Getting into climbing has a whole bunch of benefits. Not only is it a great form of exercise. it’s a social activity, it allows creativity, and it’s accessible for people at almost any age or skill level! To help you learn how to get started rock climbing, here are 4 simple steps to follow:
- 1). Find Your Type Of Rock Climbing: whether it be indoors or outdoors.
- 2). Prepare Yourself: Learning is key.
- 3). Remain Teachable: Allow others to teach you.
- 3). Equip Yourself With The Right Gear: Find the gear you need as a beginner.
- 4). Learn The Lingo: Learn a few important climbing terms
1). Find Your Type Of Rock Climbing:
Top-roping is a great place to start for people who are new to climbing. This is because beginners can focus on perfecting technique without being scared of taking big falls. The rope is already threaded through an anchor at the top of the route, which greatly reduces the distance you drop when you let go or fall.
There’s a person belaying from the ground to stop the rope if you fall off the wall and to slowly lower you when you’ve completed the route. While indoors is a good place to start, top-roping outdoors is very popular as well.
Bouldering is the most basic form of rock climbing. There are not any ropes or harnesses required. You can do it indoors or outdoors. You can do it indoors alone, but for most climbing with ropes and harnesses, you’ll want to have a partner. You climb closer to the ground than other types of climbing, and there are thick crash pads or mats to cushion your fall. Many climbing gyms have a bouldering area, and some specialize in bouldering specifically.
It’s always a lot more fun with friends, but you don’t need a climbing partner when bouldering indoors (outdoors is usually a different story). For more info on bouldering, and where to go to try out bouldering, check out https://www.boulderbrighton.com/ or https://www.99boulders.com/what-is-bouldering.
Sport climbing is rock climbing while clipping to bolts that were previously drilled into the surface you’re climbing. Like top-roping, you need a harness and a belayer, but there’s a bit more involved.
Using gear called quickdraws (a webbed sling with a carabiner on both ends), you follow a route set specifically for ease of movement and clip onto the bolts for protection on your way up. This lets you climb safely in areas where there are little to no natural cracks or rock features to use for protection.
If you’re sport climbing indoors, it’s also common to have quickdraws already placed on the wall. Sport climbing is generally for more experienced climbers. The reason for this is that if you slip, your fall will be much further than you would if you were top-roping since there isn’t a rope anchored at the top of the route.
Traditional Rock Climbing:
The name speaks for itself. Traditional a.k.a. (trad) climbing is O.G. of rock climbing or an original way to go rock climbing. Since you set up all your points of protection with the gear you bring with you, this type of climbing requires significant skill and training.
With traditional climbing, there’s nothing bolted into the rock you’re climbing and it’s all up to you to carry and place the protection gear in natural weaknesses and cracks in the rock to protect you in case you fall. You then either take the protection out on your way down. Or your partner can take them out as they climb up.
2). Prepare Yourself:
Contrary to what newcomers to the sport might imagine, it’s not necessary to have a crazy amount of upper body strength to start rock climbing. The first secret is knowing that your technique can get you much further than just strength alone.
When you’re starting out, pay attention to your form, balance, and footwork. Watch other climbers in order to see what they’re doing with and their overall positioning while they climb – you’ll be surprised at just how much you can learn by doing this one thing.
Also, keep in mind that the muscles in our lower body are stronger and much bigger than our upper body. So it makes sense for your lower body to do the heavy lifting.
When you’re learning to climb with ropes, you will most likely need a climbing partner to watch your back. Even if you’re going solo, you’ll likely end up getting to know other climbers.
It’s also normal if your hands feel a little tender the first few times you climb, but that’ll change fast as you climb more and the skin on your hands begins to become used to grabbing textured holds.
Don’t Worry So Much:
If you don’t know any others in the rock climbing space, don’t worry about it. You are sure to find friends soon after you get started rock climbing.
Rock climbing is great for beginners because it’s quite inclusive. You can expect to feel welcomed by climbers of all levels and you’ll gain some new friends too! It’s just what comes with the territory of rock climbing.
If you’re learning how to get started rock climbing going rock climbing for the first time, it’s good to learn how to get started rock climbing indoors. There are plenty of indoor climbing gyms in cities all over the place, and you can go in any season.
When you’re learning, it’s also important to remember to celebrate the small wins and set personalized goals. This will help you get frustrated much less because you already know where you are going. All you have to worry about is getting there. For many, that is perfect!
High achievement looks different for everyone, no matter who you are. Maybe it’s finally figuring out a tough situation while on the rock or winning a local competition.
