Outdoor activities are very popular in the United States. People around the country spend an estimated $1.8 billion every year on camping equipment alone. One activity that has gained in popularity in the past few years is rock climbing. Rock climbing walls have gone up all over the country so new climbers can hone their rock climbing techniques before they use them in the wild. Here are some tips from the pros to get the new climber off on the right path when it comes to this fun and exciting sport.
- Your footwork is crucial. Using the feet properly is a fundamental skill in a number of sports. You need to do this in tennis, soccer and it is key to many rock climbing techniques. When people first start rock climbing they think that the goal is to use mostly upper body strength to pull the climber up. As important as upper body strength is, a more effective way to go is to push off from the feet. That means placing them properly can make a big difference. Pay attention to where and how you place your feet and you will have a better experience. Also, some of the most important climbing gear is footwear. Investing in good shoes for this is one of the best things you can do to make the experience go better and to be more comfortable. You are not going to enjoy the experience if your feet hurt. This may not feel like adventure gear but it is.
- Do not be afraid to fall. Everyone thinks the goal is never to fall when you start out rock climbing but it is important to learn this. Falls will happen. When you start out in the gym on the rock climbing wall, it is important to let yourself fall. This will help you learn to trust yourself and your equipment. The first fall you take will be a very interesting experience. That is when you realize that you can fall and have nothing bad happen to you. This will make you a stronger and more confident climber overall.
- Be persistent. Learning rock climbing is a challenge. It is not something you are going to pick up in a few minutes or one session. When you approach a new route, you may not know how to tackle it exactly immediately. Do not give up on yourself or the route. When you finally get it and start to improve as a climber, the reward will be that much greater for the extra time it took to master. While this is not really one of the rock climbing techniques per se, pushing your limits is a big part of the sport. There is a learning curve in rock climbing or bouldering but that is ok. Be persistent and you will find the reward will make it worth it.
- Take a lesson or two. One way to get a jump on learning the sport is to get some help from an expert. While it is possible to start climbing fairly easily, you learn a few rock climbing techniques and head over to the gym with the rock climbing wall, but if you take the time to find a place to get lessons, you will be glad you did. It is easy to learn sloppy rock climbing techniques from people who are decent climbers. Get started the right way by taking some lessons from a pro. The more you learn, the better. When you go for your lesson, even if you have been climbing for a little while, listen to their advice. Do not be offended if they tell you that your technique can use some work.
- Do not rush it. Rock climbing is not rock racing. If you rush it, you can put yourself into positions that are not as safe as they could be. Above all else, you should be safe. The very best climbers take their time to really look at your route. The more you plan in advance, the easier you will make it. Once you are doing it, you will be safer when you go at a slow and steady pace.
Rock climbing, once mastered, is a really fun and exciting sport.