7 Tips for Learning to Rock Climb!

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional
7 Tips for Learning to Rock Climb! blog image

7 Tips for Learning to Rock Climb!

This blog was written by one of the summer interns, Elizabeth. She attends the University of Missouri- Columbia, majoring in Strategic Communication with a minor in Psychology. You can follow her on Twitter: @solomoneg.

Everyone talks about working out during the summer to keep up that beach-ready body, but nobody wants to work out in the heat— not only is it uncomfortable to sweat when it’s already hot outside, but it can lead to sunburn, dehydration and even heat stroke. So what can you do?

Try indoor rock climbing.

Not only is an indoor workout facility well air conditioned, but there are generally water fountains and healthy snacks available to keep your energy up. Plus, with rock climbing, it’s all about what level of difficulty is right for you. There are many sections with ropes you can harness into, and they all have different levels, generally noted on the wall itself. Some are easy, comprised mainly of large plastic rocks with deep grooves in the top to hold onto, while others are harder— the rocks may be smaller, or smooth so that they’re difficult to grab. No matter what, it’s a great workout because you’re lifting your own body weight up the wall! Here are some tips for making the most out of your climbing experience:

-Wear sneakers with strong grips. Don’t use old shoes, because they’ll be more likely to slip off of your footholds. This is especially important with the autobelay system, because if you slip off while using it you’ll go down. However, you will always go safely and at a slow pace when coming down. With someone actually belaying you, you’ll stay right in place until you want to come down.

-Wear longer shorts. The harness is made of a seatbelt material, which can rub against your legs and cause discomfort if your shorts aren’t long enough. Also keep in mind that your shorts may ride up while climbing!

-Trim your nails before you go. Sometimes if the next handhold is a farther reach from you, you can give a little jump to try to grab it. However, you can jam your finger and if your nails are too long, you’ll break them. Keep them short!

-If you have long hair, put it up. Many people think that just because climbing isn’t aerobic, you can leave your hair hanging, but it can get caught in your ropes (or a chain, if you’re lead climbing, but that’s not recommended for beginners). This can be a safety hazard!

-Leave the chewing gum behind. Yes, there are very attractive people going to these gyms that would be fun to flirt with, and you can keep your breath minty fresh with gum, but you can choke on it if you suddenly slip from your position.

-Check your knots before you climb, even if someone experienced ties them. When you’re being tied into the rope, rather than using carabiners, check to make sure the figure 8 knot has 5 sets of parallel rope. The first is before the knot, the second is after the knot, and there are three in the knot itself. If you aren’t sure, ask a staff member to check it out!

-Most importantly, have fun! Climbing is a great way to challenge yourself and really build muscle, and the sense of accomplishment once you get to the top of a difficult wall is great. Climb on!