5 Rock Climbing Safety Tips To Keep In Mind At All Times

 5 Rock Climbing Safety Tips

An estimated 25 million people enjoy the rush of rock climbing around the globe every single year.

 And why not? Rock climbing is a sport that not only challenges your body physically but works you mentally and will satiate your burning need for adventure!

 While rock climbing is a safe activity when appropriately trained and practiced correctly, the average climber will still experience about one injury per 1000 hours of climbing.

 That ratio is excellent in comparison to many other sports but still, many of the injuries, especially the fatal ones, can be avoided by exercising proper climbing safety.

 Are you ready for your next climbing adventure? These tips can save your life and help you avoid getting stuck during your trip.

 

 Five Safety Tips to Always Remember

 

 1. Wear a Helmet

 

If you’re a “trad climber” you’re probably accustomed to wearing a helmet. For whatever reason though, sports climbers are substantially less likely to strap on a helmet consistently.

 Why? We’re not sure.

 Sports climbers still run the same risk of slamming against a rock face, flipping upside down or encountering the occasional loose rock. Therefore, no matter what kind of climber you are, always make it a point to protect your head.

 

2. Check your Knots and Belay

 

When belaying, you always need to check and double check that your rope is threaded through your belay device correctly. Also, you’ll want to make sure your carabiners are locked.

 When climbing, you’ll want to double check that your knot is secure, tied right, and is as tight as possible. You’ll also want to make sure it’s threaded through your harness correctly.

 Getting into the habit of double checking everything is a must if you want to stay safe.

 

3. Don’t Overestimate Your Skill Level

 

Climbing can give you a rush that makes you feel like you can conquer the world. While we love the world of rock climbing for that reason, that sense of confidence also leads to a lot of climbing safety issues.

 Always be conservative with your abilities and never push yourself beyond safety limits.

 

4. Communicate Before Ascending

 

When you’re climbing with a partner, your both being on the same page before you leave the ground is crucial to maintaining climbing safety. For example, you should know if you’re lowering off draws, planning to rappel, etc. before you get up to your anchors.

 Also, have contingency plans in place should common climbing issues arise during your ascent.

 Not communicating and then having difficulty communicating when your voices are drowned out by a noisy highway or body of water can be disastrous.

 

5. Watch Out for Falling Rocks and Debris

 

If you’re climbing during rainy seasons, there’s good chance water will loosen rocks and create conditions where rocks and debris will fall to the ground. Because of this, it’s crucial that you always locate your belay spots in sheltered areas when possible.

 Also, orient your hangout spots away from slab-like or vertical cliffs.

 

Wrapping Up Tips to Ensure your Climbing Safety

 

Rock climbing, contrary to many people’s assumptions, is an extraordinarily safe activity. That being said, like all activities, climbing has safety concerns you need to stay mindful of.

 To get started ensuring your climbing safety, consider the tips we’ve listed above. Each of them will help you circumvent deadly mistakes while climbing.

 For more of the best tips on climbing and to get the best climbing gear, dive deeper into Butora.

 At Butora, we have combined decades of climbing experience into making industry standard climbing shoes and other gear that will make your next climb safer and more comfortable!

 Browse our catalog or check out our local retailers and start taking your climbing passion to the next level with Butora gear today.

Yoga for Rock Climbers: The Surprising (and Awesome!) Connection

Yoga for Rock Climbers The Surprising and Awesome Connection

You already know how to master a challenging climb. Your next adventure is prepped and ready. Before you head out, however, you need to get your body in great shape.

That’s where yoga comes into play. When you think about training for your next rock climbing adventure, practicing yoga may not have been at the top of your mind.

Yoga is a fantastic way to train your mind and body to become more adept at scaling mountains. Yoga for rock climbers isn’t a gimmick—it’s a proven strategy that works no matter what your skill level is!

Here’s why.

The Connection Between Yoga and Rock Climbing

Yoga masters and expert rock climbers have a lot in common. They both need to be very in tune with their bodies and their breathing. They need to be hyper-aware of what their bodies are doing at each moment.

When you’re climbing a mountain, it’s essential that you know how to stay calm when faced with an unfamiliar situation. Is this a right spot for a toe jam? Can you reach the next foothold?

Yoga teaches you to be calm and connected.

Of course, you can’t ignore the obvious physical benefits. Climbers need to have stellar core strength. It’s not easy scaling an unforgiving cliff face.

