Rock climbing is an exciting and invigorating sport that attracts participants of all skill levels and ages. Moreover, you don’t need to live in the Rocky Mountains to partake in the sport. Due to its popularity, rock climbing is found in many suburban and urban areas and takes the shape of indoor centers filled with walls of varying heights and degrees of difficulty. Here’s how to start off right and safely.
Join a Gym
Use search engines, Yellow Pages, and friends and family suggestions to shop for a rock climbing gym. A gym provides a new climber with several advantages. For one, a gym is a controlled environment with trained staff on site. In addition to adding a layer of security and control, professionals provide suggestions and encouragement to new climbers. Secondly, one can rent gear at the gym rather than make an investment in a sport they are not completely committed to yet. Thirdly, a gym offers a community, a place filled with climbers of all skill levels who can provide insight and accompaniment.
Know a Bit
Rock climbing requires an infinite amount of strength, endurance, creativity, and skill but it’s not rocket science. Special yet a limited amount of gear is used to work way up mountain sides as an individual or in small teams. Beginners may practice technique when bouldering. Bouldering necessitates creative and skilled maneuvers yet does not require the climber to be high off of the ground. Practicing close to the ground limits chance of injury yet teaches basic technique. As one progresses, they learn about sport, trad, top rope, and lead climbing.
Get Familiar with the Gear
A range of brands and models are related to the sport but only a handful of gear is needed to climb. A climber needs a harness, shoes, chalk bag, belay device, and carabiners. Shop owners suggest investing in a chalk bag, harness, and belay device to start. One could shop for used shoes since beginner climbers quickly eat away at the rubber. When in doubt, ask knowledgeable staff or use online resources to learn about rock climbing gear. The limited amount of gear allows climbers to couple trips with other sports. A sports vehicle, such as a Jeep Renegade, has room for gear and is comfortable enough to take on long trips.
Prepare for the Learning Curve
Experts and seasoned practitioners make it look easy. Great climbers scale walls with ease but it takes years of practice. Trainers encourage new climbers to be resilient and patient, realizing it takes months to ‘learn the ropes’ and to climb safely. There is no substitute for practice. Every new climber has difficulties with a few or all aspects of the activity. Learning to use your arms, fingers, and legs in harmony requires repetition and muscle training.
Aspire to Advanced Climbs
After some time and training a beginner may aspire to more challenging trials. For example, lead climbing requires a ‘leader’ who clips the rope into a mountainside; it’s riskier since the lead climber will fall at least twice the distance from the last clip. The momentum and ultimate progress of the climb relies on the lead.
Ewan Bibi started rock climbing when he was 18 after an adventure break away with the lads got him, no puns intended, hooked! Keen to share his passion with others seeking a new hobby, Ewan writes for sporting, adventure, and travel and lifestyle blogs.
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