Rock Climbing is Totally Sweet!
Rock climbing is not just for adrenaline junkies, although if that's your thing it works too. The point is, you can take rock climbing exactly as far as you wish. Whether you're looking to scale K2, attempt a speed record of El Capitan, or just trying to have fun once a month and tone those arms, climbing ROCKS!
If you're interested in honing or improving
-upper body strength
-Problem solving skills
-the ability to be calm in a stressful environment
you should be a rock climber.
The bottom line is that if you're looking for something new, up-and-coming, downright cool, a great workout, social and endlessly compelling, you should check it out.
As I said, you take it as far as you want to.
If you don't like it, just don't do it anymore.
Fred Beckley - A TRUE Climber, 85 and Still Ripping!
Check out this link to a recent NY Times article about Fred Beckley, legendary climber and first ascensionist. This guy is 85 and still climbing. If he can KEEP climbing, you can START climbing!
I Don't Want to Scare You, But:
I am an avid climber and highly recommend it to everyone I know and don't know. Climbing, is however, inherently dangerous. Just like windsurfing, just like driving, just like football.
I am in no way responsible for any injury or mishap resulting from anything read hereafter.
THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTION
3 Year Old Kid Ripping it Up! - YES!
This three year old kid is a natural. WE'RE ALL NATURALS!
What is climbing? - Climbing is YOU!
Climbing, in essence, is an individual sport at the moment you are doing it. That can fade though, as people below you are cheering you on and giving you advice. "Move you're left foot up! You can do it!"
Competitions are held, but it is not a competitive sport. Each climber pursues their own goals and sets their own limits.
And you get to buy some cool gear!
The best way to get into climbing is through your local indoor climbing gym. Every major city in the developed world has at least one climbing gym. Show up, take a lesson to learn how to belay (hold the rope safely), and you're off!
Or if this is more your flavor.... - Freesoloing (climbing without a rope or protection) is highly discouraged by this Lensmaster
Here is Dan Osman freesoloing Lovers Leap in Cali. Notice the no-hands, -no feet dyno (big dynamic jumping move in climbing). Dan Osman has since passed away.
Get Me Started! - Where To Go, What To Ask For, How To Ask For It
So, to get started climbing, you'll need one of two things:
A)A friend who climbs and is qualified/experienced enough to show you the ropes and get you climbing and belaying,
B)a climbing gym near by.
If choice A is not available, don't worry! Choice B almost always is! Just call in or show up to your local climbing gym (refer to link at the end of this module), and ask them how you can get started climbing. They will be more than happy to get you in there, book you for some kind of Getting Started lesson and basically GET YOU CLIMBING.
The main thing you learn in any getting started lesson is how to belay. This is the most important skill in climbing. If you don't know how to belay, you can't hold the rope for other climbers and you really can't enjoy the fullness of climbing. You can climb just fine, but no one will take you because you'll be a hanger-on. Luckily, it's EASY and you can learn how to safely belay in a two hour lesson.
IMPORTANT: Belaying can be taught in fifteen minutes; it usually is. But it is the kind of thing where there is absolutely never, ever, any whatsoever, room for failure or mishap. If the belayer messes up, the climber can fall from where he or she is, ALL the way to the ground at a good old 9.8 meters per second, squared. LEARN HOW TO BELAY PROPERLY.
Getting Started Links - Gym List, Getting Started Gear and Climbing Schools
Here are helpful links for getting started. From finding a gym anywhere in the world, to hooking up with a reputable climbing school, this is what's UP.
- Indoor Climbing.com
Indoor Climbing is a simple and classic website with a WORLDWIDE list of climbing gyms. (And a whole slew of other information about indoor climbing). There's even an online browser climbing game!
- Rock Climb.org
A no-frills site designed simply to help rock climbers find climbing. (That means You!)
- EMS Climbing School
Eastern Mountain Sports runs one of the most reputable and popular climbing schools in the country. They operate out of any EMS retail store and beyond!
- Getting Started Gear
This is the basic set of gear you need to get started climbing, except for shoes. Black Diamond makes very high quality gear and this package is well priced.
- Climbing Shoes
Here is a wide range of climbing shoes. To buy shoes, I recommend you go to climbing retail stores and try on as many pairs as possible, then graciously thank them and go buy the shoes online. You should not just buy shoes online unless you have tri
- Rock Climbing For Life!
This site's name says it! I know some hardcore, dedicated climbers well above their 60's. This website provides general information, links, advice and just good climbing advice.
Climbing And Me - My Climbing Life
Climbing And Me:
I've been climbing since I was about 13 years old, and I still absolutely love it, and I still definitely have LOTS of room for improvement.
I started just as I suggest you start. I went to my local climbing gym, a now closed-down establishment in Stanford, Connecticut, called Go Vertical. I took a "getting started," lesson with my dad and learned how to belay (again, that's holding the rope safely for the climber, using a bit of equipment so that you can take up slack and arrest any falls). After that I was hooked.
I was never into traditional team sports as a kid. I just wasn't raised in a home where the major sports are very popular. I was, however, athletic and outdoorsy. I took part in climbing competitions and did pretty well. (Nowadays I am a coach for the nationally competitive Team Rock at The Rock Club. The competition scene has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and is still exploding) In the end, though, It was about meeting great people, hanging out in the woods, challenging myself, getting stronger, learning how my body works and gathering stories I'll never forget.
While I was in college, my father retired from being an executive at a chemical company and (with a little encouragement), decided to open up a climbing gym in the NY metro area. A few years later, The Rock Club in New Rochelle, NY was open. We've been open for almost seven years now and the community has spoken:
THEY LOVE ROCK CLIMBING!
