Rock climbing has its physical components but Sierra Blakely, gym director at Olympia’s Warehouse Rock Gym, talks just as much about the fun mental component to rock climbing.
“There’s a lot of problem-solving involved,” she said.
The Warehouse Rock Gym in downtown Olympia is home to the Washington State Senior Games’ newest event – rock climbing – from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday. Rock climbing was added as the 20th sport of the Senior Games because of increased interest.
It’s one of four events taking place Friday, joining early track and field throwing events – hammer throw, weight and super weight throws – at Saint Martin’s University’s hammer and discus cage adjacent to the track.
South Sound Senior Games president Jack Kiley said he estimates 1,600 to 1,700 athletes 50 and older will take part in the annual games, with the majority of the events taking place in South Sound this weekend.
A half-dozen participants have registered for rock climbing, with ages ranging from 54 to 62, and day-of-competition registration still available.
Blakely said Senior Games competitors will scale a 35-foot wall with a rope and harness. Levels of competition will vary the location and size of grips for changes in difficulty.
“With joint issues and bone issues with advanced age, we want to minimize impact as much as possible,” she said.
Track and field at Tumwater District Stadium, also the location for Saturday’s opening ceremonies, serves as the largest draw for competitors Saturday, with a few stragglers wandering over to Tumwater High School’s gymnasium a short distance away for the basketball competition. Last year, more than 60 competitors played in the three-on-three tournament, with many taking part in the hot shot and free-throw shooting contests. The latter two contests attracted players from the 55-59 age group through 80-84.
“Some of them had a better free-throw percentage than our high school basketball players,” said Nick Schmidt, Senior Games’ basketball commissioner and a former Tumwater High boys basketball assistant coach.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org @megwochnick www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports