My cousin and his wife are very enthusiastic rock-climbers. So much so that all their holidays are planned around whether you can climb or not. If there is also scuba diving nearby – well then, that makes for the ultimate holiday…
They come and visit us regularly here in France as we have a lot of good climbing within an hour of our home. And so enthusiastic are they that they have even got us up on high ledges searching for that elusive crack for the next heave ho! I must say I love it and I can see why people get hooked. You have the fear, the excitement, the feeling of enormous achievement as you go over the top – and of course the view when you get there which is when you lambast yourself for forgetting the camera!
So if you feel the urge and are looking for some adventure, you might think about giving it a go. There are, of course, as with all these extreme sports, things you need to know and over the next few days I will highlight some of those things here for you…
With his supreme skills on rock, hypercompetitive intensity, and new-age bag of tricks, Dean Potter scrambles up big walls faster than any man alive.
NOT to be recommended for a beginner!
Rock climbing requires you to be in pretty good physical shape. You’ll be using your legs and arms to haul yourself up the side of a mountain. Halfway up the face of a rock is not a good place to discover that you have a body of jelly.
It is not as glamorous as Hollywood makes it look. It’s an intense sport that requires lots of preparation, practice, and concentration.
Gyms with rock climbing walls are a great place to begin training. You’ll get a feel for the amount of physical exertion you’ll need to expel, and you’ll get to test out different levels of expertise. Once you’re comfortable with an indoor rock wall, you can move on to the great outdoors.
You need plenty of endurance for rock climbing, so you need to be fit. You should do some mild running, swimming, or biking – even aerobic classes to build up your cardio-vascular fitness. It’ll build up your stamina. You probably won’t realize this if you haven’t climbed before, but a large part of the sport involves hiking!
VERY important: stretch everything, especially your legs, arms, and fingers. It may sound strange, but flexible fingers are a must. When you’re grabbing for a ledge that’s only a centimeter wide, you’ll want finger flexibility.
You also need to be strong enough to push yourself, or pull yourself, up a wall of rock, so some basic weight training would be useful. One thing that many people don’t realize is that while rock climbing, you actually use your legs more than your arms , but since most people’s legs are stronger than their arms you shouldn’t have too much of a problem. However you should spend equal amounts of time exercising both the upper and lower body.
The other thing to remember is that tying knots is a fundamental skill in rock climbing and takes practice, but you only need to know how to tie a couple types of knots, and it’s really easy to learn.
And finally, and perhaps this should have come first, if you have acrophobia (that is, the fear of heights), then don’t even attempt to rock climb. You’ll be miserable and so will your climbing mates!!!