EPAC is excited to launch its Gym to Crag program which will be coming to a gym near you!
With many new climbers getting their first taste in a gym setting, it is especially important that we are mindful of the transition that needs to happen. Skills and experiences in the gym may be useful when heading outside but not all are immediately transferable. For example, how you land in the gym on 18” of foam is not the same way you land on a 4” crash pad. Or, at a sport climbing crag you may find bolt/draw spacing much further apart then your grid bolted gym wall. Climbing gyms are built around risk management and the customer experience. That is not to say they are safer spaces, as the inherent risk in climbing can never fully be removed, but gyms are a controlled and curated setting.
Even if we put the skills piece aside, it is also a completely different environment that one needs to learn how to navigate. Think about it…last time you were at the gym did you wonder: Are the restrooms working? Who is cleaning up the chalk spills? Are the anchors inspected? Probably not because that is what you expect walking into a business. However, you may roll up to a crag to find no restrooms and even no trash cans. There are no staff washing holds or vacuuming chalk spills. And fixed hardware can run the gamut in terms of age and safety. How climbers interact with our outdoor spaces has a direct result on access.
This program is part of EPAC’s commitment to climber education. It will also support our goal of protecting and preserving access at our local climbing areas by creating safe, responsible outdoor climbers.