The Rock Club has birthday parties, Bah Mitzvahs, all levels of lessons, Team Rock, dance parties and all sorts of other ways to get people into it.
Now, this Lens is not up to sell you on The Rock Club. This is here to sell you on climbing per se. If you live in the NY metro area you should look up The Rock Club and the other gyms in the area just the same. Really I just want there to be more climbers in the world, because climbers tend to be laid back people who respect the environment and care about other people.
Currently, I'm blessed to be back in America after a few years climbing and getting weird in South East Asia. I'm the Head Route Setter and Dir. of Operations back at The Rock Club, in New Rochelle, as well as a leading coach for Team Rock. If the weather's nice and I can get ahead, it's OFF TO THE GUNKS! So far, I'm definitely living my climbing dream.
Can I climb? I'm a little... - It's OK!
Your first time will be frustrating if you're a big strong man, and you think you'll be better than your 110 lb. girlfriend. In fact, unless you're quite talented, she'll whoop your butt for the first month! (The same goes for a gym-aholic father going with his 13 and 16 year old daughters). While he grunts and curses his way up the wall, she'll most likely be delicate, smooth, calm and just basically a much better climber than him.
(Sound like a good date suggestion to the ladies out there?)
However, male or female, strong, chubby, rail-thin, old, young, athletic or trying to become athletic, you can all climb. As long as you lack any major handicaps, you can probably climb. Now keep in mind, I have taught a blind 11 year old boy and a man born with a congenitally deformed right hand how to climb and they both did great.
I am here to kill the myth. YOU CAN BE A CLIMBER!
What are you waiting for? Flip open that phone book or do that Google search like this:
[your city or region]climbing gym
Isn't Climbing Dangerous?
Inherent Risks and Human Error (Get Trained)
BUT ISN'T IT DANGEROUS???
Fundamentally, yes, climbing is dangerous. There is always the potential of falling if you are not on the ground. For instance, being in the eighth floor of an apartment building. If you are standing up and just fall back onto a concrete floor it could kill you. But we don't lie prone all day, do we?
The fact is that climbing is as risky as you make it, and accidents in climbing invariably occur as a result of human error. The equipment, when used and maintained correctly, doesn't fail.
Climbing is inherently risky, and that's something no climber should forget, but when I was asked while working for my climbing gym, "Is it dangerous?" I always replied (truthfully), "It's definitely safer than the car-ride here."
Deep Water Soloing
Ok, this is a little dangerous
Deep water soloing is simply the act of climbing on cliffs above water deep enough to fall into from height. Deeper water is recommended for higher climbs. Obviously this is nowhere near the risk profile of true free-soloing, as the water is there to "catch" you. But as anyone who has done a bellyflop from a 2-foot-high diving board knows, water can feel like concrete. So, don't fall wrong and jump in like a pencil!
I had the good fortune to live in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam for about two years helping to run a small adventure company out there now called Asia Outdoors. Ha Long Bay is a premier location, worldwide, for Deep Water Soloing. I had the pleasure to get to know many of the Bay's countless limestone faces, high above the water.
Yes, the shoes get wet. It's ok.
No, you cannot put on enough chalk. Smack some onto your forearms. It's ok.
Yes, there is loose rock. This is going to be adventurous. Know your limits. It's ok.
No, you cannot always downclimb. Sometimes it's safer to jump. it's ok!
Anyone can climb and anyone can love it
Climbing is not some elite thing. Anyone can get into climbing and anyone can totally love it. There is ALWAYS room to improve and you choose precisely how far you want to take it. Beware, you might want to take it pretty far after all is said and done!
Could anything else make this bunch so happy? And notice how fit everyone is! Coincidence? I think not.
My buddy Obe Carrion whining as usual - Actually he's an absolutly amazing climber
Obe in Josh Lowell's legendary climbing video "Free Hueco." Obe also appeared in Lowell's "Rampage" and "Dosage I."
Get Started With Some Reading - Intro to Climbing, Knots, Technique and Gear
A few selected books on climbing, climbing knots, technique, gear reccomendations and use.
Josh Lowell's AWSOME Climbing Videos - The Best Climbers in the World, All Over the World
Other Miscelaneous Climbing Videos - Totally Rediculous Climbing and Other Antics
A selection of my favorite climbing videos from a few companies. Masters of Stone V is a classic!
Climbing links - Check it out!
Here are links about climbing in general, climbing blogs and of course a link to my favorite climbing gym, The Rock Club in New Rochelle.
- The Rock Club
This is the homepage for my Dad's gym. It'll give you a good idea of what kinds of stuff a full service, modern climbing gym can offer.
- Perhaps rock climbing's very own homepage
rockclimbing.com offers a climbing community, lists of gyms, lists of outdoor areas and a plethora of everything climbing.
- Mountain Gear
Mountain Gear offers what I think are the best prices on stuff you need for climbing, camping, backpacking etc.
- Cimbing Magazine
The magazine for rock and ice climbing. Simply put, tons of information.
- Big Up Productions
Big Up productions is run by Josh Lowell and his brother, Brett. Both are excellent climbers in their own rite, but the people they generally film are the best in the world, and he films them climbing all over the world. From India to France, New Ham
- Climbing for life
This website is an all around portal for everything climbing, made by our own squid lover, RockClimbingForLife.
- Slopony Adventures
This is the homepage of a small climbing and adventure tourism venture on Cat Ba Island, Vietnam. -Two guys from America who jumped ship for Vietnam to make their own adventure and dedicated their efforts to helping travelers in Vietnam do the same.
Climbers: Help explain why people should climb.
Non-Climbers: Ask questions or comment on why you don't climb... yet.