Hang Time

As I cling to a wall 15 feet off the ground, my guide, Brett, tells me to cut back on the dynos (upward lunges) and climb more with my legs. He’s worried that I’ll blow out my tips. Me, I’m more concerned about a release I signed that holds me responsible for any loss or damage I sustain, including “PERSONAL INJURIES, damage to my PROPERTY, or damages arising out of my DEATH.”

This is indoor rock climbing, and it is a rush. Scaling walls at newly-opened Exposure, Dallas’ first rock-climbing gym. will weaken your legs and quicken your pulse, even though the floor below is covered with tires to break any falls.

Brett Baggett, one of Exposure’s four managers, has me on belay. A purple nylon safety rope runs from my harness, through the eye of a bolt in the ceiling, then back to Brett on the ground. Brett, who can crack walnuts between his thumb and index finger, is a 5.11 climber. In bowling terms, that gives him about a 297 average.

My climb is rated 5.8, and I’m struggling. In bowling terms, I’m at the check-in counter, having trouble renting shoes that fit. The wall is there, though, so I’ve got to climb it. In a desperate move, I ignore Brett’s advice and try another dyno. I spot a handhold above my head and leap for it. Thank heavens for Brett and the purple rope.

Exposure welcomes climbers of all skill levels. (I saw a 5-year-old girl climbing next to a guy who could scale a stained-glass window.) They’re open seven days a week. Classes, equipment rental and daily passes are available. 361-2777.

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