New To Rock Climbing? Catch Up On Our Tips Here! Part 1

by Inner Mountain Outfitters

Regardless of the style of climbing you have decided to embark on, it’s essential to do your research and plan ahead before ascending a route. Modern rock climbing has evolved to include a wide range of options for enthusiasts of all ages, relying on quality gear to maximize safety and comfort at all times. Investing in the wrong climbing harness or shoes, for example, can result in unsafe outcomes that may scare you away from the sport entirely!

Inner Mountain Outfitters is here to deliver top-notch mountain climbing equipment and guidance to help you find everything you need for your adventure. Our online store provides the mountain climbing rope, locking carabiners, climbing bolts, and other gear needed to enjoy a fun, productive, and safe time in the great outdoors. We love seeing people test their limits with Mother Nature, but only if those individuals are properly prepared for the challenges ahead.

Today, we’ll briefly highlight a few climbing tips for those new to the sport. If you’re looking for rope access equipment, rescue tools, or mountaineering gear, be sure to browse our online shop today!

Choices, Choices

Those new to the sport of climbing will quickly learn that there are several options to choose from in terms of style:

Top-Roping. As the name describes, many beginners start their careers either in the gym or in the mountains attached to a rope that that is secured at the top for maximum safety. With your belayer pulling slack out as you climb up, you can expect to fall only a few inches.

  • Sport climbing. Climbers wanting an additional challenge can take on the same routes (in most cases) and attach the rope to different bolts, similar to checkpoints. This works much the same as top-roping, although the mechanics are reversed for the belayer.
  • Bouldering. This sport consists of challenging puzzles instead massive walls and pushes climbers to try a variety of techniques to complete their route. Those afraid of heights or those looking for a more-intense activity can benefit from bouldering. Many climbers look at this style as sprinting, where as rope climbing is more of a long-distance effort.
  • Traditional climbing. As the name implies, this option harkens back to the style of placing your own anchors and bolts as you cover a selected route (or making your own!). This style is the most technical and requires the most experience to ensure optimal safety.

Acquiring the Equipment

Once you have found a style that matches your skill and comfort level, it’s time to gear up for the adventure. Be sure to assemble a list for any gear you have and all that will be needed, as different styles require differing amounts of climbing equipment. Bouldering is a sport that only requires climbing shoes and a chalk bag while multi-pitch climbs lean more on locking carabiners, belay devices, appropriate climbing harnesses, quickdraws, and more. Those looking to top-rope at their local gym can benefit from needing much less hardware to begin.

Keep in mind that your mountain climbing equipment will be essential for optimal safety practices. Climbing and rope access at any height is dangerous, making it important for professionals and recreationalists alike to follow proper protocol and utilize the right tools for the job. Keep in mind that your equipment demands may vary by the climb, so plan ahead when packing:

  • Climbing shoes
  • Belay device (ATC, figure-8 etc.)
  • Helmets, especially for outdoor use!
  • Locking carabiners, cams, nuts
  • Quickdraws, slings, webbing
  • Crash Pad (for bouldering)
  • Ropes

In all, your climbing equipment can add up to become a considerable sum of weight. Our outdoor equipment pros recommend packing per the route and working with your comrades to disperse the load for a balanced and convenient loadout.

Know Your Limits

While many beginning climbers find themselves humbled by the anxiety of falling (it counters every instinct, after all!), others set out in earnest to prove their extreme prowess. It is highly recommended to know your physical limitations before setting out on your next expedition. Be sure to speak with veterans to learn about any challenges or dangers, and also keep an accurate account of your abilities. You don’t want to wear yourself out in a precarious spot!

Climbing is all about improvement, so be sure to push your limits once you are fully immersed in the sport. IMO recommends building your repertoire before trying a climb that you are unsure of. Routes are normally rated to give you an idea of the difficulty of a climb:

  • V-Scales are used for American bouldering problems, with grades ranging from V0 to V16. Keep in mind that the challenges of a V4 will be much easier compared to a V5!
  • Climbing grades commonly used in America are based on the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS), which essentially started the sport of climbing. A 5.0 is considered the easiest, similar to a ladder, while a 5.15 sees only the most skilled climbers. This system is useful for new climbers hoping to start at the right skill level and track their progression.

There are many aspects of climbing that need to be considered and understood before tying in. Next time, we’ll continue this subject by discussing a few techniques and strategies needed for early success. If you’re in need of quality mountain climbing equipment, caving gear, or other rope access tools, Inner Mountain Outfitters is here to help! Our online store stocks the best climbing gear to help rescue personnel and weekend enthusiasts alike. Contact us today for assistance or browse our online shop to begin!