Rock climbing is exciting, dynamic, and ever-changing. Every new route is a slightly new experience, and depending on the angle of the wall or rock face, entirely different muscles will be called on to get you to the top. If you do bouldering, competition may require you to climb and dyno (jump) between handholds at high speeds. Of course you want to do well in the competition, but remember that your safety should always come first. Whether you are a beginner or you scale hundred-foot walls for fun, here are some tips to make your rock climbing hobby safer so that you can stop worrying and have fun instead!
Know What You’re Doing
If you’re very new to rock climbing, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Practice climbing indoors, on a wall with safety gear such as a rope and harness before you even think of attempting something like bouldering (a fast-paced rock climbing style that often is performed with no rope or harness, and that asks you to dyno more often than other styles.) Practice and memorize a variety of rock climbing techniques and holds before you attempt climbing an actual rock face.
As you’re climbing, plot which hold you’re going to reach for next, and with which hand or foot. Always have a plan, and ideally you should have a plan of what to do if that handhold doesn’t work out. For example, if you’re climbing an actual rock face the hold might not be as stable as it appeared, and crumble–what will you grab instead to steady yourself? You’re a lot more likely to actually grab onto the backup hold in time if you know where you’re going to reach for ahead of time!
Keep Your Gear In Shape
No amount of careful route plotting and training will help you if you take a fall on a worn-out rope. Worn-down gear can’t do its job, which is to keep you safe and to make your climbing experience more fun. Always keep your gear in good shape and treat it well, and it will do the same for you.