|"It's really been fun to watch them learn body use and coordination," he said.
Tyson, the oldest child, is the most competitive. He has taken to sport
climbing voraciously and is winning competitions. He thrives in the
rock gym environment. "But he's not particularly keen on humping
a pack and hiking up a mountain to do a crack climb," said his father.
Blair, 12, is more cerebral in his approach to climbing. "He likes
the compulsion of it, the tenacity of the climb." The youngest son,
Peter, is strong and athletic. He also shows promise as a sport
Schoene praised the rock gym as a safe environment for family
climbs. The climbing wall rises up from a pit of soft gravel and sand.
Some climbers use the safety ropes that are available, but most climb
"If you fall, it's onto a surface that's atraumatic, even from 15 feet," Schoene said.
Not all rock gyms are the same, however. In Chicago, a gym called The
Sporting Club has a 100-foot-high climbing surface known as "The Wall."
Climbing ropes and harnesses are required.
"Right now, there are about 40 rock gyms in this country specifically
designed to cater to indoor rock climbing. That doesn't include
climbing walls that are being built in
universities, high schools and grade schools," said Elaine Chandler, editor and publisher of The Sportclimbing Connection.
Just three issues old, the quarterly magazine already has a circulation
of 10,000 copies. "We're looking for sport climbing to be one of
the big sports for the 90s," Chandler said.
The popularity of rock climbing in America has been growing steadily,
gaining on skiing and bicycling as a favorite participation sport. In
1988, CBS Sports televised an international World Cup sport climbing
competition at Snowbird Resort in Utah, giving many Americans their
first introduction to the sport's new look.
No longer is rock climbing simply a slow, mechanical athletic feat in
which climbers seek to get from the bottom to the top of a rock
formation. Instead, a new gymnastic style of climbing has taken over.
Now the goal for most climbers is to climb short but treacherous rock
walls -- either natural or man-made -- with the greatest possible
grace, speed and skill.
a 31-year-old New Yorker, has arisen as one of the first American stars
of the sport. She has consistently ranked among the top female climbers
in the world. Standing just 5-foot-2, she is shorter than much of her
competition, but is extremely strong and flexible; and she makes
smart moves. Sport climbing rewards athletes who can keep a clear mind
while clinging to a narrow outcropping over a 300-foot drop.
Copyright © 1993. All rights reserved.
My Life in the Vertical World
by Lynn Hill
Rock Climbing Anchors