Rock climbing is often considered a dangerous sport, and it is, if you do not know your shit. However, being a surgeon is also dangerous if you do not know what you’re doing, and so is driving a car. There is a multi-faceted process involved in climbing, and if you take it step by step it becomes a lot safer. Let’s break down that process.
Part 1: Physical Fitness
Like many things in life there is a long process that goes into being able to climb a mountain. There is the process of getting into shape. That process is universal for any physical feat. You have to have a combination of strength, flexibility, and endurance to complete any difficult climb. So if you have an inkling to get into the sport, but don’t know where to begin, start with hitting a few sets of pull ups, push ups, body weight squats, core exercises, and yoga after you finish reading this. This article would be way longer if we were to break down some helpful regiments for that, and therefore we will save that for another article, as this is more of an overview of the big picture.
Part 2: Technique
Strength is only part of the battle when it comes to athleticism in any sport. In basketball, if no one ever teaches you the proper form for shooting, chances are your ability to get better will stagnate quicker because you took the technique of shooting a basketball for granted. The same goes for climbing. Proper technique can make something that seems very hard, become a lot easier when proper technique is applied. The best way to gain proper climbing technique is to begin climbing immediately at a gym or outside. The more you climb the more your brain figures out how to position your body efficiently for all the types of climbs there are. Gyms are great because you are able to witness people who are better than you complete climbs that seem impossible. Furthermore, you’re able to communicate and get advice or “beta” from fellow climbers.
Part 3: Knowledge
In climbing, more than most sports, you must be a student. Climbing any large mountain takes a great amount of knowledge to properly manage risk and safety. The good news is if you know what you are doing, it is quite safe. But here’s the catch…if you don’t know what you’re doing you could die. That’s the punch line for every lesson as you are beginning to learn how to climb multi-pitch routes (large mountains) outside. So you can never take for granted how important it is to learn your ropes, anchors, proper gear placement etc.
To once again emphasize the process, if you are new to climbing and you dream of climbing awe inspiring mountains, it is possible for you to do it, but it will take time and that begins now with that pull up set that I mentioned earlier. After that, you will want to join a gym, start learning technique, and meet other climbers more knowledgeable than you. Then you can begin to climb outside with others, who can safely set up the ropes and gear as you expand your skill-sets from top-roping and bouldering, to lead climbing, mutli-pitch, and trad climbing. You’ll know what those words mean by the time you’re doing any of them so don’t worry about that. It’s a lot of work but one hell of an adventure and 100% recommended.
We’ll see you on the wall and remember, Don’t Half Ass Anything.