Yoga is an incredible way to stay in shape. Your post climbing stretches should always include a few yoga poses.

Yoga for Rock Climbers

There are so many reasons why yoga is an excellent idea for climbers that it would be impossible to list them all. Here are a couple of the main ones.

Flexibility

The mind-bending, pretzel poses that you sometimes see in yoga videos are fun, but they aren’t necessary. You don’t need to be super flexible to enjoy yoga.

If you’re a climber, you’re better off focusing on the stability that yoga can provide. If your joints are too loose, you can hurt yourself on the mountain.

Some flexibility, however, is useful. You want to have a full range of motion for your climb.

Balance

A lot of favorite yoga poses require exquisite balance. When you’re on the mountain, that balance will allow you to be acutely aware of your center of gravity.

You’ll feel strong and in control of yourself.

Strength

Some people think that yoga is just about stretching or taking it easy. They couldn’t be more wrong!

Yoga requires incredible strength. Like rock climbing, yoga relies on your body weight to build muscle rather than dumbbells or special equipment.

Endurance

If you become an experienced yoga practitioner, you’ll find that muscle endurance improves dramatically. It’s clear why this would be helpful to any climber.

Ready to Get Started?

Yoga is for everybody. Young, old, fat thin. It doesn’t matter what your current physical condition is. There’s a yoga routine that will suit you. People have done routines from hospital beds.

Because you’re a climber, you already have an advantage. Yoga for rock climbers is like yoga for anyone else except there’s an extra focus on preparing your body for unusual moves.

Climbing can be difficult. We have tons of helpful advice. However, that can help you prepare for your next adventure. Yoga is far from the only way to get your body ready.

Meal Prepping for an Expedition

Meal Prepping for an Expedition

Planning out your meals (“meal prepping”) is one of the most important elements of preparing for an expedition. In many ways, packing the proper food is as important as packing the proper climbing gear. If you don’t bring enough food or the correct type of food, you’re running the risk of endangering your entire expedition.

By “expedition” we mean an extended backcountry or climbing trip, your expedition might include summiting Denali, big wall climbing in the Himalayas, or an extended backpacking trip in the Grand Tetons. Regardless of where you’re going or what you’re doing, there are many things you’re going to have to consider while planning your expedition meals.

We hope to give you a few pointers on meal-prepping for a multi-day climb, but what you bring on your long trip will ultimately depend on the environment you’re traveling to, the physical activity you’re performing, and your personal diet preferences. That being said, there are a few pointers that apply to most or all expeditions.

Below are five meal prepping tips for an expedition or multi-day climb:

 

Estimate Your Caloric Expenditure

Before departing on any long journey, it’s prudent to take an accurate estimation of how many calories you’re going to be burning. Your total energy expenditure throughout the day is going to vary based on your body size and the type of physical activity you’re performing, but even having a rough estimate will prevent you from drastically overestimating or underestimating your caloric intake.

A large man can easily burn 4,000 calories during a long day in the mountains, while a smaller woman might burn 2,000-3,000. Now is NOT the time to “diet” and try to lose some weight. If you under-plan your food on an expedition, you run the risk of experiencing energy crashes and “bonking” in the middle of a long day.

Don’t Be Afraid of Fat

Fat plays an important role in fueling your body’s aerobic energy system, which is used for prolonged low-intensity endurance activities (like a long day of climbing). If you’re planning for long 10+ hour days in the mountains, whether you’re hiking many miles or climbing 10+ pitches per day, now is not the time to shy away from burning fat.

Example of eating high fat: Many professional climbers carry olive oil and blocks of cheese with them on expeditions. Conrad Anker eats bars of pure congealed olive oil while he’s on Mount Everest.

Don’t Be Afraid of Carbs

Similarly, carbohydrates play a vital role in powering your anaerobic energy system, which is essential for performing physical work at a moderate or high intensity. Most of the climbing we do in the mountains is relatively low intensity, and this might be especially true if you’re spending several long days big wall climbing. However, most outdoor activities require occasional short spurts of higher intensity exercise. For example, if you’re big-wall climbing, you might need a push of energy to get over the crux or pull up the haul bag.

Example of eating high carb: Many professional endurance athletes plan hourly intakes of carbohydrates. Mark Twight ate a carbohydrate gel hourly for nearly 66 straight hours on the South Face of Denali.

