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Regardless Of The Type Of Climbing You Pursue It Requires Conditioning

Updated on May 5, 2016

Climbing is a hobby that is also good for your health

Both climbing and rock climbing can be as safe as any other outdoor sport, but they do require conditioning.

You need to start Conditioning training BEFORE you start climbing training.

Get in Condition first:

Any sport or hobby requires conditioning. Once you get your body in shape and conditioned, then you can learn to climb. Then and then only are you ready to learn 'how.' After you know the basics of climbing, THEN its time to break down what gear is necessary for:

ONE: Your individual skill set at this stage of your basic climbing level.

TWO: Buy only the specific type of gear for the climbing you intend to pursue.

THREE: Purchase gear that is necessary for your skill level and/or climbing choice. Yes, climbing of any kind takes not only conditioning and the right equipment, but training.

Finally: Never buy climbing gear based upon what is trendy or that you are not ready to use.

Buy 'Adventure Specific' Gear such as shoes, ropes, harnesses, etc, ie: knowing which to chose and why? Well, that's the game now isn't it?

Before you start, here's some books you need to buy and read on conditioning. Yes the required conditioning. You could even take these along on your climbs, to read at night.

Climbing Books - Learning the skills

There's more to climbing than a climbing harness, a tricked out backpack and a cool pair of climbing boots or shoes. It takes knowledge of the fundamentals along with the equipment you will use. why. Before anything, you need to be in condition. Read these books to learn, you won't be sorry. 'Nuff said, let's get on with it.

The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training for Climbers
The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training for Climbers

Before you attempt to learn to climb, you need to be in shape. The Rock Warrior's Way will teach you how to do just that. You need to ready your mind as you train your body. This book will help you get there and tell you 'why' along the way. Available in Paperback, KINDLE and Audio CD

Evaluation: I like the kindle version the best but whichever version you buy? Take to heart, study and use the information

Rock Climbing: A Practical Guide to Essential Skills: Techniques And Tips For Successful Climbing For Beginners
Rock Climbing: A Practical Guide to Essential Skills: Techniques And Tips For Successful Climbing For Beginners

Learn some of the basics in this book: Rock Climbing A Practical Guide to Essential Skills of what you are supposed to do, BEFORE you go out to climb. If you are just starting out, or even if you are good at climbing, I recommend you read this book. Available in Paperback.

Evaluation: For the price, you cannot afford to NOT buy this book.

Training for Climbing, 2nd: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Performance (How To Climb Series)
Training for Climbing, 2nd: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Performance (How To Climb Series)

Training for Climbing, 2nd will give you the step by step ideas on how to improve your skills. basics are one thing, but a skill set lasts and evolves over a lifetime. Available in Paperback and KINDLE

Evaluation: If you want to aquire mental concentration skills and climbing superiority? This book is for you

climbing rock
climbing rock

Why does anyone go Rock Climbing?

Not all hobbies are planned

That's a great question, "Why does anyone go climbing rock? Have you ever thought seriously about rock climbing? Rock climbing often starts as a weekend hobby, but can become a lifelong obsession. Like anything, there are many skills to master and techniques to learn. Learning the proper techniques from an expert, is the only way to start.

Here's a question....

Have you ever watched children climb a rock wall at a shopping center? If it wasn't for the safety rope, handled by the operator, many of those children would fall. Why is that important to tell you about you ask? The climb is fairly easy but yet many fall (only to be saved by the safety harness) for a variety of reasons. First, the wrong footwear, secondly, not knowing the right way to climb, third, not having the skill to do so smoothly and real confidence in themselves.

The start of rock climbing can come from some pretty strange places. To coin a phrase from the movie "We bought a Zoo?" This story today, is "The story before the story." My own story of how I became interested in rock climbing at a young age, was during a two week summer camp one summer at Diamond Lake, Oregon. Click below to read that story:

Now let's now get to some of the basics

Backpacker Magazine's Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair: Step-By-Step Techniques To Maximize Performance And Save Money (Backpacker Magazine Series)
Backpacker Magazine's Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair: Step-By-Step Techniques To Maximize Performance And Save Money (Backpacker Magazine Series)

Backpacker Magazine is a great source for anything outdoors. They know backpacking and are the bible of the sport. Available in Paperback and KINDLE

Evaluation: This is NOT for the person who doesn't want to maintain their gear. But if you do and want the most wear and tear out of anything you use? Buy this book.


Climbing Basics - Where to start

Get in condition first:

Here's where you learn the conditioning I spoke of. I don't care if you are a beginner or an old hand at it, you can always learn something new. I take to heart, any endeavor I become involved in and I study up on every part of it that I can. I practiced on small hills to start and worked my way up. I bought equipment I needed, only as I learned. I bought Equipment matching my skill set. No sense tying up money in items I don't need at that stage of my learning.

