Sigh. Yet another reason to go back to The Cliffs. Who’s with me?
Video via The Cliffs