Rock climbing is a strange mixture of the isolated and the shared. The crucial moments involve just you and the rock-face. Yet even in those most extreme seconds there is an awareness of how absolutely you depend on others. Hence the camaraderie amongst climbers is second to none. It is from each other that climbers learn most, and experts are happy to share their skills with beginners.
Be Fit, Be Strong
The route to the top is a repeated cycle of rock and gym. The first requirement for a climber is to be strong. Paige Claassen and Sean McColl agree that gym training needs to be intensive and regular. There are plenty of exercises that contribute to the specific strengths that climbers need, including pull-ups, but above all what matters is to have core strength, so crunches and push-ups will be there are well.
Encounter the Rock
Of course, the point of rock climbing is to climb rocks, so mix gym training and climbing walls with real mountains. You need to develop a relationship with many different sorts of rock, so visit as many sites as you can. If you are lucky enough to have a trusty vehicle like a Jeep Renegade, you can get to remoter places as well as the popular locations, and make a family adventure of every trip.
Chris Schulte recommends that you regularly practice climbing down as well as up. It gives you a different way of looking at the rock and improves your footwork.
Get the Right Shoes
Abby Mood emphasizes the importance of having the right shoes. Good climbing shoes will enable you to stand with confidence on some small holds which will give you a better starting point for a move. Shoes need to fit very snugly, so go a bit smaller than your ordinary footwear.
Listen to Your Body
Your body is designed for a cycle of activity and resting. When you are building muscle and stamina, at least as much happens during the rest periods between exertions as during the activity itself. Some special training regimes involve pushing to the limit and beyond, but as a general rule you should make the rest periods count. When climbing on a wall Abby Mood says to take twice as long resting as working.
Don’t Take Risks with Your Body
Strenuous activity comes with the risk of injury. Will Mayo says you should always be alert to the signs of injury, and when something hurts, stop and find out what is causing it. Above all, build up slowly and, if you have been out of action for a while, don’t expect to go straight back to where you were.
Something for Everyone
Climbing is a great sport for all ages, and one of the best ways in which friends and families can bond. Learning from each other and from experienced climbers can lead to a lifetime of discovering the limits of your body while encountering some of nature’s greatest spectacles.
Mike Reagan first tried rock climbing when he was 18, and no pun intended, he was soon hooked! Mike is a fun-loving, adventure seeking 30 something year old who writes about travel, adrenaline sports and activities.