How to get into rock climbing as a complete and total beginner

HEY, YOU.

Sick of constantly dropping your baby?

Are you interested in getting into rock climbing?

Here’s how you get into rock climbing if you’re a total, utter beginner:

1. Go to a rock climbing gym

Rock climbing gyms are an excellent place to start for beginners. They have padded floors and a staff that’s more than happy to show you the ropes. (I really like that pun. sorry not sorry) You can rent shoes and harnesses and learn a basic figure-8 knot and how to belay.

If you’re going by yourself, try out the bouldering section if there’s one available. Bouldering is an excellent way to improve your technique.

2. Don’t worry about getting all your gear at once

When I started getting into climbing, I went on our local news site KSL and went to their classifieds section. They have all sorts of people selling used stuff, and since climbing equipment is so expensive, I thought I’d start off getting used items. I got a harness, shoes, a belay device and automatic locking carabiner for $75. Completely worth it.

3. Watch some YouTube videos

I have a thing for YouTube videos. They’ve really helped me learn new skills and get better results from exercise. Sometimes it’s just easier to turn on a YouTube video and sweat it out in your own apartment than get dressed and go to the gym.

I’ve watched a few YouTube videos to help me with my technique, and it has really benefited my climbing. Here are my favorite channels for beginners:

4. Save some cash by getting used gear

Rock climbing can get expensive. Gyms are pricey, ropes are pricey, gear is pricey. So where do you start? If you start off with bouldering, all you need are some shoes and potentially a gym membership. Some gyms have options for one free trial, and you can always go with a friend for a 2 for 1 pass on certain days. See what your local gym offers.

As I mentioned before, there’s no shame in getting used gear. Try looking online in a Facebook group or in your local classifieds to find some gently used shoes. There are also some used gear stores around, so be prepared to do some digging.

Rock climbing is incredibly fun. I LOVE it. I’ve been doing it for at least 5 months now, and it’s been good for my soul.

If you’re interested in how to get into climbing outdoors, don’t fret—I got you, and I’ll write on that next week.

3 comments

  1. Rock climbing is a brilliant sport and some of the most beautiful bodies that I have ever seen have belonged to climbers! It is excellent exercise. It is also so relaxing, because it is all-consuming and you can’t think about the worries of the world when you’re looking for your next foot- or hand hold.

    I am interested that you purchase second hand safety equipment. I would be happy with second hand friction shoes, hardware etc, but I would be wary of a second hand harness. (I have watched Cliffhanger!) Harnesses and helmets should be replaced every 10 years and I would be concerned whether they have been loaded with a heavy fall or kept in conditions where the webbing or stitching on a harness might deteriorate.

    You are right that you don’t need everything at once. My first ‘rack’ was one karabiner!

    Scrambling is also immense fun and I really MUST get around to writing my blog about the Via Ferrata in Italy!

    ENJOY!

    Like

    • Thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment! Yes, rock climbing is an excellent way to focus on something other than all your worries! You’re a little more worried about staying alive, haha.

      I would NEVER buy a secondhand rope. I got my harness secondhand and it’s been good to me the entire time, but to be fair, I haven’t been climbing any overhanging 5.12d routes haha. I definitely see where you’re coming from! It’s wise to be wary about getting secondhand gear and to observe it closely before committing. I ask a lot of questions when I’m out shopping for gear as well, which helps. I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully I’m not getting too scraped up along the way.

      That is SO AWESOME that you’ve done the Via Ferrata! My husband’s been obsessed with it and would love to do it. What are some of your favorite areas in Italy?

      Liked by 1 person

      • We did the Via Ferrata in the Dolomites, which is an absolutely stunningly beautiful area to visit. I have promised one of my best friends that I will write about it, since it is on her bucket list! Mark and I are quite afraid of heights, so we did only Grade 3s, although the ones we did were amazing. My brother is the rock climber in the family and I have never seen a grin like the one he was wearing on VF Tomaselli which is a Grade 5C! Oddly enough, part of the film ‘Cliffhanger’ was filmed above Cortina in the Dolomites. When I watched the film, I thought that I recognised some of those bridges! Do go there; it is spectacular!

        Like

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