Reaching new heights
By TERRY TOMALIN
© St. Petersburg Times,
Kids love to climb. Couches, rocks, trees -- it doesn't matter, as long as it gets them off the ground.
"They are naturals," Sarah Diamond, a coach at Vertical Ventures Climbing Camp in Tampa, said. "Climbing works the body and mind. Like chess, you have to use your head."
A decade ago, there were only a handful of climbing gyms in the United States. Today there are more than 1,500.
Vertical Ventures has countless routes up the wall for beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each route is marked with a different color tape denoting the difficulty from 1 to 6.
It is not how high a climbing wall is but how difficult it is to get to the top that matters. Good climbers will sit and study the wall before starting a climb and plan where they will place each hand and foot, which is why many participants characterize climbing as a "thinking sport."
"Climbing teaches kids how to think through problems," Diamond said. "It also promotes teamwork, because you always have somebody holding the rope."
Vertical Ventures Climbing Camp is available to ages 9 through 16. During the school year, the gym holds regular classes for all ages and skill levels.
For information, call (813) 884-7625.
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490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
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