GETTING STARTED

So you’ve never climbed in your life…..Well you're in the right place!

why you should start climbing

Climbing is the single greatest sport in the world.

It requires focus, yet a calm and relaxed presence. It uses a range of cardio and power coupled with delicate and balanced movement. It can be done alone, with friends, or with a team. Your age doesnt even matter! Climbing can encompass all aspects of a great workout while being mentally stimulating and fun. No matter the physical or mental mindset, anyone is capable of climbing and having an amazing time.

How to start

Getting started is as easy as:

  1. Finding a climbing gym nearby.

  2. Going to the gym and buying a guest pass and renting some equipment.

  3. ...and you're done! Start climbing!

A Brief History of Climbing in the United States

Rock climbing, as the sport we know it as today, started out in the 1800s as what we think of today as mountaineering. One of the first "rock climbers" was John Muir.

 

Over the next 100 years, many people attempted climbing more and more difficult rock features that had never been climbed before. New materials and equipment were invented that helped people to push the limits of mountaineering.

Climbing really started to take off right around World War II with the invention of nylon rope and access to cheap metal pitons or rock anchors. Some of the pioneers of rock climbing were John Salathe, Warren Harding, and Royal Robbins. They were some of the first people to start climbing in Yosemite Valley. (That's where the movie 'Free Solo' is). These guys climbed straight up rock faces, like we do today, but they relied heavily on their equipment. Today we call this aid climbing.

Soon better shoes were invented that were better suited for gripping rock than hiking boots. This made it possible to make free climbing more mainstream. Free climbing is what you will be doing in a climbing gym; it is when you climb only using your hands and feet.

Below are the basics of what you need to know before you go to the gym.

The Basics

Bouldering

  • Maximum 15ft walls

  • No ropes, just padding

  • Only need shoes and chalk

Top Roping

  • Up to 50ft walls normally

  • Need belay certification

  • Need shoes, chalk, and a harness

Lead Climbing

  • 50ft+ walls

  • Need Lead belay certification

  • Need shoes, chalk, and a harness

Questions, Concerns, and Answers

What do I need to wear?

Clothing that is flexible and that you don’t mind getting dirty. If you have long hair, bring something to tie it back. If you are renting shoes, bring thin socks.

What shouldn’t I wear?

Leave behind any jewelry, smart watches, or expensive clothing. You are climbing hard abrasive surfaces that can damage these items.  Also, there is no need for gloves. Gloves will make it harder to hold on and can make climbing more dangerous.

What equipment do I need to bring?

You don’t need any special equipment. Most gyms will have everything you need available to rent. Usually to rent everything for the day it will cost no more than $10 for the day on top of your guest pass.

What do the numbers mean on the different holds?

These numbers indicate the difficulty or grade of climb. The lowest level is a “V0”, regardless of how strong or in shape you are, it is suggested to always start with a “V0” and then work your way up.

How should the shoes feel?

Pick a shoe size so that your toes are hitting the end of the shoe. If that is uncomfortable or you want something smaller, most gyms will allow you to try on different sizes throughout the day. Climbing shoes are very different from any other shoes. They are designed to work best when standing on the tip of the toe, not when you are walking around. It is actually helpful to have your toes slightly curled within the shoes. 

I have no upper body strength, how am I supposed to do this?

Don’t let that stop you! When climbing, it is actually very important, especially as a beginner, to try and use your feet as much as possible and your hands as little as possible.

I am scared of heights. I can’t climb.

“Fear is your friend, fear is an indicator. Sometimes it shows you what you shouldn’t do. More often than not it shows you exactly what you should do." - Tim Ferriss

 

Climbing is inherently risky. But by being careful and following instructions you can minimize your risk of injury. There is padding everywhere, and all of the equipment is designed to hold objects 10 times your body weight without any issues. This makes it a great way to face your fears and push your boundaries.

It will hurt my fingers.

To be perfectly straight forward, when you start climbing, the plastics holds will not hurt your fingers. Unless holding a rock in your hand is painful, there is nothing to worry about. Although, like any activity, climbing can cause pain from overuse. That is why it is important to use chalk to avoid slipping and do take breaks in between attempts.

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