Gym climbing is a very pale reflection of rock climbing, sanitized and cleaned up.  It closely resembles rock climbing but it is quite different,

For one thing, the holds are not going to break when you use them and they are obvious and their difficulty is known. None of this is true on outdoor rock where you also have weather (cold or hot, lightning, wind, etc), some sort of approach march, possible falling rock, and other assorted challenges of the outdoors.

Gyms have their place.  They are great for working on technique and perfecting moves, building strength, etc. but they are deficient in many characteristics that make rock climbing challenging and fun.

Hip belays are rarely employed today, for obvious reasons.   The belayer sits and braces herself firmly.  The rope attached to the climber runs around the waist and is held by the braking hand, usually the right hand (if right handed).  You stop a fall by increasing your grip on the rope.  Padding around the waist is a good idea.  From the same era, you also have the body rappel, also relying on body friction.

I am genuinely sorry you have only flat ground.  There must be something not too far away.  If not, heed Horace Greeley - "Go West, Young Man!!"

They give merit badges for gym climbing??

 

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