Climbing center offers spring break alternative

A toddler reaches for a handhold on a climbing wall at the Spire Climbing Center. The center is offering a camp for kids during spring break.

By LEVI WORTS/Montana State News

The Spire Climbing Center is hosting a camp for kids of all ages this spring break that will get kids climbing off more than just the couch.

Renee Freeman, one of the instructors for the camp, said that the younger kids will be playing a variety of classic games with a slight twist by including the climbing walls.  Freeman said some of the games will include musical climbing, red light green light, capture the flag and wall tag.

Freeman also spoke of the “rock warrior game,” where two teams of kids try to pull the instructors off the wall as one of the “favorite games that the kids will play.”

However the instructors will first focus on “working the basics,” Freeman said.  These will include skills such as climbing commands, rope and harness confidence and foot placement when climbing.  She said that they will “compress everything from our summer camp.”

The older groups of kids will focus more on specific skills stations.  These will first include the basics and, according to Freeman, can advance depending on the level of experience of the kids.

“The class will be more like an introduction to beginning climbing,” said Freeman, but could go as far as to contain “advanced footwork” and “projecting routes.”

The community has responded extremely positively, according to Freeman, and the Spire has answered by “adding more camps and classes.” According to the Spire’s website, some of these newer programs for kids are Saturday morning classes and after school sessions for both public and home school students.

The Spire’s website maintains a policy that it is open to “all interested participants” regardless of skill or age and includes “a state-of-the-art rope climbing system that spans 6,000 square feet.”  The Spire also includes an additional 2,200 square feet of “bouldering space”  for shorter non-rope climbs.

The three-day event, which begins March 12, will include age groups of 5-7, 8-10 and 11-16 according to the Spire’s website.  They also ask that participants reserve spots. There are only 20 spaces open per age group, per day.

– Edited by Michele McDonald

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