Rock climbing in the UK is a worthwhile hobby if you’re seeking fitness, pleasure, and a healthy amount of adrenaline. Rock climbing, while attracting its fair share of adventure lovers, is also appreciated by legions of everyday hikers.
At first appearance, climbing can appear to be quite difficult. There’s the climbing equipment to learn, the gut-wrenching heights to overcome, the bizarre terminology to learn, and the very real risk of death if you get it wrong. With all of the information swirling around in your thoughts, it’s no surprise that some individuals might feel a little overwhelmed when they first begin climbing. Here are some tips for you to remember when going on your rock climbing adventure:
- Use Your Feet
When most individuals first begin climbing, they focus on what’s directly in front of them, grabbing the first handhold and dragging their feet up the rock behind them. In climbing, upper arm strength is vital, but real climbers use everything they have to get to the summit.
It may seem self-evident, but climbing with your entire body makes the process much easier. Thinking about where your feet are placed might make the difference between reaching the next hold and sliding off, and after you’ve stuck your first route, you’ll be back for more.
- Falling Is Not As Bad As It May Seem
Most inexperienced climbers are terrified of falling from a wall, so they cling to any hold they can find for dear life. While it’s vital to improve your grip strength, you also need to be able to trust your equipment, which means you’ll have to fall at some time to learn how it works.
Falling for the first time is a highly cathartic experience. It reassures you that your rope and harness are working properly and helps you overcome your fear of falling. In fact, if you employ the proper method, you may even practice falling to become used to the surge of adrenaline that comes with it.
- Not Giving Up
Not every route will be climbable right away, but don’t let that dissuade you. The challenge and enjoyment of climbing are part of what keeps people coming back for more. Pushing your limitations is part of the fun, so it’s fine if you don’t succeed on every attempt; in fact, most climbers have at least one or two projects on the go at any given time.
- Get A Belayer You Can Trust
You need to know that the person on the other end of the rope has your back when you’re climbing for the first time and hanging off the side of a cliff on some sparkling new rope. While you’re climbing, a skilled belayer will focus on you rather than on anything else, helping to keep you as safe as possible. It will be easier for them to belay you if you can find someone close to your bodyweight.
- Take Lessons From Someone Who Is Experienced
Many people learn the fundamentals of climbing from their friends, and although this frequently works out well, it can also lead to some undesirable and often dangerous climbing behaviours. It never hurts to obtain some expert guidance, especially if you’re going to put your life in the hands of what you discover.
Most indoor climbing walls and outdoor activity centres will teach you how to climb in a brief course that will cover all of your basic safety precautions, such as how to tie in a harness, what gear you’ll need for outdoor climbing, and how to belay safely. This may seem inconvenient, but it is well worth it to give yourself the best possible start in climbing.
- Have Good Communication With Your Belayer
Make sure you remain in touch with whoever is on the ground when climbing any sport, trad, or top-roped route that requires a belayer. Even if you’re focused on the holds in front of you, strong communication with your climbing partner will help you feel safer and more confident. If you need your belayer to pick up the slack or give you more rope for a difficult move, let them know.
- Keeping Your Arms Straight
When most people begin climbing, they keep their arms flexed, burning through energy and placing their muscles under strain. When you watch skilled climbers, you’ll notice that they typically keep their arms straight between moves, allowing their muscles to relax and save energy while they figure out the next hold. This more relaxed approach reduces tiredness and increases your chances of reaching the top.
- Invest In Good Gear
The equipment you buy will save your life, so don’t settle for anything that appears cheap or knock-off. Climbing shoes are probably the most important piece of equipment you’ll need. Many climbing walls rent shoes, but owning your own good-fitting pair will improve your climbing and allow you to embark on outdoor adventures as well. You’ll be on your feet all day, so choose comfortable climbing shoes.
- Make Sure To Take Your Time
Good climbers take their time, inspecting the rock face and reading the route ahead of time, finding the difficult moves and planning how to handle them before they arrive. Many outdoor destinations offer guidebooks that might give you an idea of what to expect before you go.
- Take Advice
It never hurts to seek some advice, no matter how proficient you are at climbing. Everyone sees a wall differently, so one of your friends may have seen a grip you’ve missed or figured out the technique you’re having trouble with. Part of what makes the climbing community so powerful is the ability for complete strangers to help each other out and truly bond over completing a route.
If you’re seeking a thrilling pastime with a great group of friends, or just something fresh, rock climbing is an activity that you should absolutely attempt. Knowing what it is and how to do it can help you become a more well-rounded climber.