After some waiting, a new climbing device was installed at the Brookside Education Center.
The equipment, dubbed a kilter board, is a small climbing space with handles lit by LED lights, said Alex Hagen, senior fellow at Albert Lea Community Education Experiential Ed.
The meeting of the Board of Directors began on April 8th and concluded on April 24th.
According to Hagen, the climber uses an app to select which holds to use, with the board illuminating which holds to use to climb.
“There’s a database of climbs that people have done on other Kilter boards around the world,” he said. “I think there are over 20,000 different grip combinations in this database right now.”
Hagen said a kilterboard is a great training tool for intermediate climbers, but is also accessible to everyone.
“It expands the climbing area of our climbing gym exponentially,” he said. “It also expands our connection to the climbing world with this large database of different routes.”
Hagen said the board, which opened to the general public on Tuesday, should see plenty of use. He also had the opportunity to test it out before the general opening.
“I’ve climbed boards like this before,” he said. “They’ve always been great fun. It’s always with the ability to change which LEDs light up and change the routes. You always find something new.”
According to Hagen, because the grips don’t have to be changed, route setting with the board is instantaneous, which isn’t possible with a top-roping wall.
The board, which took a few weeks to assemble, is 8ft by 16ft, and that size allows them to expand climbing options exponentially.
“It’s something that we submitted in the fall as an idea for expanding the program,” he said. “So thought about the winter. Our director, Chris Chalmers, did a lot of online research, a lot of correspondence… trying to figure out if something like this would fit our space and be feasible for us.”
However, there was a problem upon arrival. You received an incorrect part.
“I pretty much put everything together and then found out that we [had] a wrong part,” he said.
So they contacted the Kilter Board company and sent the part over.
The Kilter Board is located at the Rock Gym at Brookside Education Center, and Hagen says there are two others in the state. The board has the ability to go from 0 degrees overhang to 70 degrees.
“It’s kind of a way of reaching out to Albert Lea and introducing him to the world of climbing,” he said.
According to Chalmers, the board cost about $30,000, with money for it coming from Community Education Enrichment Funds.
Attendance at the Rock Gym and Boathouse for the next two years is free for all preschoolers through 12th grade, but pre-registration is required (register at alschools.ce.eleyo.com). Opening times for the via ferrata are Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
“I’m just super excited to have the opportunity for people in Albert Lea to experience the Kilter Board,” Hagen said. “I think it’s a great addition to our community and I hope people see (use) it.”