When I arrived in the Czech Republic, one of the first things I noticed was how active Czechs are. With loads of public parks, forest reserves, and gyms at my disposal, I was delighted to get out and explore all that Prague and its surrounding areas had to offer. Little did I know that one of my favorite hobbies would be just as embraced here - rock climbing. Even better, CEA offers free weekly climbing sessions with a trained instructor. Score. There's a variety of options for people of all skill levels to enjoy, so let's take a brief look into the culture of rock climbing in the Czech Republic.
Top-Roping/Lead Climbing - Stěna Holešovice
|CEA students working their way up the 3D wall at Stěna Holešovice.|
Sponsored by the climbing company Mammut, this 2600 square-meter facility is among the most beautiful climbing gyms I have ever set foot in. Stěna Holešovice's main attraction is its top-rope and lead climbing routes, which involve the use of harnesses and belay safety systems. Operated by world-renowned Czech climber Libor Hroza, this gym boasts a huge variety of routes on textured, high-quality walls, a dedicated training area, bouldering rooms, and even a kids' section. CEA's iMove program offers two sessions a week at this gym with a trained private instructor, which has allowed me to develop my own skills while having a blast. Though the belay systems and difficulty ratings differ from what I'm used to, I've quickly picked up the learning curve. Expect an overwhelming number of routes tooled to every skill set from beginner to expert. And, of course, don't forget to stop by the bar after your workout for a well-deserved beer from the friendly staff. (Don't worry, there's a tram stop located right out front!)
Bouldering - Boulder Bar
|A panoramic peek into the interior of Boulder Bar.|
|My roommate Chris (right) and I (left) attempt to clear a difficult overhang route at Boulder Bar.|
Just down the street from Stěna Holešovice, Boulder Bar is easily my favorite destination for climbing in Prague. This facility specializes in bouldering, a highly technical climbing style on shorter walls that foregoes the need of rope and harness systems. The low cost and quick preparation time makes bouldering ideal for the life of a student like me. Boulder Bar offers one of the largest selections of bouldering walls in Prague. Their routes are clearly marked and labeled by difficulty level, and the color-coordinated routes are easy to follow. Make sure to ask for an unfiltered beer (nefiltrované pivo) at the bar before you head home!
Outdoor Climbing - Prachovské skály
|A pair of rock climbers rest alongside a Czech flag atop a spire at Prachovské skály.|
If you're feeling particularly adventurous, head on over to the nearby city of Jičín for easy access to one of the Czech Republic's most beautiful nature preserves. Prachovské skály (Prachov Rocks) was established as a protected park in 1933 and provides breathtaking views along its many serene hiking paths. Best known for its towering spires, this popular destination also features a number of outdoor climbing routes that start at the basin of the valley. Unfortunately, my skills are not yet developed enough to attempt these routes, but I will gladly return if it means revisiting the beauty of the Czech countryside. Until then, I'll happily continue training my skills in Prague!
Andrew Guastaferro is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic. He is currently a senior at Chapman University.
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