Up the Wall at the Crux

Mountains aren’t the only place to climb. The Crux is has walls you can climb in warmth all year long.

Photo by Jess Hubber

Three girls stood in a circle laughing and talking. Their hands moved in figure eight motions as they secured and tightened a rope to their harnesses. Rock walls stood tall, almost towering over them; however, they didn’t intimidate the girls. Being frequent visitors to the Crux, the girls had their own ways to conquer the wall.

The Crux’s private location gives customers a break from their stressful days. Three floors of rock climbing walls stack against each other — the tallest being 40 feet — creating a haven away from the cold weather.

“The atmosphere is different here; everyone is doing their own thing, but we all know each other. With it being in the middle of nowhere, everyone gets to know each other, and I think that’s great,” climber Kaitlyn O’Connell says.

O’Connell and her two friends, Liz Rennie and Katie McCallister come to the Crux almost every week and climb outdoors on the weekends.

The Crux was originally created for Pok-O-MacCready camps only, a co-ed Adirondack summer camp in New York for boys and girls ages 6-16. DeGroat, says the indoor climbing was for classes and programs where children of all ages were able to learn how to climb correctly and have fun while doing so.

“Opening to the public was an afterthought, but it worked out pretty well,” says Brian DeGroat, executive director of the camp.

Including the classes they held for the children, the Crux holds seminars for the public as well. These seminars include learning how to climb a rock wall and then advancing to outside climbing. Mark Scott was the first climbing director for the Crux but has gone to teach part-time because of his full-time job as a certified rock instructor at the American Mountain Guides Association. “I think it is important to provide context for folks who are looking to climb outdoors and to provide them with basic skills and awareness to be competent,” Scott says.

Scott’s favorite part of the classes is to watch people learn new skills and techniques that “demystify climbing and empower them to be thoughtful, intentional climbers.” To start climbing, the climbers have to be wearing the proper attire. One should be wearing a harness, rock climbing shoes, and a helmet if under 18, all of which can be rented at the Crux. Other than the walls inside visitors will soon enjoy the climbing walls the Crux is adding to the outside. Three walls, including a small slice in the corner, will soon be open to the public DeGroat says. One wall will be the “easy” climb, while the other goes straight up, with a small negative incline.

“The Crux fills a void in the North Country; it brings together a consistent yet always changing core of enthusiasts who keep each other company throughout the winter,” Scott says. “Every year, new people find out about it and get excited to go. I know I’m looking forward to going this fall.”

Issue 6: Winter/Spring 2016

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