By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffJuly 15, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The climbing wall at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility reopened July 1 after installation of a new auto belay system.
Patrons have been without the wall since the auto belay system, it previously used to keep climbers from being injured if they slip off, was recalled in November, Caroline Driscoll, physical fitness program coordinator, said.
A new system was installed last month and the wall is now open to those who are authorized to use the facility.
Jenna Kirby, Fortenberry-Colton PFF recreational assistant, has climbed the rock climbing wall at the facility "around 20 times a day" since it reopened.
"I climbed four to five times a week before it closed," Kirby said. "I couldn't wait for it to open again so I could get back to it. I'm not a professional or anything, I just really enjoy climbing."
Kirby started working at the facility last summer and immediately enjoyed the variety the climbing wall provided.
"It's such a great and different type of workout," she said. "It really works all of your muscles and even a few you didn't know you had."
Driscoll said the process of getting the new system installed was slow because it was important to make sure everything was in place properly and no issues were present. Now that the wall is open, she said people have been coming back to reach for new heights.
"We've had about 20 to 30 people come in just for (the wall)," she said. "It has a fairly steady amount of people who use it."
Climbers have to be at least 70 pounds in order to use the auto belay system, Driscoll said. Any less and the system won't be able to return the person to the ground.
"This new system also doesn't require as much maintenance as the last one," she said. "It gets a thorough check annually that's very extensive."
Manual belay is also available for more experienced climbers who pass a certification course, Driscoll added. Patrons can sign up for the class at the PFF front desk during its regular hours. The class instructor will contact those interested to set up convenient times for both parties.
Driscoll said those who come out to the wall don't have to worry about it being the same every time.
The holds on the wall are moved around occasionally to make it a more challenging climb and to give climbers some variety.
"We want people to come out and challenge themselves," she said.
For more information, call the PFF at 255-3794.