There is no one path to take as a beginner climber. Everyone's experience differs depending on their goals, background, etc. But there are definitely a few things that every beginner climber can benefit from knowing. Keep reading to find out the top 5 tips for any beginner climber!
Top 5 Tips for Beginner Climbers
1. Find a Friend(s)
While there may come a time in your climbing career when you find yourself popping in headphones and lapping climbs for endurance training, at the start, it'll benefit you to find friends who will rock climb with you! Climbing is, at its core, a very social and community-oriented sport. Many seasoned climbers can attest that while they love the adrenaline rush and feeling climbing brings them; they also love heading to the climbing gym and talking to all their friends and acquaintances.
Making friends in climbing is also critical to avoid being a prisoner to the auto-belays and boulder walls forever. We don't call them belay-tionships (you know, a friendly relationship with your belay buddy) for nothing!
2. Learn the Lingo
As with any niche sport, there will be "insider" lingo. While you should never feel ashamed for not knowing what a climbing term means, the more you know, the easier it will become to chat with other climbers. Additionally, you will need to understand specific lingo and technical terms if you wish to become top-rope belay certified. A learn-to-belay course offered at a climbing gym is a great way to learn technical jargon. Or, engage in conversation with seasoned climbers and friends you make in the gym. Most climbers are friendly and sociable, so they'll make sure you know the beta (hint: that's your first bit of climbing lingo).
3. Climb Climb Climb
If your concern is about getting better as a beginner climber, don't worry. If you prioritize climbing as much as possible, you are almost guaranteed to see exponential growth in your first year as a climber. The more advanced you become, the more incremental your progress will become and the more you may have to supplement with climbing-specific training exercises. So, for now, enjoy the freedom to go to the gym and climb as much as possible.
4. Don’t Compare! Only focus on your progress.
Yes, we have made sure to hammer home the social aspect of climbing, but climbing itself is very individualistic. Comparing yourself to other climbers in the gym will only hinder your enjoyment and progress. Avoiding the comparison game doesn't mean you shouldn't watch other climbers and learn from them; we'll get into that in a minute. Instead, remember that every person starts at a different point in their fitness level and climbing ability. The only thing you can control is that you show up to the climbing wall and climb for yourself. Comparison kills, so don't compare, and remember always to be proud of your climbing journey!
5. Watch other, more advanced climbers.
While you shouldn't compare yourself to others in the gym, we highly suggest that as a beginner, you spend just as much time watching other climbers in the gym or videos of climbers online as you do climbing! This is because you can learn a lot by observing how good climbers move on the wall and then trying to apply it to your climbing. Not only does this increase your ability to problem solve, a critical component of climbing, but it will increase your reservoir of climbing technique and strategy to pull from if you are ever stuck on a climb.
Now, don't just stare creepily at other climbers. Ask questions! "That was awesome! What made you think to use that beta?" "Do you have any favorite V2s in the gym I should try?" "What do you think I should do for this move?" You'd be surprised at how friendly the climbing community is! Not to mention climbing is the perfect ice-breaker for a conversation.
This is totally different from "beta-spraying" or giving unwanted advice/feedback to another climber. Ask for help or simply strike up a conversation!
And lastly, we want to say welcome to the climbing community! Hopefully, one or more of these tips helps. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other tips for beginner climbers or which bit of advice was the most useful!