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» How to Rock Climb

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There are some sports that you can just hop in and try out to see if you like them.

While rock climbing isn’t one of them, it’s still worth the effort.

Rock climbing is a dangerous sport that you should prepare for properly; it’s not a good idea to scale the nearest cliff on a whim just to see what it’s like.

But rock climbing offers so many advantages; the views are beautiful and as an exercise it can’t be beat.

If you’d like to give it a try, follow these steps to do it safely:

Learning to climb can be great fun for the entire family.
Learning to climb can be great fun for the entire family.
Take the time to learn about the sport. You don’t need to know the best brands of rock climbing shoes by heart, but at the very least you want to research the different kinds of rock climbing to figure out which one appeals the most to you. Your options include:

  • Traditional climbing, in which you place your own wedges and supports to climb up a rock face.
  • Sport climbing, in which the supports are pre-placed.
  • Indoor climbing, which is usually sport style and is a good option for beginners.
  • Bouldering, in which you climb a large boulder instead of a cliff or a mountain.
  • Ice climbing and solo climbing without supports, which aren’t recommended for beginners.

Learn about the basic rock climbing gear. At minimum, you’ll need:

  • Climbing ropes, which attach you to your support mechanisms.
  • Climbing harnesses, which wrap around you and attach to the rope.
  • Belay devices, which help keep you from falling.
  • Climbing carabiners, which fasten ropes together or to your various pieces of equipment.
  • Passive protection, which also help to support you as you climb, but don’t move or expand.
  • Active protection that you attach to the face you are climbing by inserting into cracks an expand to support you as you climb.
  • Climbing helmets and rock climbing shoes, which are essential to climb safely.

As you might imagine, all of this equipment can get expensive fast. Your best bet to try out the sport is to go to an indoor climbing center or sign up for a beginner’s class. In both cases, all of the equipment will be provided for you and you’ll also have assistance with your first few climbs to make sure that you’re safe. Once you’ve gotten the basics down, you can decide if you want to invest in the equipment and move on to some outdoor climbs with low ratings (5.0 to 5.4 are beginners’ level).

You should be in good physical shape before you attempt to rock climb. When you climb, you’ll use muscles that you never knew you had, and you will probably be sore after your first few attempts. Don’t go into a climb when you’re injured or sick; not only do you increase your chances of further injury, but you also won’t enjoy it as much.


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