Start by Taking A Class:

My first climbing experience at REI

First, visit your nearest indoor climbing gym, look around and ask questions. It's best to begin by taking a class, preferably one taught by a Boomer climber and designed for Boomers with little or no climbing experience.

The Boomer Climbers' Movement Class at Climb Iowa is a fun learning experience. We teach and use state-of-the-art equipment and risk management practices to put your mind at ease and let you "get high" securely, physically and emotionally!

It's wise to check with your doctor first, and if you are capable of climbing a few steps up a ladder you can try indoor rock climbing. Beginner climbing routes resemble a slightly wacky ladder, but there's no missing footholds or handholds.

You won't need any gear - it's provided. You'll be helped into your climbing harness, fitted with climbing shoes and taken through an orientation. Various types of climbing (top-rope, bouldering and lead climbing) are explained, and you'll review the gym's rules.

In top-rope climbing, the climber's harness is attached to a rope running up through an anchor at the top of the route, and then down to the belayer's belay device secured into his/her harness. As the climber moves up, the slack in the rope is taken up by the belayer. 

When the climber reaches the top of the route or gets tired, the belayer lowers the climber sitting in their harness smoothly and slowly to the ground with an assisted-braking belay device. Some routes have auto-belay systems, eliminating the need for a climbing partner.

The Boomer Climbers' Movement Class is a four-week class for adults age 50 and over, and meets on Friday afternoons between 1-3PM. No rock climbing experience is necessary and the class includes a one-month membership with climbing gear provided to you at no additional cost. Ages ranged from 53 to 73 years old during our 2016 classes.

Boomer Climbers' Movement Classes:

  • No climbing experience necessary
  • You don't have to be strong to attend
  • Indoor top-rope climbing is low risk climbing (see Fear vs. Reality)
  • It's an exhilarating journey of self-discovery and empowerment
  • It's easy on the joints - no jarring or sudden movements required    
  • Builds functional strength, endurance, balance and flexibility while having fun
  • Climbing is uniquely interesting - you'll learn all about advanced belay devices with active and passive braking, carabiners, knots, kilonewtons (kN), beta, climbing techniques and much more
  • Climbing is a wonderful path to lifetime fitness and health

Individuals, couples and groups new to sport climbing will experience an adventure, meet new friends and learn about the gadgets, gear, knots and climbing techniques used in top-rope rock climbing.