As an example:

Try this simple strength test at home. Go to the nearest doorway, reach up with your fingertips (get a chair if you need help reaching) and then hang all of your body weight off of just your finger tips for as long as you can. If you cannot hang by your fingers for 2 or 3 minutes at a time to start? Your fingers and hands need strengthening. Not much of a test really, but something that anyone can do in the relative safety of their own home. There will come a time when you are literally going to be hanging by your finger tips for extended periods of time, over and over and over again, as you climb. Your hands must strong enough to do just that.

Buy these, books. Study and do the exercises and you will be amazed at the changes in you, your mind and your body.

Conditioning for Climbers: The Complete Exercise Guide (How To Climb Series)
Conditioning for Climbers: The Complete Exercise Guide (How To Climb Series)

I have read Conditioning for Climbers several times. I know it says for beginner's, but let's be serious for a moment. Can you ever be in complete shape? The answer is yes and this book will give you the answers on how. Buy and read it to get in shape. Available in Paperback and KINDLE

Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness: Functional Exercise & Nutrition for Every Body
Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness: Functional Exercise & Nutrition for Every Body

Once you start to get in shape, I recommend that you buy and read Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness to learn proper nutrition as you continue to condition both your mind and your body. Youir purchase includes FREE Shipping

Climbing Rock
Climbing Rock

The Journey of Climbing

From simple beginnings, a seed is planted

Mount Thielsen was that mountain where the climbing-rock climbing journey began for me. A journey that at the time, I didn't even know I was on. A journey that turned into a life long passion. The mountain itself is located on the east side of Diamond Lake in Oregon. In fact, the lake separates two distinct mountains, extinct volcanoes actually.

One being Mount Thielsen and the other is Mount Bailey. (sometimes referred to as Mount Baldy, due to it's "bald" topped appearance). The latter is much smaller (just under 3,000 feet) as opposed to the the 9,000 plus foot tall Mount Thielsen. Mount Thielsen, is also called "Big Cowhorn" because of it's "spire like" shape.

Diamond Lake, the lake that separates the two mountains is a natural lake, whose waters flow out of it's northern end. These waters eventually flow into the Umpqua river which in turn empties into the Pacific, Ocean. The Lake itself is in central to southwest Oregon.

Now, since the mountain hasn't erupted in nearly a quarter of a million years, glaciers, weather, (snow, rain, and wind) etc, have eroded the slopes, and peak to form it's distinctive horn like shape That shape draws lightning strikes like a lightning rod. These strikes leave behind fulgurite, (from the Latin word fulgar, meaning "Thunderbolt") Fulgarite is formed when lightning strikes a conductive surface and fuses the silica (sand) grains underneath, forming a tube of sorts. A process that takes just under a second to occur.

These samples of Fulgarite are highly prized by hobbyists and sought after as souvenirs by the climber's.

Climbing Skills - Advanced lessons

Yep....that's right. More books. For those of you who choose not to read, it will be your loss. Great skills are not only learned, but passed along from one successful climber to another. Plus....consider using a hydration backpack The worst thing you can do, is go without water, or at least adequate water. Besides, who wants to try to grab and drink from a water battle when you are suspended from a rock face. Get one, they are worth the small expense.

How to Climb: Advanced Rock Climbing
How to Climb: Advanced Rock Climbing

Now that you' believe' you have mastered the basics, buy this book and learn the real skinny. There is far more to climbing that just hitting the slopes. If you want to take your climbing to the next level like I did, then get this book. Not everything in it is for everyone, but I guarantee you that there is something for everyone. It's the ultimate book for those wanting to get to their next level.

Evaluation: There is always something to learn. Buy this, read it and re-read it.

Ledge Sports Gooseberry Hydration Pack (Black)
Ledge Sports Gooseberry Hydration Pack (Black)

Lightweight,mesh with padded shoulder straps. This small (on your back) Hydration Pack. .holds 50oz. of water but is roomy enough inside for a 68oz. Ripstop Construction, with a Zipped Front Pocket Storage. Storage you can use for an MP3 with opening for earplugs.

Reflective Taping for visibility and safety.. A great buy.

Evaluation: Buying this for climbing is worth twice the price they ask

Climbing Rock
Climbing Rock

Climbing as a Hobby

The "Seed" sprouts.

Our climb that day, involved about a dozen of us and two camp counselor's. Not a life defining moment for sure, but I do remember how tired I was after climbing through pumice stone near the top. It seemed like we took three steps forward and slid back two, but all of us eventually made it through it using teamwork. What that single climb did, was instill in me, the thrill of climbing.

