My Problems

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Finding a Dream Job: Working at Climb UP Gym

As you may or may not have heard, I started working at Climb UP gym recently. It’s the climbing gym where I do my sessions. I’m excited about my employment with such a great business!

Just to let you in on something, I’ve thought about working at Climb UP for a while. However, it’s taken time for me to muster up the courage to apply there. I love climbing, and I talk about it a lot. One friend joked with me by saying “you can introduce people to the Gospel of Climbing” because I enjoy it so much. I think working at the gym will be a good fit.

Climb UP emphasizes having good customer experiences in their gyms. My years in working retail have also stressed customer service. I think the skill transitions into the position and business well. Also, I’m friendly and hardworking. I know a fair number of the gym’s employees, and I think they’re a cool group of people.

Back to Rookie Status

Car selfie before heading into work at Climb UP Norman.

For now, I’m working part-time at Climb UP. I’ve thought about applying for full-time, but I want to make sure I like it there. Hopefully, I’ll love it. So, Climb UP has two locations, one in Norman and the other is in Oklahoma City. I’ll rotate working at both places, but I’ll mostly be in Norman. The reasons why employees work at both are because the gyms have different tasks required for them and they need to be comfortable working at both gyms.

The first duties I’ll be learning are the front desk and administrative tasks. These involve getting comfortable with checking people in and ringing up passes. Then try to memorize the gym's memberships. Also, I’ll learn how to book groups and birthday parties there. Eventually, I’ll get to know the regulars too.

Teaching the Belay Basics

Holding a Gri-gri

Included in my training is teaching top-rope belay classes. What this means is I’ll present to people how to top-rope. I have shadowed some of my co-workers and started showing a few of them with some guidance. Soon, I’ll do them on my own. It’s exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. Here’s why.

There’s a lot to cover in the course. I need to break down the steps and make sure they’re understood. In my opinion, operating the Gri-Gri breaking device correctly and remembering the commands are the most crucial parts of the class. Especially at the OKC location, where a lot of the climbing is top-rope, first-time climbers should know this information well.

However, I need to modify my spiel and presentation, so I cover the essential points but not drag the information out. While teaching my first belay classes, I rambled too much. It didn’t seem like I confused the customers, but I know I have much to improve. It will also take time for me to get comfortable talking in front of a group.

After I finish my 90-day probationary period, I hope to start climbing wall instructor (CWI) certification. In a nutshell, I’m required to demonstrate CWI standards at Climb UP such as: teach general climbing skills, teach proper belaying techniques, teach adequate equipment care, and so forth. I’ll write more about the program as soon as I know when I take it.

Creating New Problems

Inside the Climb Up gym

In my interview with the owners of Climb UP, I mentioned I’m interested in routesetting at the gyms. That means I would be building and putting up problems and routes. They said they were glad to hear that because there aren’t any women routesetters employed there at this time.

There’s a need for women routesetters at the gyms. Guys currently set the routes and problems. Seeing this is fine, but men and women climb differently. I’ve only seen maybe 3 or 4 routes set by women at either location in the 3-ish years I’ve climbed at Climb UP. I hope after my probationary period, or sooner I can start playing with planning problems and routes.

I think it would be cool to see a climbing tag with my name and notes on it. ☺

Show Off Your Stuff

At some point, I’d like to help write and produce content for Climb UP’s social media pages. Honestly, I don’t see as much promotion from the gyms as they could have online. I think I can help advertise the gyms more often. Maybe someday contribute on the gym’s blog. My goal is to start writing on its social media soon, so I can show what I can do.

In the meantime, I’ll post updates on my progress and stuff happening working at Climb UP. I’m excited to be there and will give it my best shot. Until next time, happy bouldering!