Welcome to “Rock Climbing Life!”
This is officially my first post! If you want to know about me, check out the “About” page. I wanted to create a space where people who are curious about rock climbing, or want to hone their rock climbing skills, can come learn from someone who’s in the game. As a certified gym instructor, I have developed the skills necessary to keep you alive on the ropes, and of course, have fun doing it! Here are some Tech Tips which I have learned over the years in order for you to stay safe while rock climbing. Enjoy!
- The Figure 8 Knot – There are hundreds of knots that the modern day rock climber has to learn, but this is the most important. This is the knot that connects your end of the rope to your partner. Start with about 4 feet of rope, make a twist in it, and loop the rope around the twist. Then, poke the end of the rope through the loop. You should be able to see the shape of an “8” in the rope. This is how you connect yourself to the rope. Simply thread it to your harness, and complete the knot the same way as before, to make a “double rope” figure 8. If you have any extra rope, just tuck it into the knot.
- Climbing Shoes – Like most people, when I first started rock climbing, I used a comfortable pair of sneakers. This can only take you so far. Eventually, you will need a special pair of shoes called, “Climbing Shoes”, in order to get better at climbing. These shoes are specially made by companies that add a thick layer of black rubber to the bottom of the shoe. This allows for your foot to “stick” to the rock better. This will help you a lot as you progress because you wont have to press as hard on footholds.
- Chalk – Think of the chalk crayons you used in school, only crushed up to a fine powder. This is chalk powder, which you keep in a “chalk bag” so that you can dip your hands in the chalk as you climb. Rock climbing is not like climbing a ladder. Especially in the gym, holds can be very slippery, and the chalk helps keep your hands from slipping off, which can cause you to fall! Outdoors, I have found that the holds are not as slippery, and I rarely use chalk – but perfect your skills indoors before you attempt this technique.
- To Belay – This is the name of the process in which you control the rope when another person is climbing. I won’t go into the specifics of how to belay, because this should be done by a qualified instructor (like yours truly) at a certified climbing gym, but here’s a tip to help you get better once you have learned. Set up a “faux belay” station in your home. This is where you set up a pulley on a doorway, over your bed, or in your garage, and thread the rope in it as if you were belaying. Practice feeding out the rope, and taking in the rope, so that once you get out there and have to belay in the real world, your technique will be perfect!
That’s it for now! Get out there and have fun!
And remember, walking is knot the same as climbing!