It’s easy to picture bouldering as an extreme sport. After all, we’ve grown up with the idea of a sweaty Tom Cruise stretching for his life in the infamous intro of Mission Impossible 2. But after five minutes at Brooklyn Boulders, the indoor climbing center, I understand that it’s also a recreational hobby within anyone’s reach.
“In the summer, the sun can be hard on you and you get all sweaty and tend to slip. Fall weather is crisp and perfect, and all my boulder people are making roadtrips for the best spots in North America. Most popular outdoor spots are Little Rock City or The Gunks. I just went a few weeks ago.”
This was Pieter Cooper, the 32 year old instructor, giving us a tour of the installations.
He pointed out at section in the back with caution tapes blocking access like a crime scene. Other instructors were drilling out climbing stones to modify pathways. They do this every 7 weeks to make sure new challenges arise for regular members.
On the other side of the gym, I am chilling with a bunch of cool cool dudes, cheering for their pal as he reached the last stone. The sun-drenched walls and crash mats make it the ideal spot to spend an afternoon indoors on a cold winter day.
“This sport requires training of your gripping abilities. Fingers and hands can learn to master smaller and smaller keys. Before you climb, you must also map out your way and try to follow the line.”
Difficulty levels of the grips are identified with coloured tapes along the path, so many climbing routes are overlapping. You’ll find inclined walls and cavern-shaped sections to imitate real world terrain. Of course, I gave it a shot but I was more comfortable with my acrobatic skills back on the ground.
You can find Brooklyn Boulders on 575 Degraw Street in Brooklyn.
Rates range from daily pass to full-time membership and all climbing gear can be rented on-site.