Even youngsters can strap on a harness and scale the walls in the Chippewa Valley. Indoor rock climbing is a family-friendly activity that’s sure to lift spirits, whatever the weather is like outside. With three options in the Chippewa Valley for climbing and bouldering, there are opportunities for every skill level.
The McPhee Center offers daily passes and memberships to community members as well as university students and staff. It offers about 2,500 square feet of climbing surface and a bouldering wall. An orientation class is required for first-timers. People younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult, but climbers of all ages are welcome. Al Wiberg, assistant director of Facilities in Recreation and Sport Operations, has seen kids as young as 2 years old take to the wall. “If we can fit them into a harness, they can climb,” he said. The McPhee center hosts introductory and advanced classes, and the staff is professionally trained and certified.
Affordable access to climbing is available at the UW-Stout Health and Fitness Center. Climbers of all ages are welcome to use the facilities with appropriate supervision. “I’ve seen a 3 year old do a great job climbing on the wall, and seen a 5-6 year old just not able to do it,” staff member Houston Taylor said. The recently renovated facility offers two 30-foot walls with 12 ropes and a bouldering wall. Learn-to-climb and belay clinics are available regularly, along with a youth climbing league for 8- to 12-year-olds. Individual and family community passes are available.
2402 Lorch Ave.
No climbing experience is necessary for kids to give Action City’s climbing wall a go. With auto-belay machines to keep youngsters in the air, it’s a low-commitment option for a family outing. Users must weigh at least 30 pounds and wear closed-toed shoes.