Finding all the right gear is key to climbing of course, but there are other steps whose importance is often overlooked. Ironically this part is where you actually start to climb.
Picking a Gym
Boulder has not one, not two, but three climbing gyms to choose from! Of course, all of my friends belonged to different gyms. How was I to narrow things down?
One gym was dedicated to bouldering. Another offered new workout equipment plus cycling and Yoga classes. The last gym had an old-school feel and was the only one to offer automatic belays.
I was able to narrow my decision by looking at three things: price, future aspirations, and social preferences. Here was my breakdown: 1) I was already a member of the YMCA, and one of the gyms offered me a joint membership and a significant discount. 2) A long-term goal of mine is to climb all of Colorado’s fourteeners, so some rope skills would come in handy. And 3) as an introvert, sometimes I just really like to climb by myself!
If you haven’t guessed already, I ended up getting a membership at the old-school gym with automatic belays.
Going for It
The most important part of climbing for a beginner is simply to just go for it. You can learn the climbing jargon online and watch some moves on YouTube, but really the best way to learn is to just to start. Actually, I like to think of it as kids playing on a playground. Sometimes, kids will just run straight to the slide or monkey bars, and other times they’ll watch a big kid do something first. This is also the best approach I’ve found in starting my climbing journey. A lot of the time when I get to the gym, I’ll go straight to a route that I was playing on last time and try to work on a new move. Within minutes, I’ll get “pumped” and need a break, so I’ll watch more advanced climbers while I let my arms rest.
Next Stop, Yosemite
Okay, so it might be awhile before I’m ready for Yosemite, but with the patience and support of some good friends, I might be ready for Boulder’s Flat Irons or a jaunt on the Eldorado Canyon’s Bastille. Regardless, I’ll be out there finding crags and playing outside!