Nothing makes you feel quite as victorious and strong as successfully completing a climb and soaking in the unbeatable view. However, nothing can make you feel quite as terrified as being suspended high above the ground.
Here are some rock climbing tips to keep in mind if you are looking to dive into the adventurous and exhilarating world of climbing. Hiking—sure. Biking—no problem. But rock climbing? That’s one athletic adventure that has always seemed slightly beyond our reach.
1. Go with someone who knows what they’re doing.
There are plenty of things that can be learned by studying up online and reading a manual made for dummies, but climbing definitely isn’t one of them. There are a lot of moving parts in the climbing process—specific knots to be tied, routes to be followed, and precautions to be taken. Consequences of mistakes in any of these areas can be severe, so make sure to start out with someone who is experienced and is willing to show you the ropes—literally.
2. Understand the equipment, then trust it.
Climbing is scary by nature. It’s hard to fathom that simple objects like carabiners, harness straps, and ropes have the ability to secure your body as you hurdle it over a rock face—but they do. When you are confident that you are safe, you can let go of fear and embrace adventure. Before climbing, test all the different aspects of the equipment and do your best to learn how each part works.
3. Start on an easier route to build your confidence
Sure, scaling a 5.12 (what is a 5.12?) cliff on your first try would be amazing, but getting in over your head too quickly could sour your experience and prevent you from pursuing and enjoying climbing in the future. Give the bunny slopes a shot at first—you can always work your way up. To step up your game, focus on technique and strength training.
4. There is always a hold
There will be moments when you are frozen on the rock, absolutely positive there is no where else for you to go and convinced you are destined to be stuck in that spot forever. This isn’t true. Though you may have to get creative to find it, there will always be a hold. Look horizontally, below you, and for areas you can reach on your tiptoes.
5. You need the right gear
Try climbing without proper shoes one time and you’ll realize how essential great gear is for great climbing. If you want to give climbing a shot but you’re not ready to commit to pricy gear quite yet, borrow gear from a friend or rent it from an outdoor retailer. When you are ready for some real gear, be sure to get properly fitted and do the research required to find the gear that best fits your needs.