Rock climbing

Indoor Rock Climbing on Long Island: What You Need to Know

When Amy Kappel, a 23-year-old paralegal, signed up for an indoor rock climbing course about four months ago, she thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“It was on my list of sports that I wanted to try,” says Kappel, who once ran and danced to stay in shape. But since hitting the climbing wall at Island Rock, a Plainview facility, she’s been back there at least a dozen times.

She has no intention of stopping. In September, she bought her own climbing gear and feels part of a community. “Climbing is very difficult and very addictive,” she says.

Many others agree. Local gyms that offer indoor climbing – either exclusively or as part of its general menu of activities – report that interest from beginners and more experienced climbers is on the rise.

Rock climbing is physically and mentally challenging for all ages and body types, and that’s part of the appeal, according to industry insiders. The fact that the sport was introduced at the Tokyo Olympics last year gave it a leg up on the world stage.

“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, that’s like something that’s a real fun activity,’ says Liam Bello, 30, shift manager and head coach of the youth climbing team at Gravity Vault. , a gym in Melville. “So now they’re looking to give it a try. Whenever you’re looking to learn something new,” he adds, “you always want to get instruction and work with someone. one who knows more than you.

In addition to being rain and sun proof, indoor climbing gyms offer different versions of the sport. Some use ropes, some don’t — they all carry risks. Facilities require you to sign a waiver before climbing.

For bouldering or ropeless climbing, you’re relatively low to the ground and surrounded by crash pads if you fall. In top roping, climbers climb color-coded routes of varying degrees of difficulty with the rope already through an anchor at the top of the wall.

“Climbing is definitely an emerging industry,” says Ross Slotnick, 30, general manager and vice president of Island Rock. “Things are certainly rocking.”

Part of this is due to necessity. Outdoor climbing options are limited on Long Island, he says. “Geographically speaking, the area is not ideal for climbing.”

Denise DeLiberti, 62, a retired teacher from Seaford, has been rock climbing for about a year and she has stronger forearms and grip strength to prove it. There were other high gains.

One is an invigorating burst of nostalgia. “I loved climbing trees growing up in Levittown,” DeLiberti says. “It was one of my favorite things to do.” Maples and oaks gave way to rock faces (sometimes, actual cliffs out of town) for a similar rush.

The other is a community buzz. “Climbing is just a very supportive community,” she says. “Everyone is always cheering and cheering on each other. I really like that part.

Paul Dlug, 41, a software development manager for a telehealth company, has about a decade of climbing experience under his belt. He co-founded a climbing meetup group, Climb On! Long Island, which has over 3,200 members. They meet weekly at Island Rock.

“The sport has grown like crazy,” says Dlug. “The perception is that climbers are risk takers, but that’s not the case for most people in my experience. It’s about the challenge and the exploration of personal limits. There is a lot of problems to solve in climbing,” continues Dlug. “You learn something new and you grow every time you climb, and that’s something very satisfying.”

Kappel, a climb! The hon. member supports this idea. “I remember the first time I went there,” she says. “I walked out and was exhausted. My arms were shaking. I was like, ‘I can never do this road.’

Over time, she mastered it, pushed by other climbers. “I found that you can get pretty good pretty quickly,” she says. Conclusion: it sucks.

Clubs offer rope and unroped climbing for different age groups and experience levels.

island rock is a 26-year-old state-of-the-art climbing facility; 60 Skyline Dr., Plainview, 516-822-7625, islandrock.com. The quick start package includes the lesson, day pass, harness and shoe rental for $48. The adult day pass is $22.

gravity vault is a specialist climbing facility for both novice and experienced climbers; 40 Melville Park Road, Melville, 516-777-9255, gravityvault.com. Private session for one or two climbers, $65. Adult day pass, $28.

Syosset for life is a fitness club with a rock wall for climbing; 350 Robbins Ln., Syosset, 516-822-1777, life.life. The $50 day pass includes access to the entire club, including the rock face.

When Amy Kappel, a 23-year-old paralegal, signed up for an indoor rock climbing course about four months ago, she thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“It was on my list of sports that I wanted to try,” says Kappel, who once ran and danced to stay in shape. But since hitting the climbing wall at Island Rock, a Plainview facility, she’s been back there at least a dozen times.

She has no intention of stopping. In September, she bought her own climbing gear and feels part of a community. “Climbing is very difficult and very addictive,” she says.