Think About Water

Frequently, the most massive thing mountaineers carry into the backcountry is water. How much water you bring on an expedition will vary depending on the environment. For example, if you’re desert climbing in Red Rock (where there’s no access to water), you will be carrying significantly more fluid than if you’re alpine climbing in Chamonix (where’s there’s a ton of glacial run-off).

What does this mean for expedition meal prepping? It depends on the route. If you’re big wall climbing in the desert and you have to pack all your water, you don’t need to eat freeze-dried meals exclusively; traditionally, soups and other watery foods have been popular on big walls. However, if you’re in an environment with lots of water or snow, you might want to minimize your water and add it to your meals later.

Add High-Energy Toppings

Most backcountry explorers are familiar with freeze-dried meals, and some companies market pre-packaged freeze-dried foods to climbers and mountaineers. These meals have, at times, become the standby for many outdoor adventurers because they’re incredibly convenient. Similarly, many other meals are easy to carry in the mountains such as rice, beans, couscous, etc. While these types of meals are convenient, they don’t always provide the energy you need for a long day.

If you’re not getting enough calories in your meals, add high-energy toppings to your foods as a simple solution. For example, you can add some parmesan cheese or olive oil to the top of your freeze-dried meals. It will probably make your meals taste better, and it will prevent you from creating an energetic debt.

 

Liked and Loaded

There’s a lot to consider when planning a multi-day climb, especially if you’re visiting mountains that are remotely located. In short, you need to make sure you’re packing all the calories necessary to sustain yourself in the mountain.

Packing fatty foods can be a great way to have energetically dense meals with you during long climbs, but you also need to pack carbohydrates to stay energized. Whether or not you choose to bring wet, heavy food, such as soups, will largely depend on the environment you’re climbing in.

Finally, if there’s any chance you’re going to fall short on calories, add some high-calorie toppings to your food. Also, make sure you pack food you like the taste of! There’s nothing worse than a poor-tasting meal after a long day in the mountains.

Dealing With Stress on Lead Climbs

Lead Climbing Tips

Many new climbers have experience top-roping before they ever attempt their first lead climb, but still, lead climbing is often a stress-inducing event. It’s interesting that an individual capable of cleanly climbing a 5.10 on toprope might experience anxiety during a 5.7 lead climb. Naturally, lead climbing can be scarier than top-roping because falling on lead means you’re going to fall through the air.

While we can’t ever remove all the fear associated with a lead climb, we hope to provide you with a few tips and tricks to help mitigate the stress you’re experiencing during your adventures. Whether you’re a brand new lead climber that will be attempting your first single-pitch route soon, or you’re a season multi-pitch climber that occasionally struggles with their fear of heights, we hope to provide you with some strategies that will help you cope with stress on your next climb.

 

Below are a few tactics for overcoming stress while on a lead climb:

 

Learn to Trust Your Gear

Many new climbers are afraid that their gear won’t catch them during a fall. You should thoroughly read up on the proper application and limits of your equipment. If you don’t have a thorough understanding of what your hardware is capable of, you’re going to be very stressed out –and possibly placing yourself in a dangerous situation.

Try going out to a steep climb and use your gear to aid climb up the wall, you will quickly learn what placements you can and can’t trust. If you don’t want to aid climb, try leaning back on gear you’ve placed or planning small falls. Improving your gear placements will make you a better climber, and having more trust in your equipment will reduce your stress levels.

 

Master Your Rope Systems

You need to have a mastery of your rope systems. Getting tripped up during your lead by a tangled mess of ropes can be dangerous and stress inducing. Knowing where your ropes are and precisely what they’re doing will give you one less thing to think about, and decrease your anxiety. You want your equipment to work with you, not against you.

 

Use Visualization

Many climbers (or non-climbers) that are dealing with anxiety tend to focus on what might go wrong rather than what you want to go right. If you’re busy thinking about what can go wrong, it’s easy to become bogged down in negative thoughts and freeze up. Visualize the exact climbing moves you want to make, and how effortlessly they are going to look when you make them. This type of positive visualization will mitigate anxiety and can be a powerful tool for improving your mindset while climbing.

