Climbing for fun and sport.
Photo by Scott Holstein
Brian Huang peers down to say hello before he continues up the wall above with just one foot and hand balancing his entire body.
As I walk into an open warehouse, three teenagers are hanging around — literally — clinging to a vertical wall.
They’re at Tallahassee Rock Gym, located in Railroad Square. With the blast of cool air from fans, Kayla and Aren Hendrickson are climbing too far away for formal introductions, but Brian Huang peers down to say hello before he continues to contort his body into a position that allows him to hang from the wall above, just one foot and hand balancing his entire body.
These three climbers are regulars at the Rock Gym, but for very different reasons. Brian is a member of Team Tally, a youth rock climbing team that competes throughout the Southeast. The sisters have grown up with the sport and enjoy it as a family. While the gym is their social hangout, they also have been members of Climb-4-Fun, a recreational team for youngsters ages 8–14.
Climbing has given each the opportunity to experience indoor courses as well as the most beautiful mountains throughout the United States. All eagerly agree climbing has given them a social outlet to belong to a community of climbers that reaches far beyond their friends and family in Tallahassee.
While most might consider reaching the top of a vertical wall as merely a physical challenge, the teens see an additional benefit. Climbing, they say, teaches them how to, when faced with a problem, look at it as a puzzle to solve, and then figure out the best solution to solve it while achieving their goal.
Tallahassee Rock Gym offers an introductory package including a beginners class and equipment for $20. Memberships and group classes are also available. For complete information about teams, operating hours and prices, visit tallyrockgym.com.