Why Basalt youth need a climbing wall | AspenTimes.com

Why Basalt youth need a climbing wall

Indoor rock climbing is one of the fastest growing sports in America. What was once a fringe sport celebrated by dirtbags is now becoming mainstream, with indoor competitions in bouldering, lead climbing and speed climbing at the high school and collegiate levels and priming to debut in the 2020 Olympics. Equally important, rock climbing gives students a chance to develop a passion for a sport that they can take out onto our abundant public lands and do for the rest of their lives.

In this valley, we’ve already seen success with youth climbing through Colorado Rocky Mountain School’s climbing program and Aspen’s Climbing Club also is gaining a foothold on the competition scene. However, there is a significant lack of opportunity for the youth of the midvalley to be exposed to this rapidly growing and highly beneficial sport. Many of our youth population come from hardworking families who don’t have access to mentors to be safely introduced to the sport, nor do they have the funds to sign up for an expensive climbing gym membership — if there was a gym to sign up for.

Basalt High School is developing an indoor rock climbing program that would construct a small indoor climbing facility in the school’s auxiliary gymnasium. The wall will be integrated into the Basalt schools’ physical education programs and Basalt Recreation’s summer and afterschool programs to offer opportunities for youth climbing clubs to provide a gateway into the growing sport of indoor climbing.

Beyond the benefits of competition climbing, the indoor structure would couple with the Experiential Education and Outdoor Leadership programs to introduce students to rock climbing in a safe, controlled environment before going to climb outside where they will learn crag etiquette and environmental stewardship for this amazing valley and beyond.

At this point, the project is still $20,000 from starting construction on the wall and having it ready for students in the fall. To help support the Basalt Climbing program, please consider donating funds to complete the construction of the wall and purchase of climbing holds and equipment. Donors can donate to Basalt High School or call to inquire about donating through a 501c3 route for tax purposes or at http://www.gofundme.com/school-climbing-wall-equipment.

For climbers who are short on cash but rich on old gear, we will take donations of gently used shoes, harnesses, chalk bags, belay devices, etc. Let’s open up opportunities for our midvalley kids and build a wall that brings communities together.

Tanner Jones

Youth climbing advocate


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