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      Kids conquer the rock wall

      According to 13-year-old Eric Prager of Marquette, the indoor rock wall is a cinch. He said, "I like to say that my talent for climbing is just God-given talent. You know? So I don't really do anything special. I just look for something to hold and just go up."

      One part natural talent, two parts technique and footwork equals a mountain of fun at the PEIF in Marquette. Indoor rock climbing has become a great new way for kids to not only develop strength and endurance, but to sharpen their problem solving skills AND build confidence.

      Just ask 10-year-old Haley Thams of Marquette. She said, "I like when you're like, stuck in a position and you don't know where to go. Then you kind of find your way through to get to the top."

      Thams started climbing when she was just five years old. She says she's always up for the challenge and that one day she may join the sport of competitive rock climbing. For now, she's content just hanging out with friends and learning the basics. But with the friendly, knowledgeable staff at the PEIF to belay, the sky is the limit.

      I caught up with Cole Gude. He is the Outdoor Recreation Center Facilitator at the PEIF. He told me, "It's a really great place to work. It's a really great community of people that come here and climbs all the time. So it's a pretty fun place to be around."

      And if you're worried about the safety of the climbers and the equipment at the climbing wall, well they've got that covered, too.

      According to Gude, "A lot of protection against injury in rock climbing is during the setup before they even start climbing. So everyone that works at the climbing wall and everyone that we let belay at the climbing wall have all gone through some sort of training to make sure they know exactly what to do in the setup."

      But isn't all that climbing equipment expensive?

      Rental rates are reasonable according to Gude. He said "We have all their harnesses. Harnesses are totally free for everyone that comes in to climb with us. We provide the rock climbing shoes for the kids in the camp if they ask for them. If you come to a regular climb, climbing shoes are two dollars and then we also have chalk that is available if they ask for it."

      And by the way, all the different colored tape on the wall corresponds with different routes you can choose. The routes get changed every two weeks. So you'll never get bored!

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