Not a week goes by in which we don’t hear from Elizabeth Floersch on social media. She’s especially active on Twitter, sharing her BKB adventures with her followers and with us here at Brooklyn Boulders Chicago. Obviously, we took notice and wanted to meet the social media maven who couldn’t contain her love of weekly climbs at our gym. It also didn’t hurt that she became one of our most passionate and vocal supporters of Ladies Night, our weekly discounted climb for women ($19 for a day pass with gear included).
When it came time to find our next Community Spotlight feature, we knew Elizabeth was the right choice. Read on for her climbing story and how Ladies Night helps her maintain climbing in her regular routine.
When did you first hear about BKB Chicago and how long have you been climbing with us?
I first visited BKB Chicago in February 2015 – it was actually for a Valentine’s date! How cool of a date is that? I understood the climbing gym was relatively new at that time and I was thrilled to discover the gym was located very close to my home. Since then, I have been climbing at BKB Chicago on a near weekly basis. I love the late hours of the gym and the accessibility via public transit, bicycle, or even my car (street parking near the gym is a breeze!)
Did you have previous experience climbing?
When I was in my late teens and early 20s, one of my best guy friends on the planet built a small, adjustable, indoor climbing wall in his apartment. It was AWESOME. He and my other climbing buddies made it their mission to teach me to climb and boulder properly on that wall before I climbed anything outdoors. Back in those days, we were broke kids with very little money, so climbing outdoors was really our only option aside from my buddy’s home wall. We lived within walking distance of the Northern Illinois University campus at the time, but there were minimal climbing opportunities on the campus including no climbing wall in the university gym. So, we started climbing trees and buildings on campus (that’s still a secret from campus security even a decade after the fact! Wink wink!) Eventually, we began taking weekend road trips up to Devil’s Lake, or out to the Mississippi Palisades.
I felt extra special because I was the only girl my guy friends would take with them on these trips; I knew that they trusted me as a climber and they also encouraged my love for climbing. I remember the one time we all pooled money together to drive into Naperville & climb at the then brand-new Vertical Endeavors. Indoor climbing in a gym like that was an entirely different world than what I was used to. I was more used to being face to face with real, honest rock, up against not only the elements but oftentimes the wildlife (I have a great story of being surrounded by a swarm of bees on a rock face, but I’ll leave that for another time.).
I also absolutely love the sense of community I’ve experienced at BKB. My fellow climbers have always been so kind, generous, & most of all encouraging.
Why do you enjoy climbing? Has your experience with climbing changed since climbing with us?
I love the full body workout I get climbing at BKB, which also includes a mental workout. Sometimes I feel like my evenings climbing at BKB are my “me time,” my “zen time,” or even my stress relief, if you will. I get to let go of everything else and focus on the climb. I have grown stronger as a climber during the past months as I find myself topping routes I previously couldn’t, while gaining confidence in the progress.
I’ve been studying ballet at a school in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood since 2011 and climbing offers me a chance to cross-train while giving my legs, ankles, and feet an extra strength-building workout. I also absolutely love the sense of community I’ve experienced at BKB. My fellow climbers have always been so kind, generous, and most of all encouraging. That’s something that’s unique and wonderful about climbing – while it might get competitive, there is always a sense of togetherness, plus an overall attitude of friendship and fellowship. I see familiar faces every time I climb. Everyone in the gym is quick with a smile and more often than not, quick with kind words of encouragement.
Tell us about your first experience at Ladies Night.
Ladies Night is my JAM. Last summer, my ancient Honda Accord succumbed to a common Chicago fate – it was stolen. In the trunk of my stolen Honda was all of my climbing gear (and my favorite hiking boots! RIP, boots!). When police recovered the vehicle, my stinky, old gear was all missing. To this day, I’m not sure what the point was of stealing my grubby and honestly stinky gear, but I digress.
After I first climbed at BKB, I started following BKB Chicago on Twitter. I saw a Tweet about a Ladies Night that was hugely successful – so successful, that BKB decided to make it a weekly event. I remember reading that tweet at 7 o’clock on a Saturday morning and doing a happy dance in my bed. Since I had no gear of my own at the time (thumbs down, thieves!), getting a discounted climbing day pass PLUS gear rental included in the price every week was a serious score (thumbs up, BKB!)
I really feel that’s something special about the climbing community as a whole, but even more so at BKB Chicago. Other climbers are approachable. Conversations in the gym come easy.
Why do you continue to climb with us on Ladies Night?
Even though I have replaced my gear (shout outs to Joe for the perfect harness and to Scott for the beautiful shoes! Awesomest birthday gifts EVER!), the Ladies Night special is still a great deal for someone like me. I’m a working single momma. My dollars are sparse, and it’s honestly tough for me to purchase a membership or 10-punch up front, but even this working single momma needs a night out of the house to climb. I love that my nights out frequently are spent climbing at BKB thanks to the Ladies Night special. I’m so grateful that BKB offers an array of pricing & specials to make the gym accessible.
Have you made friends with anyone in the BKB community since you started climbing with us?
Friends are so easy to come by at BKB. After a few climbs, I started recognizing faces and introducing myself to other climbers. I really feel that’s something special about the climbing community as a whole, but even more so at BKB Chicago. Other climbers are approachable. Conversations in the gym come easy. Everyone I’ve met is super laid back, friendly, and there to climb on. I’m lucky to have made friendships at BKB that I maintain outside of the gym (I’m looking at you, Scott!) & to have met one of the best fellas alive while casually hanging out between climbs during a Ladies Night (looking right at you, Joe! You’re amazing!).
What do you do when you’re outside of BKB?
I am a happy momma to a brilliant & precocious little boy who is almost 2 years old. He seems to be a natural climber – or maybe all kids are? He wants to scale things like bookshelves and playground equipment now (which is sort of heart-attack inducing for me!) I’m hoping to nourish and transform that natural inner-climber of his when he gets older, should he show an interest in rock climbing.
Additionally, I work from home for a fantastic small business. It’s a typical 9-5 style job, just without the commute, office clothing, or weird office politics. I’ve been with this company for 5 years now and I couldn’t be luckier. I also enjoy running organized 5Ks, studying ballet at Chicago’s St. Nicholas School of the Arts, biking around the city, reading, and keeping close to my family, friends, and loved ones.