Outdoor Rock climbers take a pandemic pause for 2 reasons: Social distancing, saving hospital bed space

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A talented group of Colorado athletes has joined the battle against the Coronavirus. These climbers are on the front line of keeping you safe.

Scaling thousands of feet up a cliff isn’t too big of a risk for some extreme sport athletes, but it’s become a different story during the pandemic.

Benjamin Rueck of Grand Junction was one of the many climbers who stopped climbing outdoors during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

It was part of the climbing community’s effort to do their part in stopping the spread of the virus. Climbers abstained from or reduced their amount of outdoor climbing, for a handful of reasons.

“Generally social distancing and to prevent the spread of COVID, because climbing areas are so popular, so you’ll have people congregating in a small space,” says Mike Kimmel, a climbing coach.

“We didn’t want to accidentally get injured and take up a hospital bed that could be used for someone who was sick,” says Rueck.

Though climbing accidents that lead to a hospital visit isn’t all that common, there’s always a risk.”It’s completely unpredictable if a hold will break, or some unknown random factor like getting stuck in a storm,” says Rueck

In the Grand Valley, the climbing season is considered to be in the fall and early spring. This means local climbers had to put aside their climbing objectives in the name of social responsibility. While climbers stopped climbing outdoors, many of them built artificial walls. Though the spring climbing season has passed, climbers like Rueck hope their COVID time training will pay off in the fall.

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