Colorado climbing community gets creative, sharpens skills indoors amid pandemic

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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado’s climbing community has adjusted to life under social distancing guidelines. While hitting the mountains isn’t an option for many, organizations have stepped up to promote practicing at home. 

“It’s been a little bit of a challenge,” said Michael Arriola-Jacobson, business development manager for Whympr in the U.S.

Whympr is an app people can use to plan, map and track mountain outings and share pictures with other outdoor enthusiasts.

The sudden halt to many outdoor activities amid the coronavirus pandemic prompted Whympr to partner with American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) based in Boulder.

Alex Kosseff, the executive director of AMGA, said the idea is to promote online learning at a time when high-risk activities are not encouraged. The AMGA videos go over specific climbing techniques, some of which climbers can practice in their living rooms. 

“To help people learn in a new way and keep their skills sharp for when they want to venture back outside again,” said Koseff. 

“Whether they are building a small climbing wall at their house or setting up a system to practice these anchor techniques,” said Arriola-Jacobson. 

AMGA does not have an official position on climbers spending time in the mountains, however, Koseff did say this isn’t the time to be taking risks and potentially adding pressure to emergency responders. 

Koseff also mentioned the economic toll the pandemic has has on mountain guides. On the group’s Facebook page, they listed several ways to support mountain guides who are currently out of work.

For more information on the Whympr app and how to access the climbing instructional videos, visit the Whympr facebook page. 

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