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December 06, 2018

How to get started with rock climbing

                                                                                                             Photo Source:  Pixabay

Many people are interested in outdoor adventure but sometimes struggle to know how to get started. If rock climbing is something that you want to invest your time in to have fun, here's a plan for you.

Start indoors at a gym. This is a great way to get started especially when the weather isn’t ideal. My first indoor climb was in Shanghai, China but Joe Rockheads was a favourite when I lived in Toronto. Guelph Grotto was my home gym and where I met the love of my life but that’s a different blog post!

Indoor climbing gives you the safety net of taking risks you wouldn’t want to outdoors and allows you to train and hone your technique. You learn the grading system and start to get comfortable. Some gyms have auto-belays which means you don’t even need to come with a partner anymore. I am still old school and an extrovert so I climb with a partner because I need the social aspect of climbing and I like have a belayer who offers me beta (tips) on the climb.

Once you feel confident indoors and can belay and tie in, consider taking a beginner outdoor program. You can find a beginner outdoor rock climbing course for complete novices and gym climbers. You’ll get more out of the program if you are already comfortable on rock and can already belay. There are usually 4-5 routes set up at the cliff before you arrive so you can just sign the waiver and get geared up. You will be in a small group of six or less with your instructor who will guide you step by step. You will learn to tie in and belay if you don’t know how or get a refresher. The instructors will monitor you and hold the brake line until they are confident that you are capable of belaying. The actual climb is quite exhilarating and the views are spectacular. My personal favourite time of year to climb outdoors is in the Fall when the colours are at their peak. It is really breathtaking looking out to the Fall colours and seeing the turkey vultures soaring above you.

After your outdoor rock climbing experience, you may wonder about coming out more often and on your own. You can join a top rope anchors course to teach you how to safely set up your own climbs. Some people choose to go out and “wing it” but this is not recommended because your rope rigging is what is keeping you safe. Learn to set up your top rope anchors properly and learn the rules of the crag. You can go on to learn sport climbing, rappelling and ascending, self-rescue, solo climbing, trad and aid climbing etc. Or you may choose to go with winter sports and try ice climbing which is is available in Elora and Ancaster as well as setting your own ice anchors and then graduate to mountaineering. The possibilities seem endless and ONE AXE Pursuits has all the courses mentioned above to help you grow and meet your rock climbing goals. Check out our website for all the rock climbing courses available. 

Gallery - ONE AXE Pursuits together with Conservation Halton - Try It Rock Climbing 


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