San Maximum: Rock Climbing

By Austin Cowan
Blog Content Contributor

Rock climbing is an extreme sport that can be done in San Marcos. With both indoor and outdoor climbing areas it is commonplace for San Marcans to spend their weekends scaling walls.

Anyone who enjoys exercising their upper body strength while challenging themselves will be interested in rock climbing. Not only is rock climbing a great way to sculpt one’s physique, it is a ton of fun. Rock climbing is physically challenging but that is not the only reason why many people avoid participating in this extreme sport. Often times the fear of scaling a cliff is overwhelming for inexperienced climbers. However, I and many others love the thrill. Being suspended by a rope puts chills down my back unlike any other extreme sport I have done before. The adrenaline rush experienced while climbing is great for people of all ages, but loving that rush won’t be what makes you a great climber. In order to be a great climber one must do three things: prepare for future climbs, constantly challenge oneself to improve and maintain in the spotters. Rock climbing is definitely an activity anyone must do in order to achieve the maximum San Marcos experience.

Places to go rock climbing in San Marcos include the RockWall Climbing Center at Texas State University and within surrounding parks in the area.

The RockWall Climbing facility is an exclusive to non-Texas State students and alumni. However, anyone allowed to climb here can either scale two 54’ towers or spend their time bouldering. The RockWall center offers 2,600 square feet of climbing terrain along with all the equipment needed to climb. The RockWall Climbing Center is an indoor facility.

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Rock climbing can be the sport for you. Photo by Austin Cowan.

The best outdoor rock climbing can be done at either Purgatory Creek Natural Area or Spring Lake Natural Area. Purgatory Creek is 570-acres of hiking trails through the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  Spring Lake is 210-acres and provides a remote hiking experience for tourist. Both parks are better suited for climbers interested in bouldering compared to actual rock climbing.

Rock Climbing opportunities outside of San Marcos include Crux Climbing Center in Austin, TX. Crux is great for people of all ages, because of all the climbing areas: a Bouldering Cave, the Bouldering Corral, the Panda-monium Room for climbing children, the Future Wall and the Rope Canyon. Each climbing area is specifically suited for different climbing skill levels. Crux is a great location in central Texas for indoor rock climbing.

After you’ve chosen your climb site, you’re free to experience the thrill. Becoming a great climber isn’t as easy as it looks, though. For those just getting into the rock climbing scene, here are three steps to becoming a great climber.

  • Wear comfortable exercise clothes. This will allow climbers to fit into harnesses well and have flexibility while climbing.
  • Do not climb in wet clothing. Wet clothes will make rock climbing harnesses wet which will make the harness weaker over time.
  • Always wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet is a smart choice when doing any extreme sport. Make sure your brains and good looking face are safe from harm.
  • Always have spotters. Spotters are people making sure the climber is safe. Spotter serve the purpose of catching a climber during the first few feet of a climb. They also serve as moral support which is always appreciated.
  • Always make sure that a professional is working the belaying. The belayer is in charge of the rope securing the safety of the climber. Therefore they are responsible for the climbers safety. Any climber with common sense will make sure that the person belaying them knows what they are doing.
  • Bring a camera/phone. Rock climbing is a great chance to get awesome pictures to post on social media.

Another aspect of climbing is confidence, which can be very important while trying to achieve goals related to the sport. Always challenge yourself. Rock climbing is a physical sport and the only way for a person to improve is to set goals for themselves. When climbing gets competitive, don’t let others outshine you. When it seems that the next handle you need to get to is to far away do not give up. Like any sport good practice will bring improvement. Make it a goal to go rock climbing frequently. 

Have faith that everything will be okay. Rock climbing can be a scary sport so do not let fear deter you from having an amazing experience. Fear does not help a climber scale a cliff, but by following safety standards, and maintaining common sense, climbers can get to the top. So, if butterflies begin to fly around within your stomach just take a deep breath and continue climbing. It is amazing how much a person can do if they only believe in themselves. 

If you’re ready to start climbing, don’t worry, because rock climbing is not an expensive sport to get into. Climbing centers do charge daily fees for climbers, however purchasing a season pass is an economical alternative for frequent indoor climbers. As for outdoor climbers purchasing comfortable exercise clothes and a quality climbing helmet will work just fine. When outdoor climbing I personally use my Nike running shoes, because they are form fitting to my feet.

Here are some price ranges for equipment.

Shoes– $20.00-$100.00

Helmets– $20.00-$100.00

Clothes– $10.00-$50.00

Rock climbing is an amazing extreme sport, pastime and activity. It is a blessing to have such a wide variety of places to climb at in San Marcos. Next time you’re climbing just remember that every inch higher in elevation makes obtaining the maximum San Marcos experience one inch closer.

Featured image by Austin Cowan.

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