Wall Climbing Beginner’s Guide
Wall climbing has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly among people who want pursue and athletic endeavor that does not require much commitment and time, usually because they only have time during weekends. While wall climbing is, for the most part, noncompetitive, the sport is physically gratifying, as it challenges the entire body, with climbers needing to plot their route and have the physical prowess to conquer the wall.
Yet, it’s not a sport to be taken lightly, particularly without preparation. While the height of the walls varies from gym to gym, most climbing walls are 20 to 45 feet tall, making some a precarious climb for the uninitiated. However, wall climbing is a safe sport when participants exercise proper caution.
Wear clothing that does not restrict movement and is not too loose that it will make you feel uncomfortable. A dri-fit shirt or a tank top is perfect, as it gives you free range of access to reach out the various handholds but is snug enough to ensure that you don’t flash the audience below. Avoid body-hugging cotton shirts that will just absorb your swear. Wear comfortable bottoms, as wearing shorts for the ladies may prove to be problematic because shorts tend to hike up when you move your legs. Also, the straps of a climbing harness run around your thighs where the bottom of the shorts usually stop, which can chafe your skin if you are wearing a short pair of shorts. Instead, wear comfortable pants (not jeans) such as yoga pants or leggings to avoid scraping your legs and knees on the wall.
Use Proper Footwear
Unfortunately, climbing shoes are expensive, but they do make a difference if you want to conquer the wall. If you’re a neophyte who just wants to experience it as it is, try to rent climbing shoes (most climbing gyms offer shoe rentals). A word of caution, though: as in bowling, you have to bring your own socks for hygienic purposes, unless you don’t mind wearing shoes that were probably worn by countless sweaty strangers before you. If the rentals are unavailable, wear sneakers with thin rubber soles. Going barefoot is also an option, although it may be painful if you;re not used to it.
And Other Helpful Tips
Now that you know what to wear, here are other helpful tips to keep your wall climbing session pleasant:
- Like most physical activities, you need to both warm up and cool down before and after a session of wall climbing. If you don’t warm up and cool down before and after a session of wall climbing. If you don’t warm up properly, you’re at risk of getting cramps and straining your muscles, which can be pretty inconvenient (not to mention painful) when you’re climbing.
- The walls are color-coded by difficulty. If you’re a beginner, always ask the staff where the easy route is.
- Don’t be daunted by the height of the wall, and instead focus on the handholds and where you’re going to put your hands next.
- When it comes to planning your route, climbing doesn’t just require lower body strength; more importantly, it uses upper body strength, too. if your hands are too sweaty to properly grab the handholds, don’t hesitate to use the chalk that is provided by most climbing gyms.
- Take your time. If you feel tired or if you start shaking, rest by pressing on the while you are standing up.
- Finally, trust your belayer. They are the people at the bottom of the wall who are controlling the rope by applying or reducing the friction upon it. In case you slip, your belayer will apply maximum friction to the rope to hold you in place. If your belayer shouts instructions, make it a point to actually listen: it might just save you from falling.
The most important thing is to enjoy the climbing experience. Ringing the bell at the top is a very satisfying feeling, particularly if you’ve struggled to get there. With these tips, you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy your first wall climbing session with minimal stress. Happy Climbing!