We have been on a recent quest to stop the premature atrophying of our muscle tissue. Finding a bit of physical fitness in a city that is unabashedly hostile to pedestrians and that revolves solely around the use of motorbikes (even when just going a few meters down the road) can be difficult. It had been years since my last climb, but on a sticky afternoon I dragged a hesitant giant to a large, man-made wall. Rock climbing! In a leafy patch of District 3, one can find the Phan Dinh Phung Sports Center, which houses a running track, basketball courts, and X-Rock Climbing.
With a towering, 16 meter high climbing wall with beginner to advanced runs and a 3 meter high, 8 meter long bouldering wall, X-Rock is an urban climbers paradise. Gavin and I signed up for one hour of unlimited climbs, which included gear as well as a cheeky assistant to belay each of us.
With our shoes and harnesses attached, we brazenly hit the wall. Frankly, it was pretty damn tough at first - learning to climb using our leg muscles rather than pulling the dead weight of our bodies up with scrawny arms was a challenge. Conquering the terror of acrophobia and simultaneously searching for hand and footholds to continue the run also proved to be quite difficult. Being slovenly beginners, we stuck to the beginners side: racing each other up the runs several times before wearing ourselves out, taking an extended water break, and then starting all over again.
Although I never made it much further than halfway due to my overwhelming fear of heights, it was a ton of fun. We went around one in the afternoon and were the only climbers in sight. Not only did we have the whole wall to ourselves, we also had about five zealous gentleman down below us hollering where to step next and offering general climbing advice in advanced broken English.
After we had properly destroyed ourselves, we headed over to the bouldering wall where the pros showed us some tricks and encouraged us to come back again. We finally left with limbs dangling like week-old gelatin. We plan to make climbing a bi-monthly excursion and definitely want to use and abuse the free courts and track in the surrounding area.
Find X-Rock at 75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu between Pasteur and Nam Ky Khoi Nghia.
All tuckered out...