Before setting out to climb outdoors, whether it’s locally or nationally, Bill McLemore recommends people try climbing at an indoor facility first.
“Come take a lesson, and learn what you’re doing,” he said.
McLemore, who works at Red Rock Climbing Center, 8201 W. Charleston Blvd., said there has been an explosion of interest in rock climbing since the ’90s.
“It used to be if you wanted to learn, you’d have to find a mentor or risk your life trying,” he said. “Now, you can learn inside before you go outside.”
Since then, there have been gyms opened to accommodate people who want to learn in a safe environment.
Las Vegas boasts a few. Red Rock Climbing Center has been around since 1994.
“We have over 8,000 square feet of climbing,” McLemore said.
For beginners, there are climbing walls and bouldering stations — which don’t require ropes — to help people learn foot placement and develop arm strength.
“We have an auto-belaying station,” McLemore said — belaying is a technique that allows the climbing rope to be secured so it arrests a climber’s fall if he loses his grip. He added that usually, facilities require climbers to have two people for belaying to work. “This allows you to climb certain walls without a partner,” he said.
People can choose to drop in for a one-time session. Rates are $15 for adults and $10 for 11 or younger. Gear rental is extra.
If they are interested in taking up the hobby in a more serious fashion, McLemore said there are introduction courses at the gym. He recommends people trying five classes to determine if it’s the sport for them. Even if people are afraid of heights, McLemore said they should give it a try. As climbers progress, they can also buy personal training sessions.
“Most people, even climbers, are afraid of heights,” he said. “The more people do it, the more desensitized they become to it.”
Red Rock Climbing Center is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
For more information, visit redrockclimbingcenter.com.
Nevada Climbing Centers, 3065 E. Patrick Lane, offers more indoor options to valley residents.
Lisa Capistrant, the gym’s owner, said the facility, which has been open since 1997, has recently gone through some updates.
“We’ve replaced all our harnesses, ropes and shoes,” she said.
The gym has expanded its bouldering station and added more climbing space. It also built a massage room for after climbs. There are 27 walls for rope climbing, and it also features an auto-belay system.
“They have different difficulty levels,” she said.
Even though it is open to climbers of various skill sets, Capistrant said the gym is made for a beginner. As people progress in their fitness level, they can challenge themselves through a series of color patterns on the wall that offer more difficult climbing paths.
Capistrant said there are Meetup groups that come to the gym throughout the week, which would give people a good chance to learn the sport in a group setting.
Rates are $12 Mondays through Fridays and $14 weekends. Gear rental is $8. The center also has monthly memberships for $50.
Nevada Climbing Centers is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit nvclimbing.com.
Other places that offer rock climbing walls include:
Life Time Fitness, 10721 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-228-2611; the Whitney Recreation Center, 5712 Missouri Ave., 702-455-7576; and Sport Center of Las Vegas, 121 E. Sunset Road, 702-317-7777.
Contact reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201.