 

Don’t Look Down

Some climbers love the adrenaline associated with being up high on a mountain, while others despise it. It’s natural to be afraid of heights, humans have evolved with a fear response to falling, and even the most hardened of climbing veterans experience some level of fear when they’re exposed on a climbing route. If you’re the type of mountain athlete that struggles with their fear of heights, there’s no reason to focus on how high you are. Keep your eyes on the rocks immediately in front of you. It will help you feel more grounded and more focused on the moves at hand.

 

Trust Your Instincts

If you have a bad feeling about a particular climbing route, you don’t need to climb it. Many variables might make you uncomfortable with a specific climb. Maybe it’s a grade more difficult than you’re used to, a type of rock you’re uncomfortable on, or you’re just having an off day. If you press on and start a climb you’re concerned about (for whatever reason), you’re setting yourself up for an unnecessarily stressful day.

You’re better off not getting on a route you have any reservations about. Even if your climbing partner is relying on you to be their leader or belayer, you can pick a different route or come back another day.

 

Climb With Partners You Trust

Having the right partner is essential for controlling your stress levels on any climbing route. You rely on your partner to keep you safe, whether they’re your leader or belayer. Only climb with a partner that consider safety a priority.

Knowing that you’re out in the mountains with a partner who is reliable, calm, and knowledgeable regarding their knots and rope systems will take a load off your back and allow you to focus on your lead climbing.

 

Take Baby Steps

Start small and work your way up. If your hardest lead climb ever is a two-pitch 5.6, your next lead should not be a three-pitch 5.8. Climbing is supposed to be fun, and trying to take huge leaps in your climbing ability is setting you up for a panic attack halfway up the wall. With each climbing day, you can try going a little bit higher or conquer a route that’s a slightly more difficult grade, but there’s no reason to push way beyond your comfort zone.

 

Wear a Good Pair of Shoes

Nothing is more stress-inducing than wearing a lousy pair of climbing shoes while you’re on lead. Fearing the soles of your shoes will slip in the midst of a crux move is terrifying, so make sure your shoes are staying in good shape.

Rest Days and How to Use Them

Rest Day Workout

Taking too many rest days results in undertraining and slow progress on your athletic goals while taking too few rest days results in overtraining and plateauing on your athletic progress. An athlete that is performing the same type of workouts six days per week, or is training at a high intensity of nearly 100% of training days, is at risk for overtraining. Conversely, a climber that is only working out three days a week and sits on the couch the remaining four days of the week is probably undertraining.

When most people think of a rest day, they think of zero physical activity and a long day on the couch. While there can indeed be benefits to having a lazy rest day with almost zero physical activity, most climbers would benefit by incorporating active rest days into their routine.

By combining “recovery workouts” into your schedule, you can still rest your climbing muscles while simultaneously improving your fitness and flexibility. It’s up to you to decide if you’re an undertrainer or overtrainer and adjust your workout regime accordingly. However, we argue that many climbers will significantly benefit by mixing in a few non-climbing workouts.

The next time you have a 100% rest day planned with no physical activity, decide if you need the entire day off from training. If a recovery workout seems like a good idea, consider one of the following activities for a more active “rest day.” Similarly, you might need a mental break from the climbing gym, taking the time to do a little cross-training can be a great way to recharge and stay motivated.

Our Favorite Recovery Workouts:

 

Yoga

This activity has been growing in popularity among climbers in recent years, and with good reason. Yoga can serve as a fantastic way to strengthen your core strength while simultaneously moving through a variety of stretches. Keeping your body flexible is an essential element of fitness. Being a little more limber will help prevent overuse injuries that creep up over time, and will also make many awkward climbing positions more bearable on your next long route.

Running

An endurance run was the favorite cross-training activity of climbers for several decades and is still a favorite workout among many mountaineering athletes today. Running engages the entire body, and is a phenomenal cardiovascular workout. An easy run can be an excellent way to loosen up stiff muscles and build aerobic fitness. Your body will thank you the next time you’re on a long climb.

Running doesn’t get along with everyone, and some people feel the activity is hard on their feet and knees. Make sure you’re wearing proper shoes, and be careful not to push too hard. You shouldn’t feel crippled after a run, whether it’s short or long (and especially not if it’s an active rest day).

A Long Walk or Hike

Walking is something that most humans should be doing more. This could be the most underutilized but crucial physical activity on this list. Humans evolved to be good walkers, yet we seem to spend most of our day sitting down in cars and office chairs.