Many others agree. Local gyms that offer indoor climbing – either exclusively or as part of its general menu of activities – report that interest from beginners and more experienced climbers is on the rise.

Get ready for rock climbing

Climbing facilities supply and sell equipment for the sport. Climbers also recommend REI stores and online retailers. Here are the essentials you will need:

For rope climbing:

  • Climbing shoes designed to grip

  • Harness to connect a climber to the wall

  • Chalk bag to keep hands dry

For the block:

  • Climbing shoes

  • chalk bag

Rock climbing is physically and mentally challenging for all ages and body types, and that’s part of the appeal, according to industry insiders. The fact that the sport was introduced at the Tokyo Olympics last year gave it a leg up on the world stage.

TO KNOW BEFORE BOARDING

“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, that’s like something that’s a real fun activity,’ says Liam Bello, 30, shift manager and head coach of the youth climbing team at Gravity Vault. , a gym in Melville. “So now they’re looking to give it a try. Whenever you’re looking to learn something new,” he adds, “you always want to get instruction and work with someone. one who knows more than you.

Head coach Liam Bello, left, assists TJ Barley, of Lindenhurst, right, as he scales a rock face at the Gravity Vault in Melville, Tuesday September 27, 2022. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

In addition to being rain and sun proof, indoor climbing gyms offer different versions of the sport. Some use ropes, some don’t — they all carry risks. Facilities require you to sign a waiver before climbing.

For bouldering or ropeless climbing, you’re relatively low to the ground and surrounded by crash pads if you fall. In top roping, climbers climb color-coded routes of varying degrees of difficulty with the rope already through an anchor at the top of the wall.

“Climbing is definitely an emerging industry,” says Ross Slotnick, 30, general manager and vice president of Island Rock. “Things are certainly rocking.”

Part of this is due to necessity. Outdoor climbing options are limited on Long Island, he says. “Geographically speaking, the area is not ideal for climbing.”

CONNECT AT HEIGHT

Denise DeLiberti, 62, a retired teacher from Seaford, has been rock climbing for about a year and she has stronger forearms and grip strength to prove it. There were other high gains.

One is an invigorating burst of nostalgia. “I loved climbing trees growing up in Levittown,” DeLiberti says. “It was one of my favorite things to do.” Maples and oaks gave way to rock faces (sometimes, actual cliffs out of town) for a similar rush.

The other is a community buzz. “Climbing is just a very supportive community,” she says. “Everyone is always cheering and cheering on each other. I really like that part.

Paul Dlug, 41, a software development manager for a telehealth company, has about a decade of climbing experience under his belt. He co-founded a climbing meetup group, Climb On! Long Island, which has over 3,200 members. They meet weekly at Island Rock.

Stony Brook's Katie Chiu scales the rock face at...

Katie Chiu of Stony Brook scales the rock face at Island Rock in Plainview on Thursday September 29, 2022. Credit: Morgan Campbell

“The sport has grown like crazy,” says Dlug. “The perception is that climbers are risk takers, but that’s not the case for most people in my experience. It’s about the challenge and the exploration of personal limits. There is a lot of problems to solve in climbing,” continues Dlug. “You learn something new and you grow every time you climb, and that’s something very satisfying.”

Kappel, a climb! The hon. member supports this idea. “I remember the first time I went there,” she says. “I walked out and was exhausted. My arms were shaking. I was like, ‘I can never do this road.’

Over time, she mastered it, pushed by other climbers. “I found that you can get pretty good pretty quickly,” she says. Conclusion: it sucks.

WHERE TO CLIMB INSIDE

Clubs offer rope and unroped climbing for different age groups and experience levels.

island rock is a 26-year-old state-of-the-art climbing facility; 60 Skyline Dr., Plainview, 516-822-7625, islandrock.com. The quick start package includes the lesson, day pass, harness and shoe rental for $48. The adult day pass is $22.

gravity vault is a specialist climbing facility for both novice and experienced climbers; 40 Melville Park Road, Melville, 516-777-9255, gravityvault.com. Private session for one or two climbers, $65. Adult day pass, $28.

Syosset for life is a fitness club with a rock wall for climbing; 350 Robbins Ln., Syosset, 516-822-1777, life.life. The $50 day pass includes access to the entire club, including the rock face.