Progression Climbing is Chapel Hill’s only premiere bouldering gym. Bouldering is one of climbing’s most rapidly growing factions, it gains support due to its requirement of big moves, jumps, flexible contortions, and parkour-style routes.
Bouldering is a faction of climbing in which the climber “sends” or summits a climb that is no more than about 20 feet, mimicking the height of a boulder. For this reason, no ropes or harnesses are required, and climbers rely solely on their abilities. Bouldering is unlike different forms of climbing; the discipline does not focus on endurance. Instead bouldering requires the climber to focus on practiced technique and moves of power. Different from big wall climbing, on a face with ropes, bouldering requires the climber to hang, hook, leap, push, and pull. Bouldering puts a spotlight on technique, requiring flexibility, strength, accuracy, and strategy. Progression offers a superb location for climbers of all skill levels to hone their essential climbing skills.
At Progression, the gym is set up so that even the most inexperienced climbers can attempt a variety of inclines and holds. Walls with symmetrical patterns of drill holes enclose the space, on which the holds are fastened. Climbs are color coded so the climber knows which holds to use in order to complete that route. Progression has a variety of different ‘styles’ of climbs, and they are updated frequently. Mats sit below the walls and allow climbers to fall safely. Progression hosts a crowd of regulars, one that is laced with camaraderie and banter. Dedicated climbers and amateurs mix at Progression, and the climbing knowledge easily spreads to new climbers. It is for this reason that Progression is so appealing to young climbers.
At East, there are a number of students who frequent the gym to hone their climbing skills. The East climbing community is strong, and is recognized within the Progression community as a group of skilled young climbers.
“Progression is a great spot to improve your climbing, and it’s even better for people who don’t know much about it. Progression has a huge amount of stuff to climb, but the coolest thing is the community,” explained junior Kyle Thomas. “Progression has an awesome group of people from every walk of life to interact with.”
Ruben Sharp, a junior, also frequents Progression, and uses it to augment his training for the cross country season.
“Many people have a strong pull towards risky sports, but none of those attractions compare to bouldering. The atmosphere of Progression is full of energy, but also respect for those who are clearly dedicated to the practice. The climbing is very hard, and the people around you are very skilled, so the competition is quite high,” Sharp explained, citing the high skill level and almost primal competition of the atmosphere.
Progression Climbing is the only stop one will need for an exciting change of pace. Maneuvering oneself through the puzzle of holds (called “problems” by boulder climbers) up to the top of the wall is enormously gratifying, due to the surprising challenge. It certainly serves as a stress relief for the East students who partake. The community of East students climbing regularly is growing, and may prove to be an even more popular sport as high school becomes more rigorous for younger students.
photo courtesy of groupon.com