Walking can have excellent health benefits and is fantastic for increasing your longevity. So get off the couch and go for a walk around the park or a hike in the mountains. It’ll be a great way to enjoy the scenery while simultaneously making you less stiff for your next climbing workout.

Walking is a great alternative for those who are uninterested in going on a run but would like to build a similar type of fitness. If you’re interested in making your rest day a little more active, try speed walking. Speed walking is an Olympic sport, and an aerobic workout that’s easy on the joints. Similarly, pick a more strenuous hike if you’re in need of a cross-training workout.

Swimming

Watersport engages your entire body in a non-weight bearing workout. Since the water takes most of the weight off of your body, swimming is a workout that’s easy on your joints and ideal for rest days. That being said, swimming can also be an intense aerobic and muscular challenge. If you’re interested in an active rest day, swimming some laps in the pool will engage your entire body.

There are many variations to swimming as well. You can experiment with using different strokes or performing intervals/sprints. Further, if your shoulders are sore from climbing, you don’t have to use them at all, pick up a board and kick your way around the pool.

Foam Rolling

If you’re brand new to foam rolling, foam rollers are the cylinder objects you see lying around your gym. They’re usually made of dense foam, but some are rubber with a plastic core. The idea is you lay down on top of the cylinder, and roll around to limber up your sore muscles. It takes some getting used to (it feels like torture if you’re stiff), but foam rolling is an effective way to get rid of your knots and heal sore muscles.

Even if you’re not interested in participating in a recovery workout, you can at the very least pick up a foam roller. If you don’t already own one, most gyms have a few that you can try out. Foam rolling is a simple yet effective way to aid your recovery, and it can be done while you enjoy your favorite Netflix show.

A Climber’s Reading List

Climber's Reading List

If you are interested in learning more about climbing, reading can be a fantastic way to get started. A cursory google search will provide you with hundreds of books concerning the sport and related climbing knowledge like rope work, anchor systems, strength training, and elements of mountaineering. There are also some books detailing the exploits of fabled mountaineers as they made their way up some of the world’s most dangerous and challenging climbing routes.

The List to Get You to the Top

Here is a list of must-read books that will benefit climbers of all skill levels, whether you’re a novice looking to jump-start your familiarity on your new hobby or an advanced climber trying to solidify your mastery. If you’re looking to understand climbing systems and the basics of mountaineering, learn how to build “bomber” anchors, improve your long-term conditioning programs, and get inspired by legendary mountaineers, the following reading list is worth checking out:

Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills

by The Mountaineers of Seattle, Washington

Originally published in 1960, this instruction manual has long been considered the bible of mountaineering. Currently, in its 9th edition (2017), Mountaineering is the ultimate book for new mountaineers. If you had to pick one instruction manual for learning everything you need to know about safely and effectively traversing across mountain ranges, this should be it. This incredibly comprehensive book covers all mountaineering topics including nutrition for mountaineering, navigation, dressing appropriately, and ice and rock climbing systems and techniques. Many professional climbers (including Conrad Anker and Mark Twight, for example) cite Mountaineering as the source for their understanding of rock climbing in their early days.

Toproping

by Bob Gaines

Most new climbers heading out into the mountains on their own for the first time are usually in search of some single-pitch cragging and toproping adventures. If this sounds like you, Topropingis the perfect book for preparing for a day of toproping. If you’re in need of a technical manual to keep with you before your first steps into outdoor rock climbing, this is an excellent choice. For more advanced climbers that might already be participating in multi-pitch adventures, this book will still provide a wealth of information regarding necessary climbing skills making it worth reviewing.

Climbers interested in leading groups of untrained individuals into their first toprope climb will want to read more on this topic. Thay can also consider looking at The AMGA Single Pitch Manual, which is designed for leaders guiding groups out into the mountains.

Climbing Anchors

by Bob Gaines and John Long

This book is for climbers that already understand basic rope systems and belaying but are looking to make the move into traditional climbing and proper gear placements. All trad leaders, novice or advanced, should definitely have this piece of literature on their shelf. It’s simply written and easy to read, and its most useful feature is the excellent picture examples of the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” regarding the placement of traditional gear.

This manual provides great images to show how to properly place all commonly-used traditional climbing gear (nuts, cams, hexes, etc.) and clearly outlines the most common mistakes that climbers make while placing gear. Furthermore, thereare many “advanced” placements that intermediate and experienced climbers should work on mastering. This book is also a must-read before your first trad lead.

Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete

by Steve House, Scott Johnston, Mark Twight

It took many years for climbers to get on board the “athlete” train, in the sense that climbers were slow to adopt the training approaches commonly employed by other professional athletes. In the early days, most climbers “trained” by just climbing (and maybe adding in the occasional run). That has since changed dramatically and, more than ever before, climbers are practicing like professional athletes with long-term training plans.

Whether you’re a recreational climber that mostly hangs out in the gym, or an advanced one hoping to be sponsored by Butora one day, this book can help provide an excellent overview of how to train like a pro. In this book, a thorough understanding of exercise physiology has been applied to specifically benefit mountain athletes. If you’re looking to improve your bouldering strength at the gym or summit Denali on your next expedition, this book might make you rethink your fitness.

The Push

by Tommy Caldwell

This is by no means a technical manual, but it is an excellent autobiography about an incredible mountain athlete. If you haven’t heard of Tommy Caldwell, he’s a world-renowned rock climber who recently (with Alex Honnold) reset the speed-record on El Cap. Some climber autobiographies are worth reading, but Caldwell delivers his story in a way that is both inspiring (and chilling) for climbers of all skills levels. And if you’re looking for a book to share with non-climbers, either to get them interested in the sport or just so they understand why you do what you do, this is your best bet at getting them curios.

Pick Up That Book

The short reading list is by no means an all-encompassing directory for what to read, it’s merely a nice progression for enhancing your understanding of climbing basics. If you want to learn more about climbing keep visiting the blog for new articles.

Athletic Diet: Everything Rock Climbers Need to Know About Nutrition

Athletic Diet

Are you a rock climbing enthusiast looking for the proper diet for your hobby? Or, maybe you’re a beginner who’d like to know what the best meal to have while training?

Eating the right food in the right amount can do wonders for your strength and endurance.

Keep reading to discover what you should eat and how to maintain a nutrient-packed diet to fuel your adventures.

 

Athletic Diet for Rock Climbers: The Essentials

Rock climbing is a strenuous activity and requires a high level of mental and physical preparation. Regular training and a healthy diet play equal roles in keeping you fit.

Wonder what athletes should eat?

 

Here are the basics you need to know about maintaining a healthy athletic diet:

 

Embrace the Complex Carbohydrates

The best diet for athletes in training, including rock climbers, must include at least 40% of complex carbohydrates.

They’re a significant source of long-lasting energy that helps your body maintain strength and brain power.

Some of the best complex carbs for your diet are:

  • Wholemeal bread and pastries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Fruits (blueberries, bananas)
  • Green veggies (spinach, kale, broccoli)
  • Starchy veggies (regular and sweet potatoes, green peas)

Stay on Track with the Protein

Every diet and nutrition for athletes and rock climbers must be made of at least 30% protein. Protein is a building block for your muscles and a source of fuel for your body.

The best high-protein foods to implement in your diet are:

  • Lean meat (poultry, fish, lean red meat)
  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Chickpeas
  • Chia seeds

Keep the Fat in Check

When creating a sports diet, athletes shouldn’t consume too much fat. Though healthy fats are a vital source of energy, their primary role is to slow down the process of digestion.

When you eat a particular athlete’s diet, your goal is to accumulate long-lasting energy. If complex carbs are your primary energy source, fats may prevent them from digesting thoroughly. This will cut down ontheir efficacy, and you’ll need to make up with more calories.

A rock climber’s diet should consist of 25-30 % fat at the most, depending on your activities.

The best foods with healthy fats are:

  • Avocados
  • Coconut and its products
  • Olive oil and olives
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Nuts
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Raw cacao nibs and dark chocolates
  • Fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon)

Stay Hydrated

Healthy eating for athletes is just one side of the coin. Staying hydrated throughout your training and climbing is the other.

Rock climbing isn’t easy, no matter how experienced you are. Whenever you lose water through sweating and physical strain, your body loses electrolytes. You have to replenish them as soon as possible to prevent muscle cramps, fatigue, and dehydration.

Aside from water, you can stay hydrated with coconut water, chia lemon water, green smoothies, and milk.

Keep Your Body and Mind Healthy and Prepared for Rock Climbing

Climbing is your passion and each time you want to show up better than the next. These tips will help you follow an athletic diet and adapt it to your rock-climbing lifestyle.

