The Beginner’s Guide To Rock Climbing

The Beginner’s Guide To Rock Climbing

Some people are forever searching for their favorite hobby or their next thrilling workout and once they finally stumble upon it years later they wonder why it took them so long to get there. For many people, rock climbing is that very activity, offering people a workout like no other and experience that can’t be matched.

For those completely new to this sport, though, it can be downright intimidating. It seems that only the boldest and bravest get out there to scale the rocks and you might even find it hard to imagine yourself working up the courage to do so.

There are many different types of rock climbing to try and as your skills progress you’ll find yourself wanting to try new and exciting challenges. This type of activity is great for everyone including the outdoors enthusiast who likes to scale a new mountain every time they take a camping trip to those who prefer to work on their skills indoors.

What Is Rock Climbing?

Rock climbing is considered a sport, hobby, and activity, and in its simplest form, it refers to the act of climbing the face of a rock. Usually, other accessories are used included ropes and special equipment, but again there are variances in the styles and difficulty.

A woman rock climbing.

When rock climbing, a participant will usually climb up the rock face and then back down, but any direction they wish to go is fine. It’s this versatility and ongoing challenge that makes rock climbing such a popular hobby and one that over six million Americans now enjoy.

Many people have their first rock climbing experience in an indoor setting and there are plenty of artificial rock walls to climb as you practice your skills. Once you’ve developed them further, you might like to head out into nature and see if you’re able to climb a real rock, provided it’s done in a safe manner.

The Types of Rock Climbing

Some people hear the term rock climbing and generally think of just one thing: the great indoor rock walls that people scale on the weekends for fun. However, there are actually quite a few different types that make up this sport.

  • Mountaineering: The oldest form of rock climbing and what most people consider the authentic style, this is also known as alpine climbing. This serious sport is for very experienced climbers who are capable of going through snow, ice, rain, and harsh weather conditions.
  • Traditional climbing: Sometimes referred to as ‘trad climbing’ this is where a climber uses their gear and accessories to safely make their way up the mountain. It can be done solo or in groups with other climbers.
  • Sport climbing: These are serious competitions where professional rock climbers challenge each other to various climbs using permanent anchors placed on the rocks. The aim is to beat others with the shortest time.
  • Bouldering: This is usually done over a shorter course and with pads underneath to help if you fall. Bouldering is done without a rope so there’s an added challenge and it’s meant for more serious climbers.

Why Should You Try Rock Climbing?

There are so many benefits to taking up rock climbing and even the beginners have a lot to gain from it. Here are some reasons why over six million Americans enjoy this adventurous hobby regularly:

  • Challenge - Learning how to rock climb and the different rock climbing techniques is always a challenge but once you start to progress you’ll feel the satisfaction. There’ll always be something new to try and a way to test your skills so it will forever present a challenge to overcome.
  • Complete workout - People assume that rock climbing only works your arms as you’re pulling yourself upward, but it actually gives a total body workout including legs and core. Not only is it a great strength workout but it’s intensive enough to incorporate cardio too, making it a very fun form of exercise.
  • Appreciate nature - Once you’re able to progress from the indoor climbing where you practiced, you’ll be able to witness vistas and sights that you never imagined thanks to your new favorite hobby. Many people like to combine their camping trips with a rock climb and it can give you a new activity to try out whenever you’re in the wilderness. 
  • Fun - There’s nothing quite like the thrill of rock climbing and it’s a great activity that you can get everyone involved in. if you’ve been looking for a new physical sport or workout to try that appeals to your thrill-seeker side, rock climbing is definitely it. 
  • Versatile - Once you’ve learned the basics and have mastered your skills a bit, you can try your hand at rock climbing just about anywhere you go. Some like to take their gear along when hiking or camping and set up somewhere that has a great rock to climb. It’s a sport that you can try virtually anywhere and you’ll always have a unique experience.

The Hardcore Sport That Everyone Should Try

People often disregard rock climbing as something that only the fearless could do, but it’s actually a great activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family and absolute beginners. Rock climbing for beginners obviously won’t be as challenging as the climbs attempted by the experts, but it pays to start small and build your skills.

A kid rock climbing.

There are plenty of rock climbing tips you can learn from the professionals but a lot of this sport is about the practice you put in. that’s why there are so many indoor rock climbing studios found around the world today, with millions of Americans enjoying them as a sport or personal hobby.

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