To the Top

Jenny Rogers

After viewing it from afar for the last few years, on Friday I finally took a stab at ascending the climbing wall at Scioto Audubon Metro Park, located just south of Downtown. I took part in one of the twice monthly night climbs, when the park stays open (and lit, thankfully) until midnight. As I haven't climbed in more than a decade, it was an exhilarating experience, to say the least. But it was also incredibly cool to see just how robust the Columbus climbing community is.

I inquired park manager Marshall Reese about advice for first-timers, so that you, too, can tackle the largest free outdoor climbing wall in North America.

How long has the park offered night climbing?

We started doing this once a month, from April through September, about two years ago. It was so popular that we've extended it to the second and last Fridays of the month.

What should first-time climbers know?

First, you have to bring your own equipment. And I'd suggest checking out The Outdoor Source or another spot [like Vertical Adventures] to learn the basics before you come. Once you've done it a few times, you should be good to go.

Come with someone who's an experienced climber. We also have a lot of regulars here during night climbs … a big community … and they're happy to help out.

Any other opportunities to learn?

We offer a climbing class for beginners once a month. It's free; just call the ranger (614-202-5197) to find out when the next one will be offered.