Anybody who loves an active lifestyle will find any excuse they can to participate – whether that’s for an hour or a year at a time. Some do it by running. Others do it by hiking. Personally, I love both of those, especially when combined. But I decided I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and try something new. Let me tell you how I came across something that I think I am going to love to continue.
I decided to visit a neighboring big city to discover one of the climbing gyms – on recommendations from fellow expats. While I have done some small climbing with friends before, I have never been that seriously into it. However, I have recently decided that I want to try more new things, whatever it is. So I made the decision to learn more about climbing. I consider myself active, and I love it – but I don’t think I have ever had a chance to really get my hands dirty. So I took an hour-long bus ride to Daejeon to see if I would like it.
Of the five gyms I was recommended, I decided to visit 대전청소년위캔센터 (We Can Center). It was the only gym that I found plenty of good reviews for, and it also seemed to be the one most recently built. I got there at 1030 and was told that I actually couldn’t hike until 1300. Apparently, the climbing gym was reserved for an elementary school outing until then. So I paid for a day in the gym (7000won) and rental shoes (3000won), and I saved my receipt for later.
The We Can Center actually has 8 floors and is built above a fire station. The climbing gym is on the seventh floor. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I could not find a lot of pictures, but I was pleasantly surprised when I entered. The climbing gym was divided into two sections: a lead climbing section on one half and a bouldering section on the other half. I went in the middle of the day on a Tuesday afternoon, so it was quite empty. A few elementary-aged boys came in for about 15 minutes and messed around, but I was pretty much the only one there. It was nice.
I tried out the lead climbing wall first. It took me about two minutes to get all the way to the top, so then I wanted to try something else. I learned two things about bouldering that day: it is difficult, but it is fun. I loved that I basically had the gym to myself because it gave me the opportunity to take it slow. I wanted to take it all in. I fell several times, but being there alone gave me the chance to learn from my mistakes and try again without interruption. It was like a puzzle, and I wanted to conquer it. I also learned of the importance finger tape and chalk – as I left the gym with several blisters that I was proud to earn.
I spent about two hours there – which is longer than my hands wanted me to – but I had more fun than I have had in a long time. Even if the bus takes an hour each way, I am glad to be doing this during the week.
Do you enjoy climbing? Are you a beginner or an avid enthusiast? What tips do you have for others?