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Beginner Rock Climbing Training - Basic Techniques

By Edited Mar 1, 2014 1 2

Beginner Rock Climbing Basics: Getting Past The Point Of Panic

No piece on beginner rock climbing would be right without at least a passing reference to the obvious danger aspects and the importance of safety precautions. Rock climbing is a dangerous sport, but with the right equipment, experience and enthusiasm it can be the most fun you ever have with a rock wall. Obviously, when you're new, you won't have a clue as to what goes where, and your mind can go blank when the instructor suddenly yells out 'ok, now jug that ledge, and smear that wall on your right', and your brain's going 'well he can't be talking about milk and sandwiches'. If you can get through the initial strain of beginner rock climbing, then you'll have years of healthy living, making great friends, and the privilege of getting some of the best views on the planet. We all have to start somewhere, so while you won't be free-climbing thousand-foot cliffs immediately, with the proper training and instructors, someday you could be. You may be pleased (or surprised) to find out that you don't need to have incredible upper body strength, though it helps, as much as you need to learn proper climbing technique.

Beginner Rock Climbing Types And Basic Equipment

At this point, it might be useful to figure out what kind of climbing you might like to do on a regular basis. There's bouldering, traditional rock climbing, indoor, and sport climbing. Not that it will make much of a difference to your basic techniques; it's just a bigger view of what's out there for you when you finish your beginner rock climbing training. Top roping and bouldering are great ways to assimilate and integrate the basic techniques into your system. Your first step will be your gear. The type of gear will depend largely on what kind of climbing you're going to be doing. The very basic equipment is a pair of good climbing shoes, which should cost you about $100 to $150. The other is a chalk bag with some chalk to keep your hands dry and increase the friction between them and the rock. Ropes, webbing, harnesses, carabiners, belays, quick-draws and camming systems all form a part of a rock climber's kit, each playing its special and important part in the overall safety aspect.

Learning Beginner Rock Climbing Techniques

Once you're set with your gear, you need to learn different techniques; the first of these are the hand and foot techniques. A good basic tip to remember would be that upper body strength is not as important as foot and leg techniques. In fact, any good climber will tell you that your fingers, hands and arms are only meant to hold your body close up against the rock; your feet and legs should do most of the climbing. Good foot technique will let you climb tirelessly for long stretches. You'll learn new words like edging, back-stepping, flagging and smearing, along with toe hooks and heel hooks. You should be very thorough with these steps; when the time comes for you to take the plunge – not literally – they should come naturally from muscle memory rather than from recalling it consciously. Same goes with holds for the hands as well; the crimp, the side-pull, the pinch, the jug – all of them should be reflex actions. Remember, good basic technique can get you out of a tight jam that no amount of strength or wishing can.

And Up You Go

Once you've mastered, or at least tried out, all the basic holds and footwork, you'll be ready to move on to the basic climbing techniques, such as the cross-through, the hand-foot-match and the drop knee among others. The moves that you learn in this section will be taught in tandem with how to choose holds when you're climbing and how to form an overall stratagem which is dynamic and flexible enough to adapt to new information as you go higher and your visibility to your destination point becomes clearer.

Beginner Rock Climbing With A Partner: You Scratch My Back…

With all these techniques under your harness, you should now be in a position to do basic walls and faces in the presence of a certified and experienced instructor. When undergoing your beginner rock climbing training, it's also good to pick a partner who you get along with; each of you can be a great motivator for the other when the going gets tough and the blood starts to flow from your fingers. They're also good for applying soothing balm to your aching body at the end of a tough day of rock climbing – if they're able to keep their arms up long enough.


Where Can I Get Rock Climbing Lessons?

Most large cities have centers where rock climbing instruction is available, but there are some institutes that offer a whole other level of rock climbing lessons for those who are extremely dedicated and want to make quick progress. These institutes are often found where there exists natural terrain conducive to climbing - so you can get off the wall as quickly as possible and experience the real thing.

The Arizona Climbing and Adventure School offers instruction from beginner to advanced levels of rock climbing, as well as canyoneering, ziplining, wilderness first aid, and many other related activities. If you've been rock climbing and have enjoyed it, this school may be the perfect place to take things to the next level or explore other climbing related activities. Arizona, which the Grand Canyon passes through, offers ample climbing opprtunities and is the perfect place to gain real-life experience. The Arizona Climbing and Adventure School offers 1-day and 2-day beginner courses depending on your ability, so there's sure to be a place you would fit in. Prices range from around $125 to $250 for one and two day courses.

There are many other schools of rock climbing instruction, so if you don't live in Arizona you have no need to fret. The courses offered are usually very similar in both content and price. Good luck and happy climbing.

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Comments

Nov 3, 2010 8:54am
Deborah-Diane
Fun article. I'll pass it on to my grandson. He's only done indoor rock climbing, so far, but he loves it!
Nov 22, 2010 6:40pm
AJWalton
I love rock climbing - I really wish I got to do it more often.
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