So you’ve finally tried your hand at rock climbing and it turns out you love it! The physical challenge, the social aspects, the problem solving, the feeling of defying gravity – you’ve been hooked by it all. Are you wondering how to get from first-time gumby to proficient expert as quickly as possible? That’s where we come in with our very best rock climbing tips for beginners.
TIPS ON GETTING STARTED ROCK CLIMBING
1. CLIMB WHENEVER YOU CAN. When you are starting out, there is no substitution for spending as much time as possible actually climbing. Climbing gyms are a great resource as they offer many routes spanning a wide range of difficulties and styles. Gyms are also a great place to pick up tips by observing others.
2. TAKE AN INTRO TO CLIMBING COURSE at your local climbing gym. Intro courses are especially vital if you will be doing any rope climbing. Instructors will teach you how to belay safely, how to tie a figure eight follow through knot and how to communicate effectively.
3. FIND A MENTOR in the community. With the rise in popularity of modern climbing gyms, rock climbing mentorship is becoming less common. If you can find a trusted expert in your community who is willing to mentor you, you can benefit immensely from his or her knowledge.
4. CONSIDER SETTING PERSONAL GOALS to help motivate you. These can be as simple as managing your fear of falling, learning a new technique, or pushing yourself into a new grade range. Ensure that your goals are SMART: Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Timely.
5. START A CLIMBING JOURNAL to track your mental and physical progress. If you transition to climbing outdoors, consider joining an online track-your-climbing platform like 8a or Sendage. These sites are community spaces where people can share and view climbs they’ve completed and get psyched to try new things.
6. MAKE A LIST OF PLACES YOU WOULD LOVE TO CLIMB. Rock climbing trips can take you to some breathtaking corners of the world. A few Adventure Junkies suggestions include: Yosemite, California. Kalymnos, Greece. Rocklands, South Africa. Chiang Mai, Thailand. Blue Mountains, Australia.
TECHNIQUES TO BECOME A BETTER ROCK CLIMBER
7. CLIMBING IS MUCH MORE ABOUT TECHNIQUE THAN BRUTE STRENGTH. Any experienced climber will tell you that being a GOOD climber is key when you are just starting out. Learn good movement, careful footwork, balance, and body positioning before worrying about getting stronger.
8. LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR FEET EFFECTIVELY. Careful, intentional foot placements can increase the control you have over your climbing. Great climbing begins with great footwork – watch any expert and you’ll find their foot placements are always silent and deliberate. A great way to practice is by adding footwork drills into your warm up.
9. TRY TO KEEP YOUR ARMS STRAIGHT and make use of your skeletal advantage. Holding yourself up with bent arms (a lock-off position) is extremely tiring and will build up the lactic acid in your forearms, pumping you out in no time.
10. KEEP YOUR CENTER OF GRAVITY (COG) LOW, CLOSE TO THE WALL, AND ABOVE YOUR BASE OF SUPPORT. This will help you to use the big muscles in your legs more, dissuading you from pulling in too much with your arms. It will also make it easier to maintain stable balance while resting and while moving.
These tips will help stay ahead of your league in rock climbing.