Also, try not to hold yourself back just because you don’t think you can do it. Even the small achievements give as much satisfaction as reaching the highest peaks. All you have to do is allow yourself to celebrate All of the small victories.
Once you’ve learned how to get started rock climbing indoors. You are ready to go climbing outdoors! Now for the real stuff right? Well, don’t get too hasty. Many believe that it is a smart idea to hire a guide when you first begin rock climbing outdoors.
The instructor can give you all the information you need. They will show you where to go and all of your rock climbing questions will be answered. Many indoor climbing gyms can easily find you a climbing guide. It’s more of a safe bet for survival, instead of making a critical mistake when you are all by your lonesome climbing the rock for the first time for real.
Climbing routes are graded on the YDS (Yosemite Decimal System) scale of 5.0–5.15. Bouldering problems are graded on a scale of V0–V17 (known as the V scale).
In rock climbing grades, higher numbers mean greater difficulty. A lot of variables come into play with grades, such as hold sizes and the terrain. Try to think of grades as levels and focus on building your techniques on the rock.
3). Remain Teachable:
Being teachable is a HUGE factor in whether or not you learn quickly. Pay as close attention as you can at all times when you are rock climbing. Remember tht you don’t know everything you need to do until you’ve done it.
If you remain teachable, others will take notice and will have no issue whatsoever with helping you along your way! Everyone has to start at the bottom. However, if you remain teachable throughout all of your beginner times, you will be well on your way to becoming one of the pros!
4). Equip Yourself With The Right Gear:
While you’re learning the basics and learning how to get started rock climbing, you can easily rent all the gear you need at climbing gyms (though some require you to bring your own rope once you advance into lead climbing). However, the rock climbing gear you need depends on the type of climbing you’re doing and how much you want to commit.
You will need more rock climbing equipment as you progress. This is because things will get more technical as you go along. However, if you plan to go rock climbing more than a few times, your first investment should be climbing shoes.
Rock climbing shoes that fit well will help you get a better feel for your footing on the wall. This can seriously boost your learning curve when you’re starting out.
Two Awesome Well-Built Hiking Shoes:
Below are two great rock climbing shoe choices for beginner rock climbers. There are plenty of other pros that will tell you either one of these are the way to go.
The Tenaya Ra Rock Climbing Shoe is a great rock climbing shoe. This rock climbing shoe is made with microfiber, TXT-treated cotton, and thick rubber for maximum sturdiness. Once you have set your foot in these on the rocks, you’ll realize their full value!
The La Sportiva TC Pro Climbing Shoe is one of the very best rock climbing shoes out there. It has a long history and was designed and created with quality and your utmost safety in mind. Made with tough leather and thick rubber, the La Sportiva TC Pro Climbing Shoe is a rock climbing shoe that will last you a long time!
What To Wear:
Comfortable coverage is what you need when it comes to choosing what to wear rock climbing. Your knees are likely to brush up against walls. Wearing long shorts or pants will protect you from small injuries such as cuts and scrapes. As a general rule, aim for an outfit that’s stretchy, yet still comfortable. Try and avoid anything unnecessarily loose that could get in your way.
Let other climber experience what you experience by themselves. With some help, if they ask for it. It’s the same with solving a problem when you’re climbing on the rock. If someone asks you for help, (beta), then you can help them. otherwise, just keep to yourself.
Many climbers call it “spraying beta” when you blurt out instructions to other climbers. You wouldn’t watch a new movie and then talk loudly about the ending of the movie at the same movie the next day.
4). Learn The Lingo:
Some Basic Lingo:
- Send: To successfully climb a route without falling. Understanding climbing grades.
- Crux: The most challenging point of a climbing route.
- Beta: Info about a route. It could include tips on how to start, where to place your feet, or where the trickiest spot is.
- Pumped: Swollen forearms caused by exertion on a route.
- Dyno: Dynamic movement that is bigger than what you can reach the apex of your body. You use momentum to jump from one hold to another.
- Gripped: Feeling overwhelmed and afraid because of an unexpected degree of difficulty, etc.
- Belaying: When your climbing partner uses a device to control the movement of the rope. They feed it out smoothly as you climb up (or take in the rope if you’re top-roping), and stop it from feeding when you need to rest or when you fall.
- Climbing Holds: Jug, crimp, sloper, pinch, and pocket are all different types of climbing holds you’ll get to know when you begin rock climbing.
We hope this how to get started rock climbing guide has helped you understand a little more about rock climbing and where to start! Now, get out there and start smashing through rock climbing your goals!