Where Penguins Dare

Climbing in gym clothes gets old. Sportrock offers a glamorous night of climbing and diving with the black tails “Penguin Climb.”

By Robby Osborne

Photo courtesy of Kian McKellar.

Sometimes people just want to look fancy. This Tuesday, Sportrock in Alexandria  offers a chance to do just that with their sixth annual Penguin Climb on April 15. Both ladies and gentlemen are encouraged to dig deep through their closets to find their “best” formal wear to come climb. Who says that prom dresses can only be worn once? Though after climbing in it, there is a chance that dress may never be worn again. Though, this year, it’s been re-branded as Tux Day, in honor of 1040’s  everywhere. 

How did an event like this get started? “It grew out of our management team reminiscing about prom, joking how everyone still had their gowns,” said Jessica Lewis, director of marketing and youth programs. “It seemed like such a funny juxtaposition – the rugged nature of rock climbing against dainty dresses and tuxedos.” While it isn’t black tie exclusive, climbers are greatly encouraged to try, even if its only putting a tie over a bare chest.

Female formal-wear presents a problem, as dresses do not allow for safety harnesses to be worn, which is mandatory for all climbers. “The ladies have to cut holes in their dresses if they plan to do any roped climbing to make room for their harnesses so it is fun to watch a lot of the ‘alterations’ that take place once they arrive,” said Lewis. 

Some clothes just live inside a closet, never seeing the light of day. Sportrock will be collecting clothing to donate on Tux Night as well. The clothing donated provides business attire for those looking to re-enter the work force.

“This year, we are looking at either Suited to Change, Strive DC or Goodwill, but the final decision will depend on the quantity and quality of what we receive,” said Lewis.

Sportrock Climbing Center
5308 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, 22304 
703-212-7625, sportrock.com
April 15; $14