So, You Wanna Start Rock Climbing? Here’s What You Need to Know Blog Feature

By: Christina Damon

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So, You Wanna Start Rock Climbing? Here’s What You Need to Know

The thought of trying rock climbing for the first time can feel pretty intimidating. Gripping tiny holds while defying gravity with sweaty hands... we get it, we’ve all been there too! But listen, those pre-climbing jitters are totally normal and simply mean you're about to start an exciting new journey.

At Movement, we welcome you no matter where you're at. Novice climbers just starting out are our kind of people. Climbing is all about continual self-improvement and having fun while you're at it.

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The Basics

So what exactly is rock climbing? At its core, it’s using your mind and body together to ascend a vertical (or overhanging) wall by gripping and stepping on small holds. The main types are:

  • top-rope (you're attached to a rope from the top of the wall),
  • lead climbing (you clip yourself in as you go), and
  • bouldering (climbing short routes without ropes).

Don't worry about terms and techniques at first. At Movement, our routes range from total intro level to insanely difficult for the pros. We'll start you off exactly where you should be. When you’re ready to learn more about technique, check out our other blogs!

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What You'll Need

As a beginner climber, your gear needs are simple: a pair of climbing shoes, chalk to keep your hands dry, and maybe some snug athletic clothing that gives you freedom to move. That's it! Your local gym will have all the other equipment available for rent like ropes, harnesses, belay devices, etc. Can't get much easier than that, right?

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Your First Time Climbing

There are several different paths one might take to actually get in the gym and on the wall. Here’s some of our favorite ways to get in the gym as a first timer:

Adult Climbers:

If you’re looking to get into climbing as an adult, we recommend taking an intro class to learn everything you need to know. With Intro to Rope Climbing, your class will cover all the basics like tying knots, using the equipment, footwork techniques, and safety. With Intro to Bouldering, your class will cover the basics of technique, how to fall, footwork, and more. At Movement, your first class is free, so find your local gym and sign up for a class today!   

You might also be introduced to climbing through a friend, or perhaps through a work team building event . Friends can be the best teachers and cheerleaders, and if your friend is a Movement member, they can refer you for membership and your initiation fee will be waived!

Youth Climbers:

Raise your hand if you first climbed at a friend’s birthday party as a kid and you’ve been dreaming about it ever since! Well, the kids are alright, because climbing parties  are alive and well as one of the top ways children start climbing.

If your kiddo is a climber-in-training, check out your local gym’s After School Program or Seasonal Camps. These programs have options for varying ages and offer kids the opportunity to get on the wall in a guided environment and make some new friends along the way.

Climbing team is another great way for youth to get involved with the sport. At Movement, our team programs aim to foster a love of climbing and the mental challenges climbing can present. We focus on advanced technical skills and increased conditioning fueled by the support of fellow team members and friends.

All Climbers:

If you’re looking for a fully guided approach to your first time climbing at any age, our Book-a-Climb sessions are a great place to start. Over the hour-long session, our experienced instructors will handle the ropes for you so you can just focus on having fun!

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Keep At It

Sticking with climbing is hugely rewarding because you'll continually see yourself achieving things you never thought possible. Moves and routes that seem absurdly difficult at first become dust in the rear-view mirror as your skills improve. You've just gotta trust in the process, put in the work, and don't get down on yourself when you plateau.

Rock climbing is a journey, and the best part is finding new ways to challenge yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Climb higher, try a new discipline like crack climbing or bouldering, take on that intimidating route you've been eyeing. We're here to cheer you on and help you grow every step of the way.