27 January 2006

Calling all spidergirls and boys: REI has a climbing wall

Michael was happily surprised when his five year-old daughter scaled the climbing wall at REI:

We recently went to our local REI sporting goods store, where my 5-year-old discovered the freestanding indoor climbing wall. I told her what it was, and immediately she wanted to try it. I didn't think that they would even LET a 5 year-old child climb, but they were more than willing to allow her. So up she went. And she made it almost to the top. what an amazing experience, and an amazing opportunity for a kid to really show her stuff, get over fears, impress her family and have fun all at the same time. And for free, too!

Our local REI has a great climbing wall, but I don't think it's free, even for kids. I'll have to check again, now that I've heard this great story (and seen the adorable pic of the proud little climber Michael posted on his blog).

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REI's climbing walls are free if you're an REI member, and generally about $5 if you're not. HTH!

Update on this. We went a second time, and she made it the whole way!

See http://2littlegirls.blogspot.com/2006/01/ascension-revisited_21.html

When I was taking a climbing course I watched a 7 year old girl climb 65 feet up the lead wall. The lead wall is angled out so you are always climbing an overhang.

My girls are three and I've already started gathering the bits necessary to build a little bouldering wall in the backyard for them. It will be built using a book on building climbing walls and will include input from a family friend who is a structural engineer.

My former local recreation center (Buchanan Park Recreation Center in Evergreen, CO) allows 4-year-olds to climb and offers weekly climbing lessons for 4-6 year olds.

My five-year-old loves climbing there when we visit family in the area. She hasn't been on the pinnacle at the Denver REI flagship store yet.

Check out other sporting goods stores also! The Galyans (now Dick's) in Kansas City has a free climbing wall as well, with two routes for different skill levels. Quite popular on weekends, so it's best to go during the week.

Ooooh! That is just what my little climber needs. What a wonderful idea. I'm already resigned to most of her climbing, deciding that the rocking chair is still better than the bookshelves. And yes, I do realize that a rocking chair isn't ideal. So now, time to find a climbing wall nearby. I'm already an REI member, but have yet to see a wall in one of their stores here...

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