Years ago, my best friend and I took my then 9-year-old stepdaughter for a girls’ day out rock climbing at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center in Longwood. It was an unforgettable outing. Not only did my bestie and my stepdaughter conquer their fear of heights to scale to the top of the wall, we all got in a fun, great workout.
It took me years to return, however, mostly because climbing prices are a bit on the steep side and to scale the big walls, you need an adult partner on the ground to hold the ropes (belay) while you climb. But return I did, this time with 6-year-old twins in tow. Aiguille is breathtaking when you first walk in — rock walls towering high above the ground and an energy of pure excitement and adrenaline.
This time, I opted to stay on the ground and paid for the kids to “boulder” without a harness on the shorter walls. Grand total: $17 for unlimited climbing — a great price to see if my kids were into it. Well, they loved it. They climbed fearlessly for about an hour and a half. The soft, bouncy floor reassured them that it was OK to go higher and higher and even fall. My only wish was that there were a few easier bouldering climbs for the kiddos. While most were too difficult for their skill level, it didn’t stop them from trying — so maybe that’s a good thing. (I do tend to underestimate what my “babies” are capable of doing sometimes.)
I may offer up another visit to Aiguille for rock climbing as a reward for doing chores or excellent report cards — but the next time, I want to see them all the way at the top of the big walls. And I’m taking another grownup with me so I can scale great heights too!
IF YOU GO: Save some time by filling out a safety waiver at home, otherwise you’ll have to deal with antsy kids ready to climb while you’re doing it at the facility. Aiguille is located in an industrial park. So don’t freak out when the GPS tells you to turn and go deeper in. I suggest letting your kid try bouldering first. Like I said, it’s cheaper and they’ll get the idea of what rock climbing is all about. If your kid’s going to climb the tall walls, prepare to pay $10.75 plus $5.50 for his or her belay device, shoes and helmet. You’ll also pay $6.50 just for yourself to hold the rope on the ground. You don’t want to shell out all that dough only to see your kid collapse into a blubbering ball of nerves that refuses to leave the ground. Also feel free to bring snacks and drinks. Address: 999 Charles St., Longwood. Phone: 407-332-1430