Rock climbing is an increasingly popular sport in the United States. From new indoor climbing gyms popping up across the country to gear shops exceeding their sale numbers for popular climbing gear, it’s safe to say this sport has captured the interest of recreation enthusiasts.
“Climbing is a unique and incredible sport that challenges people both mentally and physically,” said Gianna Aveni, owner of Blue Granite Climbing Gym in South Lake Tahoe. “Climbers can gain self-confidence, find a fun way to exercise and lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle, be a part of a social group, or find valuable time for introspection. It’s a versatile sport with so much to offer different people.”
Despite the popularity of this sport, it’s not always the most accessible. High costs for gym memberships and equipment can be preventative barriers to climbing, especially for underserved communities.
Although the Tahoe Fund is focused on expanding access and inclusion in outdoor recreation, we recognize that new sports are often easier and safer to learn indoors. That’s why, with the support of our Stewardship Circle donors, we funded a new indoor climbing program for the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe.
“Climbing is a fantastic sport and easily available in Tahoe, but if no one in your family or friendship circle climbs, it can be a really hard activity to get into,” said Jude Wood, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Lake Tahoe. “Being able to offer a climbing program this summer and providing access to kids who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity was incredible.”
Every Friday during the summer, two groups of twelve kids headed over to Blue Granite Climbing Gym for hands-on instruction from climbing coaches. After mastering the basics, many of the kids were able to quickly progress and looked forward to returning each week to learn something new.
One female member shared that although she was initially cautious, she quickly grew to love the new sport. “I had never climbed before and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “It was my favorite activity this summer.” Another participant expressed enthusiasm for his favorite activities in the program, saying: “I really like bouldering and doing the obstacle courses.”
This new program was also part of Blue Granite’s Community Climbing Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to remove barriers to climbing, broaden accessibility to the sport, promote and celebrate inclusivity, and provide under-resourced youth and under-represented populations the opportunity to experience rock climbing.
“We are so grateful to the Tahoe Fund and Blue Granite for this experience,” said Wood. “ We hope that we can continue to partner together to get more local kids into climbing.”