Hello! With the weather starting to get warmer in most parts of the country, you may be looking for a new outdoor activity to try. How about rock climbing? Today’s post is about 5 tips for new rock climbers, a guest post by James Anderson. Enjoy!
If you’ve just decided to pick up rock climbing, it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. With all there is to learn about the techniques, gear, and potential hazards, it might seem as though you should have started ages ago. However overwhelming as it may seem, keep your perseverance and focus on the rewarding feeling of pushing your body beyond its limitations and seeing the world in a brand new light. Rock climbing can take you to beautiful places and teach you about who you are and how you respond to challenges.
Find a Guru
Before you purchase any equipment or set any goals, find someone who can share some insight and personal experience. You can read a million books on how to climb a mountain, but real encounters with those trained in the skill can really fill you with inspiration as well as give you practical tips. It’s important to be able to ask open-ended questions and create a dialogue about your expected goals.
Set Your Goal
Determine your objective in learning to rock climb. Will it be something to try out on an occasional weekend, or could it be something you wish to expand and evolve with at a more rapid pace? Plan accordingly, and set your first goal; decide on the altitude you wish to reach, the location, and the circumstance. There are many climbing tour guides who gladly take up fairly inexperienced climbers and help to ensure a safe adventure. This might be a good idea for someone who has limited knowledge, and if you wish to do it less formally, it’s still advisable to have a more experienced climber accompany you. Also, try to choose a location with fairly consistent weather, so you’re not battling harsh weather conditions your first go-around.
Never Skimp on Gear
It’s vital to buy the highest quality gear. Good equipment can be what stands between you and a fatal accident, and it’s important to never rush into buying anything. Talk with professionals about your purchases, and never buy used climbing gear online from an unreliable source. Immersing yourself deep into the climbing culture doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s important to plan out the smallest details when it comes to your purchases. Harnesses, ropes, shoes, helmets, and quality carabiners can add up fast, so plan your equipment budget accordingly.
Be sure to take adequate measures in preserving the quality of your equipment. Never keep your climbing gear in your trunk, stuffed in a cluttered closet, or shoved on a shelf in the garage as improper storage can lead to chipped edges, frayed ropes, and lost pieces. Get in the habit of neatly storing your equipment in a place that’s designated solely for it such as a
gym locker or storage unit. Take Community Classes
Most community recreational centers, and even some universities, offer rock climbing classes that involve practicing on an indoor rock wall so you can get comfortable scaling up and down a rock-like surface without any severe risks. Taking a class with an instructor can help improve your agility, reflexes, positions, and posture. It’s never a wise idea to first try rock climbing on a real mountain, and having someone walk you through your first few times in a safe environment is one of the best ways to improve your skills.
Tone and Build
Once you have a clear image of what you wish to accomplish as well as some basic skills down, start getting your body ready. Go on hikes as often as possible to build up stamina, and make sure that your body can meet the physical demands to meet your goals. It’s advised to slowly build up your tolerance to altitude as many new climbers experience altitude sickness. Pay attention on your hikes if you experience any headaches, dizziness, or nausea, and use that to help set the parameters of your first rock climbing adventure.
Cut out any lifestyle habits that can hold back your physical endurance; obviously, smoking is a horrible idea for anyone wishing to strengthen their ability to withstand higher altitudes. It’s highly advised to focus on strengthening the forearms and biceps (exercising these helps with grip strength), but even though rock climbing focuses largely on upper body strength, it’s important to tone all areas of the body as your core and lower body play a huge part in balance.
Rock climbing can be a huge adrenalin rush, and surrendering yourself to the whole experience can be breathtaking and liberating. As tempting as it is to want to dive right in, safe planning and patience open the doors to smoothly transition from climbing indoor rock walls to scaling international cliffs.
About the author: James Anderson is a sports enthusiast, survivalist and blogger born and raised in West Virginia. He writes about
lockers and secure storage for www.schoollockers.com. Have you ever tried rock climbing? What is your favorite outdoor activity?