Found a friend while we were climbing… Turtles are sweet…
So I’ve been getting a few people asking me how they can get into climbing and/or how I got into climbing. I think climbing is one of those sports that can be overwhelming to start. If you don’t know anyone who climbs you may have no idea what to do, where to do it, or how to do it. I’ll give you a few basic steps to get you going in the right direction.
Step 1: Assemble a team
Climbing is super fun but not that fun if you’re by yourself. It’s hard to belay yourself up a tough climb (ask Aaron). Find a friend or two who have the same passion for rocks as you and then find the closest gym. The first gym I went to was 45 min away so its nice to have some people to split gas with. If for some odd reason you can’t find people who’d love to tear the skin off their hands, try going to the gym by yourself. It’s weird but a lot of people at climbing gyms enjoy climbing and making new friends who climb. It might take awhile to find some sweet dirtbag friends but if your’re outgoing it won’t be too bad. Once you get a few climbing buds and some skill you’re ready for real rock.
Step 2: Assemble gear
The most essential part of every climbers arsenal is their wicked awesome
magical climbing shoes. Just watch the best boulderer in your gym. You think he got that good by working hard? Wrong! It’s all in the shoe. OK thats actually not true at all but the shoes are probably the first thing I would tell someone to invest in. For your first pair stick to something cheap and basic. You’re gonna wear the rubber off those things while you’re training like crazy on that V0/V1 problem you’ve been working so hard on, so why buy super expensive for your first pair.
Next I’d say get a harness and a chalk bag. Here you can look around for something nice if you want. A harness should out last your shoes by a lot. Make sure its sweet as to impress the locals at your gym. Avoid buying an old alpine harness from your local army surplus store because you’ll get attached to it since its been with you from the start but people at the gym who’ve never even climbed outside will make fun of you and ask how it works because there’s no belay loop. Its an Alpine harness!!! It’s not supposed to have one!!! Sorry, I went off on a tangent there. Any harness will do just find one you like.
“Rope!” Get ready to say that a lot because in this next step you’re getting your very own rope! Now since I am far from a rope expert I’m going to have to advise you to do some reaserch online as to what to buy. But a 50-60 meter dynamic rope of some thickness around 10 mm I believe should be fine. We have a 50 m rope and find that its sometimes too short for 85+ foot routes.
Quickdraws(10-15) locking carabiners(5-10) runners(2) atc(2): More stuff you need to sport climb. Runners and locking biners are used for cleaning routes. On our first trip we didn’t have runners so we made a sling out of webbing and i cleaned that way. It’s a lot scarier and more dangerous so I’d just get the runners.
Step 3: Plan a trip
When planning a trip to climb, first and foremost you need to buy a guidebook. We chose to rely on directions to Muir Valley and printed off routes we thought we could do. Moral of the story? Its no fun to walk around all day looking like an idiot because you have no idea what anything is. Needless to say we bought a guild book that night.
Step 4:Climbing Level-Dirtbag
Sell everything you own, buy a van, drive to California and never come back.
End of Blog…
Red River Gorge, Muir Valley. Pinnacle deep in the valley with 5.9 Kokopeli’s Dream on it. Sucky route though. Climber: Jordan Edwards
(P.S. if anyone found a chalk bag there about 6 months ago that’s Aaron’s hahaha)
|—||Kim Stanley Robinson|
Today I saw on Facebook that Sasha is switching climbing shoes (and I assume sponsorships) from MadRock to Five Ten.
I’ve been wearing the same pair of shoes for over a year now. They’re MadRock’s but honestly I just bought the cheapest pair off eBay I could find. I use them for outdoor sport and trad and now that I’m at OSU I also climb in a gym and boulder in them. To my knowledge the shoes are doing great. For the amount I’ve been climbing over the last year I’m actually really surprised they’ve held up so well.
Now obviously its a big deal what brand or shoe a big name climber wears but its times like these where we might want to step back and take a look at what shoes we are wearing. In the blog announcing this switch (http://fiveten.com/community/blog-detail/12565-my-next-step-sasha-digiulian) Sasha says ”I had a fabulous relationship with [MadRock], but I came to the decision that in order to pursue my career, I had to find a shoe more compatible for my personal preferences.”
Now given that I am not a professional climber and have worn maybe 5 different pairs of climbing shoes ever I’m not exactly sure what shoe is “more compatible for my personal preferences” but we all know theres a perfect shoe out there so my advice is… go to a gym that sells shoes and test them out. I’ve seen this happen at my local gym a lot and it has to be the only way. Sharma’s shoes may not be perfect for Sasha and Sasha’s shoes may not be perfect for you. Honestly most of us aren’t even close to the level where our shoes would be holding us back. To quote the guy I was bouldering with the other day, “they’re just my gym shoes.”
Moral of the story: It’s not always about the shoes, but find a shoe that works for you.