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The words “A Powerful Community” appear above the door at Climb So iLL. At first, the climbing gym can be overwhelming. The people climbing on the bouldering wall – which looks like a giant eye, the height of the main wall, and even the lingo people are using is unfamiliar. However, you will quickly find an encouraging community of people climbing and learning together. If you decide to climb in our top rope and lead climbing areas, you will see friends chatting, belaying each other, and climbing together. Finally, in our training room, you may find fitness classes underway or dedicated athletes training and sweating together.

At its core, the climbing gym brings people together. Rock climbing can be an individual sport. You can make it as independent or as social as you like, but it can be infinitely richer to engage in this sport together, as part of a community. Further, this community extends outside of climbing. Many climbers are friends who support, encourage, and cheer each other on in all aspects of life.

If this sounds too good to be true, I can tell you from experience that it’s not. Everyone at the gym has been in your shoes. Everyone has started as a new climber and many would be happy to show you the ropes. For those of you who have been climbing for years, there are also climbers to support you and maybe even help you reach that next level. Both fresh and veteran climbers come together to share experiences, learn from each other, and discover new perspectives.

“So, how can I get plugged in?” This is the number one question students ask when I teach our top tope belay class. It can be uncomfortable – and even intimidating – to approach potential climbing partners in a new place. It’s easy for me to say, “Everyone is super friendly, so just go up and ask!” but the reality is that this approach is outside many people’s comfort zones. For that reason, we host weekly sessions to help climbers connect with people in their community.

At its core, the gym is built on a foundation of driven, compassionate, caring, and intentional people who come together to enjoy climbing and build relationships. Whether you’re a new climber who is learning the ropes, or an expert who is training for their next project, we should make an effort to forget about the grades. Let’s bring it back to the basics. Let’s climb together and build lasting connections.

Meet up with myself and other climbers every Wednesday night at Climb So iLL. During these sessions, I help new members and guests find climbing partners and build strong connections!

Sarah Hall

Author Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall is a nurse as well as instructor and staff member at Climb So iLL. She has been climbing for 7 years and teaching belay technique for 6 years. She teaches the Rope Skills 1 class and enjoys spending time with new climbers.

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