All my life I have wanted to become a rock climber. Then I married a semi-rock climber who stopped climbing when we got married. Then we never rock climbed...not ONCE since we've been married. This last year I made a goal to change that. Luckily, The Front happened to reach out and I knew my dreams were coming true!
For years we've been driving by The Front. Even my toddler kids noticed it and have been asking "Why haven't we been to there?" They know what a climbing wall is, as many parks have tiny climbing walls.
The Front is especially amazing to drive by at night. With all those big windows, you can see all the bouldering walls and colors.
We met up with Ethan and Melanie to give us a tour of The Front. Since we’ve only ever seen the climbing walls while driving by, we were surprised by how BIG the place is! The building used to be a steel can factory, so its wide, giant windows and open ceilings almost make you feel like you are still outside. They also open up the garage doors to let in fresh air!
With over 10,000 square feet of climbing walls, you can’t ever get bored. All the climbing walls are custom built and seriously so esthetically pleasing it's crazy.
6,800 SF are just for rope climbing…some of the walls go up 40 feet! There is a section of wall where they dug out the foundation and into the earth so they could make taller walls.
1,600 SF of the gym is just for bouldering. They change routes EVERY week and are color coordinated.
The front isn’t just a climbing gym. Weights and cardio machines are also available to use.
Isn't it just beautiful? I never thought a climbing gym could be so lovely.
Plus there’s a yoga studio and store.
After our tour, everyone got fitted into a harness. I’ll admit, tiny harnesses on tiny humans are pretty adorable. I wasn’t sure what to wear, so everyone just wore super comfy outfits. I knew we would use climbing shoes, but they didn’t have any toddler sized ones. (Which was probably a good thing, I don’t know if they would have worn them very long.)
We headed over to the Rope Climbing walls to learn how to belay. Belaying is kind of like being a spotter for a climber. The Belayer holds the rope to make sure the climber doesn’t fall. We learned how to tie an 8 knot and how to properly tie onto the wall, too.
After watching Melanie and Ethan demonstrate, Aiko and I decided to give it a go. I was kind of nervous for Aiko. She loves to climb and doesn’t seem afraid of heights, but I was worried about the descent. Seems I didn’t need to worry, she just climbed right up. At one point, she did get nervous and didn’t want to go any further. To descend, one just tells the belayer “take” and the belayer will bring you down slowly. Basically, the climber lets go of the walls and leans into a sitting position. Which, Aiko did like a champ. Orion, wasn’t so interested in this or climbing with a harness. He'd already removed his.
After, it was my turn to climb. I was kind of shaking with excitement/doubt. Doubt because it’s been a long time since I’ve been to the gym and I did just have a baby in March. I was worried my body would fail me. But hooray! I made it up just fine.
At this point, the kids were kind of freaking out. I realized that perhaps that piece of bread wasn’t going to hold them over. Luckily, Ethan saved the day and brought out pretzels! After getting some snacks and water, they were ready to go again.
This time, Ethan and Melanie showed us how to practice “falling.” Apparently, one needs to learn how to fall properly, since everyone does and will. This sounded quite scary to me.
Ethan climbed and Melanie belayed. Since Ethan weighs more Melanie, when he “fell” she kind of shot up into the air to compensate, then slowly lowered both of them back to the ground. When everyone was down on the ground, it was our turn. We did okay, it was kind of scary, since my child decided to run up next to me at the exact moment Derek decided to fall. But never fear, Derek didn’t fall very far and I didn’t go up super high.
At this point, our kids were done being in the harness and were climbing the walls themselves. You are allowed to climb the wall without a harness, but only to the dotted line. (My kids quickly learned what a dotted line was.)
Derek and I top-roped climbed a wall while the kids climbed the other. Melanie and Ethan were nice enough to watch them while we did some climbing. I climbed this red section and about ¾” of the way my arms were on FIRE! Apparently, I needed to use more of my legs and not my forearms. I’ll admit, it was a struggle to make it up to the top, but I did it, with a few breaks. Seriously, when I was brought down my arms felt like jelly.
While I recuperated, I watched the husband climb and the babies run around. My heart did swell with pride as I watched my whole family climbing around. But man, I was HUNGRY. Luckily, we happened to be at The Front on a Friday, for First Friday. The first Friday of every month is an Ogden Art Stroll. The Front had some hor d'oeuvres and fresh art on site.
After, we decided to try the bouldering wall.
We didn’t last very long as the kids were getting tired/crazy and I could barely hold onto the wall. Definitely, some room for improvement.
Thanks to The Front for making my climbing dreams come true!
Morning camps run from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Afternoon camps run from 1:30 - 5:30 pm
June 5 - Morning camp
June 12- Afternoon camp
June 19- Morning camp
June 26- Morning camp
July 4- No Camps this week
July 10- Morning camp
July 17- Afternoon camp
July 24- Morning camp
July 31- Afternoon camp
August 7- Morning camp
August 14- Afternoon camp
Tips for first time climbers.
- Get an instructor! It's totally worth it. I never felt like they were talking down to me or thought I was stupid. They were extremely patient.
- If you bring young kids, make sure to have one adult per kid. It helps keep them entertained (and safe). Especially, if you are doing come climbing yourself. You don’t want to have the kids running around unsupervised.
- Take Snacks & Water for everyone. You wouldn't want a HANGRY climber.
- Let the kids climb in good tennis shoes or barefoot.
- Plan on building up your grip strength and endurance. (We honestly didn’t climb a whole lot, because one good climb wore us out.)
- If you want to go when it's not busy, go on a sunny day, everyone else will be out climbing.
- Don't be afraid to look stupid, no one cares and climbing is a very social atmosphere.
- Wear comfy clothes that stretch with you.
My daughter loves to climb. This would be an amazing opportunity for her.