What to know on your first trip to Inner Peaks, the indoor climbing wall in South End

What to know on your first trip to Inner Peaks, the indoor climbing wall in South End
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You don’t need a reservation in advance, but you can save time by signing your waiver online before you go.

I showed up without confirming this in advance, just hoping it’d be a drop-in situation. It is. Phew.

I also didn’t fill out my waiver in advance but they have some iPad stations where you can do it. Fill it out ahead of time here and all they have to do is search your name when you get there.

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You can rent equipment when you get there.

Who has climbing gear? Not me. Who knows what climbing gear is required for staying alive? Not me.

No worries. Inner Peaks has everything you need — harness, shoes, chalk. Just get the First Timers package, which includes your day pass plus gear for $27.

inner peaks charlotte south end

Nope, you don’t actually need a partner to get on the wall.

Inner Peaks specifies that climbing is a team sport but you can go solo without a problem.

Turns out we didn’t need each other. The facility has 10 auto-belay lines that allow you to clip in and climb solo, which is an adequately immersive experience for a beginner.

If you want to get off the auto-belay tracks and out on your own, you and your partner will have to pass a belay and rope skills test first. You can take a $35 intro to climbing class to prep for that, but it’s not necessary on day one. You’ll have plenty to do with the auto-belays.

No experience or pre-requisite training is required to climb with auto-belays.

You’ll watch a quick safety video before a 15-minute lesson and tour of the facility. After that, you’re good to go.

You just clip the line to your harness, unclip the line from the anchored auto-belay sign, lay the sign out on the floor as your landing zone and start climbing.

Auto-belay tracks are marked with these signs:

The difficulty of each color-coded climbing track is identified with a numbered sign.

They go up to 5.13. I stuck to the 5.8 – 5.11 range and was having absolutely none of it. I couldn’t get over the mental hurdle of being high up and only made it to the top on one climb.

I don’t know what it is but I’d start out strong and then my body would just shut down when it realized where it was. I like to think it’s an evolutionary advantage that will keep me safe and alive on the ground.

For me, the fear was less about the height of the wall and more about the fact that once I got up there I’d have to jump back off and trust the belay to catch me.

Although I can be pretty reckless with my career, money and social life, I am extremely physically risk averse. As a result, I never learned to dive, do a cartwheel or use monkey bars. So trust that tossing my body off a wall did not come naturally.

I stopped whining about it eventually but it never really got any easier to let go. Probably a metaphor for my whole life.

Meanwhile, fearless children were scaling that wall like spider monkeys.

Yes, Inner Peaks is kid friendly and the kids will out climb you every time.

Our instructor tried to lessen the blow by pointing out that smaller bodies are easier to move up the wall but I’m pretty sure you could shrink me down and I’d still bail halfway up.

Inner Peaks is open 7 days a week, as late as 10pm on weeknights.

And they’ve got two locations — this one in South End and another on Monroe Road. Visit the site for more information.

And here’s our Instagram story from the day:

Be sure to follow @charlotteagenda on Instagram to catch action like this as it unfolds.

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