To climb to the top of a mountain and look down on the world below? Well, it was breathtaking to a 10 year old boy. Up to that point in my life I had never been in an airplane or even a building taller than a two story. It seemed as if I was on top of the world. However, as life often is, another opportunity did not present itself for several years. (about 20 years to be exact)

But present itself, it did.

Rock Climbing

Lesson learned and realized

One memory was triggered while elk hunting in south western Idaho. My Father and I had trailed a herd of elk, about 3,500 feet up the side of a ridge. Realizing that we were losing the battle to catch up with them, we decided to flank them. Being the 'smart' hunter's that we thought we were, the easy way to do that, was by climbing straight up the mountain via a small rock face. Doing so, would allow us to outflank the herd that continued wandering sideways and up. After all, how hard could it be to climb a simple little sloped rock face, right? The picture at the right depicts a similar rock face. How hard could it be?

It sounds far more adventurous than it really was, and that rock face was no more than 100 feet or so high and sloped back and up. Not too exacting of a climb right? It also was giving us the opportunity to reach the top unseen by the elk. Sounds simple, climbing a small rock face? A rock wall, with admittedly, a slight "lean in" towards the mountain did aid our climb, but without the benefit of ropes, pitons, any safety gear or basic knowledge? We were lucky. To have fallen would mean falling on a pile of jagged rocks at the cliff base.

Looking back now, it was downright silly to attempt that climb that day. In spite of that, our tactic worked, we made the climb safely and both of us got our elk that day. Needless to say, we came back down the far slope as opposed to climbing back down that rock face. That single climb however, rekindled the journey begun all those years earlier at summer camp on Diamond lake.

Today, it's something that has became an enjoyable hobby.

The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training for Climbers
The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training for Climbers

Even if you have gotten in shape and learned the proper way to condition your body, this book will explain the next step...Mind over matter. There's nothing worse than getting to the end of that ledge and you have to make a decision. How to go forward or do I go back. Learn the skill of decision making here. Available in Paperback, KINDLE and Audio CD

Climbing rock
Climbing rock

Rock Climbing Without Training

Lessons learned

The fact that we attempted climbing in normal hunting boots as opposed to proper climbing boots was nuts in itself. It proved that we were not prepared for climbing or even this eventuality on a hunting trip. It was one of the first lessons I learned that day about being prepared, a lesson from long ago that seemed to creep back into my consciousness.

Now, in our favor, we did use teamwork to climb. We took turns leading and we passed our backpacks and back boards to the guy above as we climbed using all of the cracks and crevices in the cliff face we could find. That way, the climb was somewhat easier without all of the weight on our backs.

The second lesson, is that even though we knew the terrain, we had no idea how to rock climb. With that in mind, my Father and I probably made that climb harder than it actually was. All I can tell you is, after climbing that cliff face of probably no more than 100 feet? We were both exhausted.

We finally rolled out on the top of that ridge and lay on our backs for a good five minutes. As I lay there, looking up at the sky, I flashed back to that day on Mount Thielsen all those years ago . It's funny what triggers memory. But, I digress.

After catching our breath we realized we were both, completely out of shape for this kind of a climb. That's not saying we were not in shape. Just not in shape for climbing a rock face with loaded backpacks, meat rack, canteens and a long rifle each.

Third lesson learned. From that day forward, my overriding philosophy born all those years ago, on Mount Thielsen, was set in motion:: "Plan my trip, plan my gear, and plan my exit. Since then, I have spent a lifetime of doing just that and trying to pass my experiences along to help others.

Let's talk conditioning

climbing rock
climbing rock

Climbing Preparation

Training and Conditioning

What kind of training and conditioning is required to become a good climber? Mostly, it depends upon you. How hard are you willing to train and what kind of climbing do you intend to pursue? To be good, takes years of climbing, starting simple and working more and more towards the complex. This sport does not require you to spend a ton of money to be able to enjoy it, but it does require good conditioning and depending upon what you plan to climb, good training.

Body conditioning is probably the most important aspect, so start simple and build. Running is great exercise to start off with. It builds your wind capacity and your stamina. Legs, arms, heart and lungs all get a workout. Any local Junior High or High school track is an excellent place to start.

A normal High School track is a 1/4 mile around, so four times around is a mile. Start by running a half lap and walking a half lap (or whatever you are capable of in the beginning). Once you feel comfortable with running/walking, slowly increase the distance you run, until you can run a full lap, then two laps, three and so forth.

As you improve, begin timing your laps for a mile. A great "mile" time to shoot for is an 8 to an 8 1/2 minute mile average. Not fast, just steady. Remember, you are looking for stamina, not speed. Once you find you can run at least two miles without stopping, look for small hills to run, and start building those leg, lung and heart muscles further.

Try wearing a pack with a light load and as your stamina increase, add to that load. This will build your back muscles as well as your legs. Pick up some books on conditioning for climbing and create a schedule of training and then stick to it.

