All about the climb: City offers fun and fitness with rock climbing wall | News

Rock climbing instructor Brandon Heitkamp joined a group of volunteers and climbers at the City of Aiken’s climbing wall Wednesday evening.

The climbing wall, located near Carolina Bay on Price Avenue, is a 1,200 square foot facility and offers routes for all skill levels – from beginner to experienced. 

The activity is offered by the City’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department.

Heitkamp said the wall reopened Wednesday after being closed for around a month due to weather and repairs. Upgrades include a new overhang along with the repair of “wear and tear” items on the wall, he said.

His first climber Wednesday was 8-year-old Allie Bennett, who admitted she is no stranger to the fitness activity. She smiled as she was strapped into the climbing gear and equipment before easily making it to the top of the beginner side of the wall. 

Bennett then took on the more challenging section.

After making it to the top of that side, her mother, Patti, took a few pictures on her cellphone and asked the 8-year-old how that route differed. Her daughter let out a deep breath and replied, “hard,” as her mom smiled and laughed.

Several area residents and onlookers later showed up during the evening to see for themselves. 

Jeanne Velie crouched down with her 8-year-old daughter, Emma, as she watched the climbers dig their feet and hands into the wall, tackling the obstacle.

Velie said they used to regularly come to the site for recreation.

“I’m glad to see this back open again,” she said.

The climbing wall is available for ages 3 and up and drop-in climbing sessions are held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. 

Costs differ depending on residency — $6 or $9 per visit and $25 or $35 for a five-visit pass. Payments can be made at the front desk of the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center on Whiskey Road.  

A waiver must be signed by each parent. Participants…

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