By Flannery Keck
As I strapped into my harness and chalked up my hands at Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness Center, I have to admit—I was quaking at the end of my carabiner. (That’s the fancy climbing clip, for those of you who haven’t made your first foray into indoor rock climbing.) The intimidation factor didn’t last long, thanks to Stone Summit’s helpful, supportive staff at their Atlanta location. A day-pass price of $18 includes equipment rental, so they handed me a harness and a pair of climbing shoes. After I and a few other newbies got our gear in place and filled out liability waivers, we were given a thorough safety talk and were ready to jump in—well, on.
The upstairs section of the gym offers easy 5.6- or 5.7-level climbing routes with an automatic belay from above, making it a great place to start. The rope stays taut, helping you feel secure as you climb up, and the upstairs walls are only about 25 feet high. After a few confidence-building runs up these, I heard the gym’s main section calling my name.
A more experienced friend who had passed the belay test agreed to hold my rope and cheer me on from below as I tackled a much taller 5.7 climb. By keeping my eyes on the various hand and footholds rather than the distant floor, I made it to the top in a matter of minutes, exhilarated. The only real physical challenge was in my legs and fingers—meaning you don’t have to be Superwoman to succeed at this workout—and the adrenaline from the height made it my most exciting gym visit in months. Even if rock climbing isn’t for you, the gym’s fun atmosphere, yoga and Pilates classes and cardio machines make it a great place for whatever workout you choose.
Details: 3701 Presidential Parkway, Atlanta, GA, (678) 720-9882, ssclimbing.com