Plan at least 90 days of conditioning, before you ever start trying to climb. (unless all you plan to do is a day hike at your local parks) After you have mastered the basics, (good body conditioning as well as some rudimentary climbing skills), start climbing hills around where you live. Places you can go up and back in the same day, until you feel comfortable and can do the hikes with little or no rest.

More books for your knowledge...grab 'em and read 'em.

Regardless of What Type of Climbing, Get In Condition - Be ready, because it takes work to get in shape

Condition, condition, condition. Not just the body but the mind also. It takes more than just brute strength to climb a rock face. These two books will ramp your thinking and give you even more insight into body and mind conditioning.

Conditioning for Climbers: The Complete Exercise Guide (How To Climb Series)
Conditioning for Climbers: The Complete Exercise Guide (How To Climb Series)

I recommend this book over and over as the right way to get in shape. It doesn't matter who you are, you can always learn something new and this book takes THAT to another level. It doesn't matter your skill set or how much you have climbed. Always be open to learning something new. Available in Paperback and KINDLE

Gregory Z75 Backpack, Ember Orange, Large
Gregory Z75 Backpack, Ember Orange, Large

Not going climbing, but just extended hikinmg with some climbing thrown in and your're looking for a pack to carry a bit more equipment? The Gregory Z75 is the answer. It's a top loader and if you are looking for a bag to store your sleeping bag? This is easier than the others on the market. No sideload for the sleeping bag. Trust me when I say it's easier. I've used both and this one hands down is the best.

Evaluation: Packed properly, you will never know this bag is on your back. The contour is great.

climbing rock
climbing rock

In Closing Today

You can gain climbing knowledge by using the Internet

The Internet is a rich source of information to find anything about climbing-rock climbing, so if you have the access? Use it.

Try exchanging information with other climber's, asking questions, while learning all the while. Climbing is not tough once you learn how, so take the time to learn the right way. Another thought to keep in mind, always try to go climbing with someone more experienced than yourself. I find you always learn something, no matter how much you think you know. Keep to the basics until you learn proper techniques and pick up the necessary safety skills.

Climbing is fun, but (I've said this before) you need to learn the right way. Even experienced climbers have gotten hurt now and then, remember that. Finally, as I suggested, talk to people in the sport, there also a ton of blogs to follow. Read books, get videos on the subject. Your public library is another source of informational material. While climbing does require good conditioning and training?

Getting there does not have to be expensive. Thanks for reading today, stay safe and I'll see you on the mountain--CampingmanNW

Care to share any ideas or comments on Rock Climbing?

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    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @shellys-space: Interesting that you should comment on Devil's Tower. I climbed that tower a couple times when I was much younger. There are easy and there are hard routes up and down that. For me, the first time was just to be able to say that I had climbed it. The second time around, was using another route some friends suggested we take. I still used ropes and did not free climb. Now days, there is a voluntary denial to climb in the month of June, so that the Native indians can celebrate and honor. But it has been many years for me now. Thanks for your visit and kind comments

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      My son practiced on a wooden "wall" at Boy Scout camp. We also saw some rock climbers at Devil's Tower last Summer, what a long way up that was!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @RuralFloridaLiving: Will do. Thanks for your visit.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great fun for the adventurous - stay safe out there!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @orange3 lm: You will love it for life, once you try it. Thanks for your visit

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 

      5 years ago

      Rock climbing looks like a blast!! I've only done indoor rock climbing...maybe someday I'll try outdoors :)

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @takkhisa: Well stated. Yes indeed it is and a great hobby also. Thank you for reading.

    • takkhisa profile image


      5 years ago

      Rock climbing is challenging and adventurous!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @infoprogirl: It truly is amazing. If you go back to my lenses, you can read the one titled "A Mountain Climbing beginning" and see where it all began. Once you try it, you will be hooked. Thank you for leaving a comment

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Rock Climbing seems amazing. I don't think I would ever try it (at least not outdoors) :)! Very nice lens!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Haven't been rock climbing in years, can't wait to go again! Great story campingman!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @SuzieJames: Rock climbing, like any other sport is only as fun and safe as you make it. I try my best to be careful and pass along those lessons to others. Thank you for your visit and your kind words

    • SuzieJames profile image


      6 years ago

      I am in awe of people who take on such challenging sports. So much information here..wish I wasn't such a coward for heights!

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: Yes it is. Rock climbing is great if you're in shape and love the outdoors. Thanks for the comments.

    • CampingmanNW profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Tina4xy LM: Hahaha, thank you.

    • Tina4xy LM profile image

      Tina4xy LM 

      6 years ago

      I agree as well...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Looks like an interesting way to pass the time and stay fit.


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