Note: I'm planning some changes to how this section is organized. Mostly I don't like how I have traditionally split alpine mountaineering and rock climbing. And where do via ferratas fit? Anyway it shouldn't take too long for me to figure something out. Update: Okay I wrote that what 2 years ago? Time to fix this section up already!
I have to at least mention mountaineering here. Most of my experience is in alpine climbing. I am no newcomer to ascending mountains, and I am happy to have done two of the three North American Via Ferratas. The via at Nelson's Rocks in West Virginia is pictured to the right. The other via I did is at Torrent Falls in Kentucky. With that said, the vast majority of my mountains did not include the difficult rock climbs which are the subject of this climbing section. That is what I am getting into more now so more of those will be added in the future.
For more information on my mountaineering, see my mountaineering section.
Most of the time I haven't live near any real climbing area. That changed in Colorado of course. I mainly made trips out to nearby Golden Cliffs located on the south side of Table Mountain in Golden. The cliffs were always fun and close. There are lots of routes and I barely scratched the surface of what was available. Easy top roping possibilities made the crag ideal for beginners with little rock gear and there were sport and trad options too. Even though it wasn't, that time seems so distant now.
For the moment cragging is a bit sparse on this site but hold tight. I'm working on some sort of route list and doing some more climbs to fill it with something other than short TR routes. For now check out my trad climbing fun at Stone Mountain, NC.
Generally speaking I'm not a big fan of climbing gyms but I can't very well talk about climbing without at least mentioning them. I began casual gym climbing in the summer of 1998, although I'm afraid I still haven't gotten very good at it. My favorite place to go was Vertical Reality in northwest Ohio. The place had climbing and rappelling in an old quarry. They even had tunnels for simulated caving. Great place. I'd like to see how it has developed since then. When I moved to Michigan the closest gym was Planet Rock in Pontiac which I went to off-and-on with some friends at Ford. It probably has gotten better, but I wasn't overly impressed with the staff at the time and eventually lost interest. (Clip in? Huh? My rappelling harness isn't safe? WTF!) Some years later I got around to climbing again and could sometimes be found at Rock'n & JAM'n in Colorado. But I moved to Ecuador and in Quito I all but stopped. Sport climbing is just starting to catch on there, but who cares? People go for mountaineering in the snowcapped Andes. One of the few artificial climbing facilities was just a 10 minute bus ride from my neighborhood. It was not as nice as the other gyms that I have been too but it did have it's good points. One thing I really liked about it (besides the $1.50 price) was the small castle-like building next to the newer wall of plastic holds. The "castle" is built with stone walls. There are no bolt-on holds so you can climb real rock including chimneys and cracks. It is not very high, but I think it is excellent practice for the real thing.
The current local place is Kendall Cliffs Rock Climbing Gym. It is another that I am ambivalent about, and I can't put my finger on exactly why. I have gone only a few times. At first there were only 2 lead climbing possibilities set up although there were more on a subsequent visit. Most strangely no route is marked with any rating. What's up with that?