Whether you’re a beginner or expert level climber looking for a challenging workout, or just a place to wear the kids out, Main Event has a 9000 square foot rock gym where you can do both. With one of the best setups for an introduction to rock climbing and fairly affordable, it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a fun indoor activity.
You can start out with all the equipment you need for climbing including shoes and a harness at $8 for a 30 minute session. Or step it up to an hour session for only $2 more. Every Monday, from 4:00pm to close, is the Monday Night Madness special with unlimited climbing for only $9.95.
If it’s your first time, the staff will help you put on the climbing harness and go over a quick lesson on how to hook in so you don’t tumble off the rock wall. There are at least 20 routes that are setup with a self-belaying system, so all you have to do is hook in to your harness and start climbing. The self-belaying system will keep the climbing rope tight as you work your way up to the top of the rock wall. If you fall off, or peel, the rope will allow you to slowly rappel back down to the floor. All of the floors surrounding the rock walls are padded for extra cushion when you land.
The rock gym at Main Event is divided into two sections. The section on the right as you’re facing the wall is for beginners. Each route is marked with a difficulty rating. The easiest route is on the left and they get harder as you work your way to the right. The hardest route has a little bit of an overhang which kids (and adults) love to try and maneuver over.
After you master the beginner side, you can work your way up the more difficult routes on the left side of the gym. Here is where things get a little more tricky. There are several routes to choose from on each section of rope. You can choose to work your way up using any of the holds (rocks that are bolted onto the climbing wall in various patterns) or select one of the color coded routes for extra credit and only use the holds that are marked with that tape color.
On this side the easier routes start on the right and get harder as you work to the left. There is also a center island with some of the hardest routes and a bouldering section on the rear wall.
Most kids seem to get the hang of climbing here pretty quickly. The walls top out at 28 feet — although it looks twice as high when you’re at the top looking back down! There is a bell at the top of each route that your kids will love to give a loud ring to let you know they made it all the way up. Climbing is a great exercise that will help build your upper and lower body strength, focus, creativity and determination.
If you or your kids get interested in climbing outside of the gym, Austin is surrounded by plenty of limestone cliffs and boulders. Places like Bull Creek Park, Barton Creek Greenbelt, Pace Bend Park and Reimers Ranch are just a few of the places you can explore new climbing routes.
Surprisingly, there are only two rocks gyms in Austin, Main Event and Austin Rock Gym (ARG has a location north and south). But that is all set to change soon with the opening of two new rock gyms in 2015 — Crux Climbing Center and Austin Bouldering Project. These will be the first new climbing facilities to open in Austin in almost 15 years!