It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate.
Staying active in the winter months can be a challenge. If you’re looking for a fun, unique activity to keep fit while you count down to the spring, consider rock climbing. Climbing builds strength and enhances muscle tone and flexibility, and contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be in great shape or have a lot of upper body strength to do it. Upper Limits, a climbing gym in nearby Bloomington, offers indoor and outdoor facilities for all ages and skill levels—no experience necessary!
In 1994, Chris and Pam Schmick purchased a small climbing gym in Peru, Illinois, intending to move it to a larger location. After a year-long search, they discovered several abandoned grain silos in Bloomington that had stood unused for more than a decade and were about to be torn down.
The Schmicks purchased the towering structures and went to work cleaning out the tons of rotten soybeans and scrap steel that had piled up inside. On September 2, 1995, Upper Limits held its grand opening, and in 2001, they expanded again, with the opening of a second climbing gym in St. Louis.
The Bloomington facility is one of the largest climbing gyms in North America, with 20,000 square feet of climbing surface. Three of its 65-foot-tall silos are round, and two are uniquely-shaped and feature stem and chimney-type climbs. There is a massive multi-level bouldering cave, and the main area includes slab, aretes, roofs, dihedrals, cracks and the wave wall. When the weather heats up, you can take to the outdoor bouldering area or 110-foot outdoor wall, or rappel 120 feet off the top of the building, with an elevator ride to the top!
“Think Disney World for climbers,” offers Lynn Schnaiberg in Outside Magazine’s Urban Adventure, Chicago. “Where else are you going to get to scale the inside of a grain silo?”
For pricing, hours and additional information, visit upperlimits.com/bloomington. a&s
Upper Limits offers the following classes, in addition to family classes, private lessons, teambuilding exercises, group adventure climbs, summer youth clinics and competitive climbing teams.
- ROCK GYM 101: Learn how to top-rope, the basic form of roped climbing, including safety procedures, proper belay technique, knot tying and equipment usage.
- ROCK GYM 102: Refine your technique by using footwork, coordination, weight transfer and mental preparation to take your climbing skills to the next level.
- LEAD 101: Learn the fundamentals of leading and the proper techniques to belay a lead climber.
- RAPPELLING 101: Learn to descend a rock face by rappelling, including equipment usage, safety checks and belaying.
- INTRODUCTION TO OUTDOOR CLIMBING: Learn how to set up simple top-rope systems using existing anchors and natural protection.
- OUTDOOR LEAD CLIMBING: Learn how to lead belay and lead using bolts.
Upper Limits Rock Gym
1304 W. Washington, Bloomington IL 61701