I started climbing about four years ago and have found a lot of joy in the process of becoming a better climber.
Along the way I did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. I got stuck and I broke through plateaus. I faced many challenges I had not anticipated.
Here are a few things I discovered on the way and that I wish I knew when I started:
- It would totally take over my life and make me explore new places across the whole globe.
- It would challenge me mentally and physically and allow me to grow personally with growing challenges.
- As a beginner you do a lot of things right. It is important to recognize and cultivate these good habits instead of learning bad habits while becoming an intermediate climber:
- Climb uninhibited by ego
- Observe more accomplished climbers and learn from them
- Don’t be afraid to hop on climbs that are way too easy or way too hard for you
- Set goals and work towards them. Climbing your first ‘blue climb’ or ‘Xtreme
climb’ at the gym is a valid goal and helps to focus. Transfer your goal setting skills to the outdoors down the track.
- Get smart about injury prevention. Nothing holds a climber back more than an injury. Learn how to strengthen your antagonists and how to strengthen your joints. Learn how to improve flexibility and strength in stretched out positions.
- When you start to plateau you need to switch up what you are doing.
This can be as easy as hitting the ropes at the gym instead of the bouldering wall for a few weeks or vice versa. Or to look at strength instead of technique for a while. You might be over training.
- Once you have identified that you are plateauing, chances are you have learned enough about training to put a full-fledged training plan into action. Don’t be too hesitant with this. It took me months from having the necessary knowledge to actually have the confidence in my know-how to start to train properly.
- Play around with your training and adapt it to your liking.
- Your progress will be much faster if you enjoy what you are doing. Always make sure you are having fun and climbing or training never feel like a chore.
- This one I have not quite figured out yet: It is a lot easier to train for strength than to target technique, but make sure to work on both.
- Never let your training suffer because you are embarrassed about doing things differently than other climbers around you. Everyone is different and what works well for you might not be the best for the next guy.
- Climb in bright colors so your photos turn out better – preferably in tights.
- Have fun out there and always check your knots.
Redpointing an awfully cold climb in Frankenjura – Germany