Climbing is an awesome way to have fun while staying in shape. One of the best things about climbing is that anyone, no matter body type, size, or age has unique strengths and weaknesses that make almost any crag possible to scale. There are many times where I have been quickly humbled by a 6-7 year old kid on the wall and it reminds me that relative to a lot of other sports, climbing is less about strength and more about balance and technique. Although training and working on overall strength will help out a lot, that is something that can come from climbing and exercise over time. Not to mention there are a ton of unique places to hammock when you’re up their chasing those views!
Climbing is also extremely accessible hobby and if you have the right equipment, there are places to climb almost anywhere around the country. Another great thing about climbing and the development of safety over the past 30 years is the invent of low risk devices that allows a greater demographic of individuals to access climbing facilities. Indoor climbing gyms are an awesome place to start climbing and getting comfortable with the rock but once you get outside the possibilities are endless. Here are some of the essentials that you need before you hit a climbing gym or the great outdoors.
1.) A harness: This is what keeps you attached to the rope. Getting one can be pretty easy but depending on what type of climbing you are set on doing, they can get pretty specialized and expensive quickly.
2.) A locking carabiner: This is basically a normal carabiner, but it has a twist/screw lock so that it remains closed at all times. These are used to attach your belay device to your harness.
3.) Climbing shoes: These are more specialized shoes that fit your feet tighter and have specialized rubber that gives you better grip against the wall or rock that you’re climbing
4.) A belay device: This is usually either a Gri-gri (assisted braking device) or a normal tubular braking device that helps your partner keep you tightly attached to the rope and ensures that you don’t fall much at all when you fall.
5.) If you want to climb outside there are a few more purchases that need to be made in order to ensure that you’re climbing safe:
5a.) A helmet: so that you can’t be hurt from accidental rock falls or falling/loose equipment
5b.) Rope/Protection: if you climb outside you’ll have to provide your own rope, build your own anchors, or use properly placed protection in order to stay safe. This is why it is very very important to go climbing with experienced and safe people who know what they’re doing. Safety is the first priority when climbing and unsafe equipment is a very easy way to get hurt on the mountain.
Again, it might seem like there are a lot to learn about climbing before getting out on the walls, it is much more simplistic than it seems. A great place to start is a local climbing gym with a simple belay class. Soon after that you’ll have the basic information and resources to climb just about anywhere as long as you have the resources and time to go out there and do it!