If you’re looking to add a little more excitement and adventure to your ordinary hike, then you might want to consider rock climbing. While climbing takes a lot of practice before you can actually apply the skills on real mountains, it’s never too late to start your climbing education. Interested in trying it out? Then follow these steps and be on your way to rock climbing in no time!
1. Visit Your Local Rock Climbing Gym
Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to find a climbing gym in your neighborhood or a few towns away. At most gyms, you can sign up for a course, take lessons, practice on your own with a membership fee, and meet other rock-climbing enthusiasts to help teach you the ropes…literally.
2. Strengthen Your Other Muscles
Practicing at the climbing gym is a great way to get yourself in shape, but there are also other parts of your body you’ll be needing to work out. Spend some time at the regular gym or doing fitness hikes, where you can work on your cardio and other muscles. Rock climbing is definitely a full body workout, and the more you can prepare everything you have, the better.
3. Get Yourself Equipped
Any rock climber, whether still at the beginner level or the extreme level, needs to have the necessary gear. If you’re just starting out, make sure you have:
- Comfortable clothes that aren’t too loose or open
- Chalk bag and chalk
- Rock shoes (though a good pair of running shoes should suffice)
(Tip: Most rock climbing gyms have equipment you can rent, until you’re ready to buy your own).
And, for those who are experienced and are ready to hit the real world:
- Belay device like the “GRIGRI”
- Carabiners and quick draws
- A crack-climbing trad rack, which you can make yourself to carry your necessary equipment
- Crash pads for bouldering
- Accessories including chalk, sandpaper, brush, helmet and/or bandana
- Bandages and wraps
Keep in mind that there are many different types of rock climbing, so double check what you’ll need.
4. Break In Your Gear
No matter how much climbing gear you have at your disposal, it’s not useful unless you break in everything. Get to the indoor gym or the mountain nearby to get comfortable wearing your new shoes and using the gear. You wouldn’t want to find out how that you’re gear is unreliable and uncomfortable when you’re already halfway up the mountain.
5. Make Friends, Meet Mentors
It might be a bit of a stereotype, but rock climbers in general tend to get a reputation for being very friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic about the sport. Do you know someone like this? We wouldn’t be surprised. Rock climbers have a lot to depend on when it comes to choosing a good friend and spotter, and therefore, it would be hard to find someone that isn’t as attentive to you as they’d want you to be to them. Rock climbing is an excellent way to make great friends that will push you and support you into achieving your goals.
6. Watch and Learn
Don’t forget to spend as much time watching others climbs as you do practicing. By watching other climbers, you can pick up their strategies and techniques when it comes to conquering a wall. Even record yourself climbing and see what things you might need to improve on. Take notes, ask questions, and learn from your mistakes.
7. Gain Important Skills
Rock climbing is a lot more than physical work. It also incorporates mental skill. What’s just as important as your strength is your ability to read routes. Before climbers begin, they are always evaluating the best way to go up. Then, rock climbers have a warm up routine to get the blood flowing. They know how to feel the wall, using their instincts to evaluate where to go after each step. Lastly, rock climbers should know how to have a proper grip. If you’re grabbing too hard on a piece of rock, you will not only strain your muscles, but likely put yourself in a very scary position. Stay close to the wall, improve your balance each time, and learn how to shift your body weight accordingly.
8. Never Rush or Take on More Than You Can Handle
Especially if you’re the newbie in a group of experienced climbers, you’ll probably be eager to do as much as they are. However, don’t forget that they were all the same as you at one point. While it might be tempting to push yourself, that may only result in setting you back much further than where you originally started. Take your time.
9. Let Go
Don’t take this one literally, please. But seriously, even for people who aren’t afraid of heights in the slightest, rock climbing can still be a terrifying thing. You might find yourself getting hesitant before a climb, feeling butterflies in your stomach, and closing your eyes hoping it all doesn’t go to hell. You’re not the only one feeling this way, and the best way to conquer your fears and your goals is by just letting it all go.
Rock climbing is not only an incredible workout and so much fun, but it’s a way to connect with nature it such a unique way. Try it on your next outdoor adventure.!