Made a quick stop at EMS after work this evening to pick up an ATC and locking carabiner. Ended up going with the Black Diamond Big Air Package, as it came with both pieces of equipment for a reasonable price of $29.50 (before my 15% Sportrock discount!). There are several types of ATCs available these days; Black Diamond alone has four, each with varying features depending on the type of climbing you are doing. The most basic model (aptly named “ATC”) is the one I am most familiar with and will suit me just well for indoor climbing at Sportrock. As I get more advanced, and start doing outdoor and higher profile climbs, I may need to upgrade to a different model, such as the ATC-XP.
As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow marks the first of three FF1 classes at Sportrock. I’m going to get there a little early and see if I can knock out my belay certification before the class (I think you are supposed to have that certification to even register for the class, but no one expressed anything to me). Fortunately, I remember all my knots, verbal commands and techniques from when I got my belay certification at JMU back in 2003. I should be able to waltz in, complete the test and move on to learning how to lead climb!