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Dear Diary: The Front Climbing Gym … Week 1 of 4

April 12, 2009

front-wall-copyThe Front: Climbing Gym,  Salt Lake City, UT

unknown-insane-climberUnknown, Insane, Climber;  We will find out her name in a later post.

(Chad) Dear Diary, ugh, I mean Journal:

To be honest, when I first pulled up to The Front, I was unsure if I was pulling up to a climbing gym or a used Subaru Wagon dealership.  The automobiles that The Front’s members choose to drive are extremely telling of, not only who their members are but, the kind of operation The Front is.

(Click “read the rest of this entry” to check out a couple of first time climbers’ take on The Front.  We encourage anybody who has been to The Front to provide their experiences in the comments section.)

The wagons parked out front indicate a driver that is both environmentally conscious, and strongly connected to the outdoors.  This assumption is further confirmed by the various racks and outdoor gear that is visible to passersby, since most of the wagon’s beds are stuffed to the roof with packs, ski’s, snowshoes, and more.

The Front is the Subaru Wagon of climbing gyms; they are environmentally savvy- and they devote themselves to the outdoors-albeit indoors.   The Front takes simple, important, steps to protect our environment from providing waterless urinals, to paying extra to off-set 100% of the energy they use by paying for the generation of clean, natural, wind-energy.

It was refreshing to see a local company taking such great strides to cater to their customer’s.  In addition to the insane climbing wall they offer a cardio gym, a weight lifting gym, Yoga, Pilates, and Pole dancing classes, a pool table, ping pong table, a landscaped yard for dog-owners to safely stash their pups as they partake in all The Front has to offer, and a down-to-Earth, courteous staff.

chad-climb-week-1

My advice to first-timers?  Go strong, go hard, and have a blast!!!  Your first time can be intimidating with so many excellent climbers, and you may feel embarrassed as they will likely watch you fail on some easy routes, but The Front’s member’s are un-judging, and they will likely offer encouragement, and tips.

I also advise to keep an eye on the clock as it is easy to feel at home and lose track of time, I only mention this as it may prevent an argument I had over a missed dinner with my significant other.

(Noel) Dear Diary:

It’s interesting when I endeavor to push myself physically in a new area; muscles are employed that I didn’t know I had, my balance is challenged, I have to bend and stretch my mind to the task, and often I have to contort my limbs, neck, torso, and digits to accomplish the task.

noel-climb-week-1With all our majestic mountains and cliffs, rock climbing for a native Utahn probably shouldn’t be a novel experience but it was for me.  And indoor rock climbing at The Front Climbing Gym is a great place to start…or finish…whichever.

The Front has a pretty serious setup and a pretty friendly and amiable attitude.  The wall is impressive and formidable to the point of daunting for a newcomer.  But you watch and learn, and watch and learn, until you get to the point where you climb and you learn, and you climb and you learn.  After all, the best way to learn how to do something is by doing it.  So I hucked myself at the wall, hung on, shot my gaze toward the ceiling, and hoped my body followed suit.

The setup at The Front is not hard to get used to thanks to the colored tape they use to mark specific climbing problems.  The arrow at the top is your goal and the arrow with tape of the same color at the bottom is your kick-off point.  A yellow dot on the arrow indicates the easiest type of problem so that’s where I hucked myself and looked up.  Succes and failure ensued; thrill at reaching the top and disappointment as I’m scratching my head, sitting on the padded mat at the bottom of the wall after taking a fall.  And always throbbing forearms; I’m starting to feel like Popeye.  I gotta eat more spinach!

I did notice some interesting things:  1-Kids could do some of these climbs and seemed elated with it, 2-skinny looking guys were doing some pretty rad and difficult climbing problems, 3-there are a lot of amazing women climbers who do some ultra hard climbing problems, 4-some of these climbing problems are easier than I thought but others are much, much more difficult than I thought, 5- I thought indoor climbing would be fun be I didn’t realize it would be REALLY fun.  How challenging it is really contributes to the thrill when you get it.

For more information on The Front, or how to obtain a membership, check out The Front at http://www.frontslc.com/.

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