I recently began bouldering at a local gym. It gets me out of my head and into my body like nothing else I’ve known, and it’s exhilarating!
I hate working out, but this feels more like a delightful activity than exercise. Everyone is encouraging, regardless of your level, and sending a route I’ve been projecting allows me to feel accomplished. At the same time, I’m learning appreciate the growth along the way and be proud of myself for what I’ve learned each time. If I keep it about fun, it’s healthy.
Whether I go with my friend for some quality time or go alone to destress, it’s always a positive experience. The bouldering community is friendly and sociable, and the folks at the front desk know me. They’re generous, too.
This reads like an ad for my gym, and hey, why not, but it is a huge privilege to be able to climb. It’s an expensive activity, and until this year, I wouldn’t have been able to afford this form of self-care. (I’m also grateful for the student discount!)
I do wish more Black and Brown folks could thrive through this sport, so while the climbing gym is a comfortable space for many queer folks, it’s less welcoming or accessible to many people of color. Changing this would require adapting the gym fees, considering location, changing company leadership, and increased intention around DEI in the community and culture itself.
Finally, I can’t speak well to how accessible climbing is do those with disabilities as it really depends on the disability at hand, but it does require your muscles to be able to move and be strong. Hearing isn’t a huge necessity. Vision might be helpful in order to see the routes, but I imagine you could probably feel by shapes of the holds most of the time. And in terms of mental health, bouldering is a huge help, at least for me. It’s grounding.
I’m proud of the ways I’ve been growing both mentally and physically since beginning to climb, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do so.
Happy Month of Rejoicing!