Outdoor sports have rapidly been growing in popularity in Chile in recent years, and since the country enjoys the longest mountain range in the world it makes sense that rock climbing gyms are experiencing a particular boom.
Increased interest in the sport has spurred a growing demand for gyms that allow climbers to train and maintain their stamina when within the city limits. Indoor climbing can also be a tool for people to build confidence in themselves if climbing outdoors is too intimidating at first.
Climbing gyms in Santiago are very social places where climbers give advice, and share techniques and stories about their experiences. Most gyms hold special events and even arrange outdoor climbing trips.
Another popular form of rock climbing is called bouldering, where climbs are not as high and mats are used to break falls as opposed to harnesses and ropes.
Santiago has several indoor climbing facilities; some popular gyms include Gimnasio El Muro, Casa Boulder, Club Alemán Andino, Muro de Escalada Estadio USACH, and Mallsport.
The sport requires technical equipment needed to protect climbers from potentially dangerous falls. Make sure to inquire that all equipment is up to standard before putting yourself at risk of injury.
Getting into indoor climbing
For those interested in getting into the sport, common equipment used for rock climbing includes shoes, chalk bag, chalk, rope, carabiners, helmet, quickdraws, harness and belay devices. These items can usually be found at any outdoor gear store.
Rock climbing shoes can run anywhere from US$50 (CLP 24,000) to over US$100 (CLP 48,000). They are an essential piece of equipment that enable climbers to balance on tiny ledges that would otherwise be impossible.
Shoes, harnesses and chalk bags can be rented at most gyms for a fee allowing newcomers to try the sport without making an immediate investment.
Entrance to the climbing gyms for one day range from US$6 (CLP 3,000) to US$12 (CLP 6,000) for the day. Gyms also offer monthly memberships.
Written by Michael Dash