These rock climbing tips for beginners summarise the most critical things that newbie climbers should know in order to progress in their new activity. Here are some rock climbing tips for beginners.
Tips: Rock climbing stretches for every single climber, must-read here.
Clipping Bolts For Sports Climbers
So you’ve found rock climbing and you’re completely addicted. You now want to know all there is to know about your new activity, including how to pick gear, climb properly, and understand the jargon. There are pages on this website that go into detail about each of them. Of course, it may be more than you have time to read right now, so I’ll also offer you what you asked for: twelve great recommendations for your next visit to the gym or crag.
Pay Attention To Your Footwork
The better you use your feet, the more finger strength you can reserve for when you truly need it. Footwork is composed of two components: placement and weighting. The faster you put your feet up, the sooner you will be able to shift weight from your arms to your feet.
And the more weight you can move onto those footholds, the less strain you’ll have to put on your arms to stay there. Both are talents that can be improved with concentrated work, but first, you must understand what good technique looks like. If you don’t know the difference between a backstep, a flag, and a drop knee, you should read my technique article next.
Learn To Recognize Pauses
To climb harder, you must learn to make the most of your pauses. There will be plenty of opportunities to stem between walls and balance a no-hands rest in the lower grades, but as the grades get stiffer, you’ll have to learn to knee bar, heel hook, and jam skills that are essential for progressing climbers who want to squeeze every last rest and semi-rest out of a route.
Climb With Your Arms Straight
Unless you’re pulling a move or reaching to make a clip, there’s no need to fatigue your biceps in a protracted locked-off posture. The remainder of the time, you should be hanging on straight arms, putting the majority of your weight on your bones rather than your muscles. I say “most of your weight” because you want to keep your shoulders engaged and, therefore, these joints protected.
When used extensively, passively hanging might result in underdeveloped antagonist muscles and damage. Stay away from dangling like a sack of potatoes.
Consider A Few Movements Ahead
As you proceed through the grades, planning ahead of time will become more crucial. The more complex the route, the more probable it is that the rock will control the order. How frequently do you find your left hand on the hold that your right hand should be on?
You can rectify this in some instances by matching hands, but as holdings increase, this method becomes less likely to succeed. Make a practice of looking for areas of rock that are likely to demand a precise order and preparing them beforehand. You’ve probably seen expert climbers practicing crux sequences with their mime-like antics by now. It may appear amusing, but visualization works.
Choose Your Shoes With Care
Your first few pairs of shoes should be snug but not so snug that you can’t walk in them. Edging performance does not equate to pain. If you climb mostly on sports routes, you’ll need to wear your shoes for at least 5 minutes at a time, and you don’t want unpleasant shoes to ruin your climbing experience. Rather, go for the smallest size feasible while still maintaining a level of comfort.
The shape is also significant. If you’re just starting out, a flat or neutral shoe will be more comfortable. It’s preferable to wait till your feet have toughened up and you truly need the edge strength to wear downturned shoes. My rock shoes buying guide delves deeper into this critical purchase choice.
Make Yourself At Ease With Falling
One of the most surefire methods to improve your climbing is to conquer your fear of falling (if this doesn’t bother you, you’re one of the happy few). We overgrip when we are afraid, which wastes energy and leads our forearms to exhaust faster.
However, conquering one’s fear of falling is no easy task. After learning to lead and taking a few practices falls, you must push yourself to fall every session (assuming you’re climbing at a gym or crag where falls are safe). Falling will become more natural with time and practice.
Ideally, you’d be able to get in a few low-grade climbs before moving on to anything more difficult, but that isn’t always achievable. Perhaps a guided group is monopolizing the easier climbs, or the local ‘warm-up’ route is a 5.11. In this situation, you’ll need to find another strategy to prepare your fingers for smaller grips and more difficult pulls. Sometimes the base of the crag allows a traverse with a suitably low gradient, although this is not always the case.
It pays to have climber’s putty or anything like a Metolius GripSaver on hand at moments like these. Many places market them as training or rehab aids, but they are just as effective for avoiding injury when used to warm up for what would otherwise be a cold start (this is especially crucial when temperatures are low).
Choose Your Climbing Partners Carefully
Do you know that man who wanders about the crag’s base telling stories of valor and tremendous adventure? You’re not going to climb with him. Posers put more than just their inflated sense of self in danger when they hook up
They can also endanger the lives of their partners, especially if they are bound to them for the entirety of a multi-pitch climb. The ideal partner acknowledges their limitations and realizes that if two climbers’ appetites for risk differ, it’s vital to tone things down to a level at which the more risk-averse climber is comfortable.
Make An Effort To Become A Better Belayer
Aside from keeping your companion safe, there are a few additional compelling reasons to strive for a flawless belay. The first benefit is that it will make finding possible mates much easier. Climbers with experience (those you want to learn from) prefer to assess others based on their ability to provide a decent catch.
If you’re perceived to be a competent and trustworthy belayer, you’ll have no problem finding people to climb with. Another reason you should practice belaying is that you’ll learn what to expect from a competent belay—especially during a fall—and how to detect whether a partner is doing all possible to ensure a safe catch.
Make Effective Communication A Habit
You and your climbing companion must communicate well in order to climb safely. Even a small mistake, like mistaking “safe” for “off belay,” could lead to a terrible accident. However, safety is not the only reason you should practice effective communication.
A strong connection with your spouse can also provide you with a sense of comfort and confidence that you may lack if you don’t always understand one another. In your conversation, strive to be succinct and straightforward. Even if there is some distance between you and your spouse, calls should be brief, concise, and easy to differentiate from other requests.
Follow A Pre-Climbing Procedure
For the same reasons that you should practice, you should follow a pre-climb procedure. Excellent communication will keep you safe and put you in the appropriate state of mind to enjoy your climb. When you see a fully loaded belay device and a well-tied knot.
You should think, “I’m in the system, safe, and ready to give it my best.” If you find yourself checking things at random and still leaving the ground anxious, the process provided in this lead climbing article can assist in structuring your pre-climb preparations.
As you gain skill and confidence, you’ll begin to venture further out in search of new rocks to climb. Some of these crags may include trekking and scrambling across difficult terrain, or perhaps spending the night on a secluded hillside. These excursions may require abilities that you have not yet completely acquired, in which case you would benefit greatly from partaking in any activities that allow you to perfect these backcountry talents.
Learn how to filter water, cook over a fire, travel with a heavy load, camp out in the bush, and perform wilderness first aid. If you want to follow “the route” of an adventure climber, these abilities will be extremely useful.