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Best Indoor Rock-Climbing Gym Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 1999 - Coral Cliffs

Before opening his indoor gym of faux rock walls last spring, Coral Cliffs owner Robert Christiansen had a 1400-foot wide, 25-foot tall section of the warehouse space he leases covered with foot- and handholds comprising 23 routes -- from a ladderlike beginner's climb to contortionist-only extreme routes. And working by himself he's gradually expanded the climbing face, working toward a goal of covering a 7000-foot-wide section. Even as he's done so, those original routes have been tweaked periodically, offering a continually changing selection of climbs. As a long-time climber himself (he provides free instruction), Christiansen knows that variety is the spice of climbing and wants to provide that for vertically starved South Floridians looking for ever-new scaling challenges. Tape, in a rainbow of colors, marks the different climbs, and each attempt on the wall is kept safe using a buddy system of climber and belayer. The belayer is the person on the ground attached to the climber by a rope between his or her harness and the climber's; the rope is strung through a pulley system that makes light work of stopping a fall.

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