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hopscotchy's avatar

Any of you have tips for a beginning rock climber?

Asked by hopscotchy (552points) April 20th, 2010 from iPhone

Me and my husband have decided to try it out. We’re very excited but a little intimidated. Any suggestions on how we should start out, gear we need, etc. We’d also like to find some proper toning exercises before we get going.

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15 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

You will need more than toning unless you are fairly fit. You need good core and arm strength. Are you looking at serious climbing, or one of the indoor rock faces? (They might be a good place to start.)

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

Upper body strength is so important!! I have done those giant indoor rock walls & you think that your legs will do all the work & that your hands are just for support & stability… wrong! Your legs may help push you up on some steps, but the majority of the time, your arms are pulling you up to the next stable ledge. Find an indoor rock wall & get some practice, it’s not as easy as it looks.

Ponderer983's avatar

Make sure your caribiner (sp) is closed! LOL I have no clue…sorry

Axemusica's avatar

I would start with bouldering or an inside gym with a wall. It’s very strenuous work.

ragingloli's avatar

Climb with your legs, not your arms. Your arms are just for stability. Propulsion comes from your legs. Stay close to the wall.

DarkScribe's avatar

@ragingloli Climb with your legs, not your arms. Your arms are just for stability.

You have never climbed – have you? There are few instances where you have a toehold that will allow you to simply climb. Rock faces are not stairs. You often have to reach and pull yourself up to the next foot or toehold.

ragingloli's avatar

I have. Not indoor constructs, but real sandstone rocks. Using our legs is what our climbing instructor told us. My arms are weak, and the only time I had a problem with that approach was at an overhang where you were basically hanging on your hands and your legs dangling in the wind.
You can perfectly rely on your legs most of the time if you actually plan your route and take your time choosing your next step.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

That’s the borg method darkscribe.

andrew's avatar

@DarkScribe “Climb with your legs” is the first thing any rock climbing instructor teaches their students.

Most people climb too much with their arms and end up torquing out their forearms.

@hopscothcy Rock climbing, especially in the beginning stages, is more about balance and placement. As axe suggests, find an indoor gym—maybe take a class.

DarkScribe's avatar

@ragingloli Not indoor constructs, but real sandstone rocks.

Yes, when you can, you use your legs. The problem is that if it isn’t a purposely designed or selected climb, you will repeatedly find places where you can reach at near full stretch for a finger or hand-hold (or depending on the type of surface and your equipment – make your own) but not be able to find anywhere to use your legs – as you can’t place your feet without first pulling yourself up. I would not climb with anyone who didn’t have good arm and core strength.

DarkScribe's avatar

@andrew DarkScribe “Climb with your legs” is the first thing any rock climbing instructor teaches their students.

I learned in the Military, and one of the things that they taught us, was “do not rely on always being able to get a toehold”. There is little point on simply pulling your self up if it isn’t necessary, but you need the strength to do it when it becomes necessary – unless you want to be on the evening news stuck on a rockface waiting for rescue. I have seldom made a “virgin” climb without needing to rely completely on upper body strength on several occasions.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Learn the basic knot and tying variations so you can be quick and confident. The little chalk in the waist bags are great, they really do help. Make sure your shoes fit snug.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@ragingloli I may not have climbed real rock cliffs, but the massive indoor climbing walls I have been on, they have a lot of ‘trick’ rocks, where if you put a majority of your weight on it, they will spin out from under your foot, causing you to catch yourself with your hands. It’s a nice teaching tool, because real rock cliffs are very unpredictable. You never know what will be a loose rock that could slip from under your foot & if you don’t have the arm strength to catch & hold yourself, you will be going in the wrong direction on that cliff. @hopscotchy, another GREAT thing to have when climbing, is a partner you trust. I’m guessing, since it’s you & your husband, I’d say you are fine. Unless he recently re-did your life insurance in the past 6 months & this rock climbing thing was his idea… then maybe you should reconsider. :) But all in all, have fun, because it may be strenuous, but when you reach the top, nothing feels as great as that moment.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Do lots of stretching exercises; flexibility is important, because you have to extend your body in interesting ways.

rpm_pseud0name's avatar

@PandoraBoxx YES! Completely forgot about that… you will be reaching & stretching in ways your body isn’t used to. Stretch & get your muscles nice & ready before a climb. Worse thing to happen is a pulled muscle while hanging on a cliffside. Rock climbing is like playing twister while standing up.

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