It’s a rainy day. You’re tired of watching the same mindless dribble on T.V. All your Facebook friends are reporting about the same ole thing. Another scroll through the apps on your phone to keep you occupied drives you a quarter inch to the left of insane. What are your options?
If you live in Charlotte, NC., you can drop the phone, turn off the tube, and drive over to Inner Peaks Indoor Climbing Center.
Inner Peaks has been in operation since 1998. After 13 years they remain the only locally owned indoor climbing facility in the Charlotte area.
Owner Doug Cosby started the facility to spread the love of climbing in the area. Since Charlotte is in such close proximity to the mountains, Inner Peaks serves as a perfect spot for enthusiasts to hone their skills, and a novice like me to spend the better part of an afternoon.
Inside “the gym” there is over 13,00 square feet of climbing wall space. I know it doesn’t look like it from the picture above, but behind the counter, the space opens up into a huge area with 50 different rope stations.
Safety First: Training
After we signed our waivers, Nate, the manager took us around to a T.V. and popped in a 10 minute DVD. We learned the names of all the equipment and how to properly use them.
After the DVD, Nate came back and reviewed all the terms, and procedures with us. We strapped on our harnesses, and went through a practice session. What made this experience the most fun was that we were both involved in the process. If one of us was climbing, the belayer (ground person) was in charge of taking slack out of the rope to help the climber advance. Without the help of the belayer, you have to climb back down or your stuck. This can be fun, when your playing with your brother.
The gym has dozens of courses up the wall to keep customers busy for hours on end or until your muscles start to spasm. Believe it or not, most of the strength required to propel you upwards is in your legs. After riding my bicycle from the coast I was up these bad boys like Spiderman.
When you start getting onto more difficult courses, you’ll need superior upper body and finger strength. To get you prepared for these more intermediate to advanced climbs there is an entire station to the side that is dedicated to strengthening your digits. I played on this part for about 2 minutes before I felt my fingers were going to fall off.
Many of the climbing stations have quirky names that the team has posted on each of them. They range in difficulty up to a 5.12. 5.15 is the most advanced rating for a climb and according to our host, Nate, there are only about 3 people in the U.S. that can tackle such a climb successfully, so there’s obviously no need for any course with a rating that high in the gym.
Inner Peace Yoga
Also located in the gym is a yoga studio. The classroom can comfortably hold 30-40 people, but the classes are kept small (around 15-20) to ensure that practicing yogi’s are well relaxed and centered for their stretching sessions. Having climbed for close to 2 hours, I can see where stretching would be a big benefit, both both before and/or after a day of climbing.
Free Weights and Exercise Equipment
There’s also an upstairs workout area that has elliptical machines, free weights, and a maddening number of medicine balls to work out your legs, core and upper body.
Something For Everyone
You don’t have to be an experienced climber to have fun at Inner Peaks. This is only the third time I have done a climbing wall and honestly this was the most fun. The first time I tried this was at a carnival in Oriental. There was a mobile climbing station set up and I was hooked into a carabiner that is attached to a pulley system at the top. If you fall, your weight counteracts the fall and slowly lowers you to the ground.
The second time I tried this was with my brother at the Charlotte White Water Rafting Center. Same pulley system there, but there are multiple course, all with various degress of difficulty.
My brother went with me today and this was the best time we have had climbing. The best part was having both us involved in the climb. With my bother with me, I know I had my butt covered. Unfortunately, he busted me twice checking out the two cute girls shuffling up the wall beside us. Oops!
This is a great place for a team building day with your co-workers, a day away from the house with the guys, a date night (they are open until 10pm), or even a birthday party for kids.
For the kids they offer special birthday party rates. Kids as young as 5 years old can bring their friends here and have personalized training geared toward a younger audience that promises to be both entertaining and life enriching. I truly believe that children should be exposed to as much activity as possible at a young age to help broaden their horizons and help them decide what direction in life they want to take. It also teaches them valuable practice with teamwork and responsibility.
For people that are serious about climbing there are frequent competitions that are held at the center. Today, they were setting the courses for this weekend. USAC qualified personnel set the course for the events and wait for the action to unfold as people from all over the area come in to compete and show off their climbing skills.
Members Get Ridiculous Benefits
My brother and I were blown away when Nate told us that the monthly membership of $55 includes all the climbing and yoga you can do and access to the workout area. Members also get 10% discounts on gear purchases and if you’re not sure that you’re going to go further than the indoor center, you get free use of rental gear.
William, my brother told me he was paying $90 plus dollar a month, just for a gym when he lived in Baltimore, MD.
This place is off the hook. I loved it. I can see myself getting into climbing now. Best experience I have had so far. Thanks to the team at Inner peaks.
A big ole Flying Chest Bump from Globetrekkin’!
As always, I have linked all the photos to the website. You can also check them out on Facebook.