Rock climbing grows as a hobby

In 2011, West County gained a new outlet for exercise: rock climbing.

The Upper Limits Climbing Gym West County opened allowing people of all ages and abilities to embrace the benefits of rock climbing, Luke Nurnberger, director of marketing and activities, said.

“Upper Limits is a community of people that unite to grow and be challenged through the adventure of rock climbing,” Nurnberger said.

Upper Limits opened their first location downtown in 2001 which originally introduced the idea of indoor rock climbing. The brand then expanded to West County 10 years later.

“This is a larger and better equipped gym that is located in an area that can reach many different areas of South/West/Central St. Louis,” Nurnberger said.

Nurnberger said that rock climbing is accessible to everybody and no experience is necessary to prosper from the exercise.

“I love rock climbing because it is challenging to both my mind and my body,” he said.

Upper Limits offers a variety of classes including aerial fitness. They also offer youth programs such as a competitive youth climbing team and entertainment packages.

“We have first-time climbers visit us all the time. We design our gym experience to serve everyone, both beginners and experts,” Nurnberger said.

People can even take the passion to the outdoors Nurnberger said. There are various parks where people can climb in nature such as Southern Illinois and Jackson Falls.

“Climbing is a total body fitness that challenges the entire body, including your mind,” Nurnberger said.

Emma Censky, senior, originally started with climbing for the same reasons Nurnberger enjoys it.

“I think it is a really diverse form of exercise,” Censky said.

She said climbing involves a lot of balancing skills, mental capacity and teamwork to figure out the proper method to get up the wall.

Ever since seventh grade when she went with her church group, Censky has enjoyed climbing. She said that it really grew into a hobby.

“It can be frustrating for me sometimes and that is why I like outdoor climbing a lot better,” Censky said.

Although it can be harder for her to go to the gym because of her height, Censky does go to Upper Limits Climbing Gym West County, but she has a greater love for the outdoors.

It is just a really unique sport that teaches you a lot of life skills,” Censky said. “It is a social sport and it is something you can do your entire life.”