Rock climbing at Planet Granite blasts off with teen interest

High belaying walls reach for the high ceilings of Planet Granite.

Emma Yin

High belaying walls reach for the high ceilings of Planet Granite.

Climbers flock to Planet Granite in Belmont for rock climbing, a sport that involves ascending mountains or artificial walls.

“Climbing is a great way to stay in shape, both physically and mentally. There are a lot of challenges and problems that you need to solve. Figuring out the most efficient way to make it up the climb is great for problem-solving and critical thinking, as well as the physical aspect. It’s a full-body workout so it’s a lot of pulling muscles, a lot of pushing with your legs, and a lot of core exercise,” Nick Gerrard, the senior director of Planet Granite, said.

Planet Granite’s interior includes high ceilings with climbing walls and shorter ones for bouldering.

Planet Granites' belaying walls with purple belay ropes.
Planet Granites’ belaying walls have purple belay ropes. (Emma Yin)

“Bouldering is climbing close to the ground, which means you don’t need a rope [belaying] because if you fall, you won’t hurt yourself,” said Tim Beisiegel, a sophomore who does both belaying and bouldering. 

Many youth and students go rock climbing as an afterschool activity or with climbing teams.

“I have been climbing for half a year, and I like it because it’s an exercise and sort of a puzzle because you have to figure out how to get to the top. It has improved my life because I get exercise from what I enjoy doing,” Beisiegel, who is also sophomore Jin Nguyen’s climbing buddy, said. 

While some teens, like Beisiegel and Nguyen, have recently started climbing, others have been rock climbing for years. 

“I’ve been rock climbing for two years, and I like it because it’s an interesting sport that pushes you to constantly hone your skills. I think rock climbing has made me more athletic because it gives me a reason to go out and climb instead of staying at home all day,” said sophomore Apollo Tan.

Similarly, sophomore Audrey Abrams believes that rock climbing has made a significant impact on her life.

“I love rock climbing because of how rewarding it feels to finish a climb that I’ve been working on and because of how supportive the community is. It has impacted my life because it pushes me to work on myself and to stay committed to getting stronger,” said sophomore Audrey Abrams, who has been climbing for about eight years.

Climbing teams have also been popular among many people. 

Roxie Erpenbeck bouldering at Planet Granite.
Roxie Erpenbeck, a freshman who has been rock climbing for around six to seven years, bouldering at Planet Granite. (Emma Yin)

“I am on a climbing team, so I feel like the people on the team are all super close friends, so it’s like a tight-knit community. It’s good for my physical health because it’s great exercise, and I feel like it just fills my time with things to do like training and working out,” said Tobey Kirchner, a regular at Planet Granite who has been climbing for 3 ½ years. 

Another important aspect of rock climbing at Planet Granite is the climbing community. 

“I like it because I genuinely enjoy the activity, but something else that I really enjoy about it is the community. I think it is super welcoming and positive. But in general, there are just a lot of climbers who are really friendly to others in my experience,” Kirchner said.