A Beginners Guide to Rock Climbing
At the age of 16 I came across a photograph of two folks sitting on a ledge with their legs dangling thousands of feet off the valley floor. From that moment on I knew what my life goal would be. The only issue was that I was terrified of heights and I knew next to nothing about the gear required or the technique needed to reach wild locations like these. Fortunately, I had people in my life and a great outdoor gear shop in my neighborhood that could steer me towards that lifelong goal. Whether your discipline is rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, trail running, Nordic or AT skiing, the staff here at Ascent Outdoors are here to help you navigate your way to your passions.
Types of Rock Climbing
Bouldering can be one of the best & easiest ways to start climbing. Since you are typically not climbing anything taller than 15' all that is need is a pair of climbing shoes, a chalk bag, a crash pad and a good partner to spot you. Bouldering allows you to focus solely on movement and climbing technique without having to deal with all the gear.
Sport climbing allows you to take the skills you've developed bouldering into the world of roped climbing. With this style of climbing the leader clips a series of stainless steel bolts with quickdraws, eventually arriving to the top of the pitch. The leader then sets up a top rope allowing others to climb with the security of a rope above them in case of a fall. The gear necessary for sport climbing are a pair of rock shoes, chalk bag, helmet, harness, belay device, HMS carabiner, rope and a set of quickdraws. As climbing is dangerous we highly recommend learning from a close and trusted mentor or by taking a Intro to Rock Climbing Class.
Maybe you've been climbing for a while and have mastered anchor building techniques and are proficient at leading a sport route. While sport climbing requires the climber to follow a series of pre-drilled bolts, trad climbing (or traditional climbing) can open the door to endless adventures at the crag or in the mountains. In trad the leader places their own gear in a crack, trusting their own gear will catch them in the case of a fall. This opens up a world of possibilities because as long as there is a crack system, there's is most likely a way to climb it. The gear required is a little more extensive as you need all the gear for sport climbing as well as a set of stoppers, 1-2 sets of cams, extendable alpine draws.
With one of the largest variety of climbing gear, we are always stoked to help you get the gear you need so you can achieve your climbing goals. Till next time - AO