Ready for a new pair of climbing shoes? Check out our collection and choose the perfect fit for your needs.

Have questions? Contact us today and let us know how we can help.

When Should You Start Lead Climbing?

Lead climbing is climbing up the rock with your rope directly attached to the belayer. As you climb, you set your own protection or clip quickdraws into bolts. Setting your protection is called Traditional Climbing (or trad climbing), and you’ll need specific pieces to place. The trad gear list includes cams, nuts, quickdraws, carabiners, cordelette, a rope and a nut tool to remove the pieces after your climb.

The other form of lead climbing is called Sport Climbing. This form of climbing has protection set for you in the form of bolts. The gear list for Sport Climbing is much shorter than that of Traditional Climbing. You will need quickdraws, carabiners, and a rope. Depending on your anchors at the top, you may need cordelette as well.

The above gear lists for Traditional and Sport Climbing are referring only to the gear you’ll need for the actual climb. You’ll also need equipment for you and your belayer such as harnesses, helmets and a positive attitude.

Lead climbing requires more skill and focus than top rope climbing. It also needs more from your mental game. The falls taken during lead climbing have the potential to be longer and harder than top rope falls.

There is no magical formula for when you should start lead climbing. However, ask yourself the following questions, and you will better understand when lead climbing could be right for you.

1. What grade can you comfortably climb at?

If you can comfortably climb at a 5.9 grade, you are ready to start playing in the lead climbing pool. You should be able to top out on some 5.10s, but if you are projecting 5.10s, that’s okay too. If you are not climbing at a 5.9 yet, keep working on technique. It’s less about the brute strength and more about how to position your body to get up the wall. Experiment with balance, holding the rocks in different ways and observing people that climb differently from you.

2. How is your mental game?

If you are on a top rope climb and 5 feet up in the air just trying to figure out how to breathe, lead climbing is not for you yet. You should feel comfortable enough with your gear at this point to trust it. The only way you’ll get more comfortable with heights is to climb and know your gear. If you feel comfortable with top rope climbing and the height factor, you may be ready.

3. Have you practiced indoors?

The culture of climbing is growing at such a fast pace that indoor gyms are popping up all across the United States. The fantastic thing about indoor gyms is that you can train all-year-round. You can also take lead climbing clinics and train indoors where there is a padded floor for nice cloud-like landings.

4. Do you know the crew?

It’s just a fact. Climbing is a social sport. For you to learn how to lead climb, you’re going to need some friends. Ideally, friends that already know how to lead climb. Watching them climb, asking questions and then learning how to clip and climb yourself is a great way to begin.

5. Jump in the currents and swim, baby!

Be honest about where your climbing level is at. If you are comfortably climbing at a 5.9 level (pushing 5.10), trusting your gear and hanging out with other lead climbers that are willing to help you… get out there and start lead climbing! If you need some inspiration or encouragement, our team is here to help. If you’d like some more dirty deets on climbing, visit our Beta Blog. And finally, make sure you’ve got the correct gear to get out there.

If you are not quite ready for lead climbing, your assignment is simple: keep climbing. You’ll get there one day.

The Essential Climbing Safety Tips List

Climbing Safety Tips

Do you often feel the urge to embark on an adventure? Perhaps climbing is what will stir the adrenaline that has been hibernating in your veins?

Rock climbing can be an unforgettable experience. Along with the thrills of climbing itself, the outdoors offers a relief from the stresses of daily life.

But climbing is not all roses and sunshine.

There are many physical and health-related challenges to contend with. However, with the right information and careful attention to safety, climbing should be fun and risk-free.

 

Here are the 6 essential climbing safety tips that all climbers should observe:

 

1. Get Fit

The first thing you need to prepare before climbing is not the climbing gear–it’s your body.

Climbing is a vigorous activity that requires a lot of physical and mental effort. As such, you need to be physically fit and mentally agile to pull it off without the risk of injuries.

If you’ve not been physically fit lately, you might want to start an exercise program that will prepare your muscles for strenuous activities. You’d be surprised at how simple activities such as running and jogging can help to strengthen your muscles.

Think of exercises that can strengthen your leg muscles.

Also, engage in exercises that can strengthen your arm muscles, such as push-ups. You’ll need a lot of upper body strength to make tight grips on rocks and to hang long enough in ropes.

When you get a little more advanced, you can move on to the climbing training section of your gym where you’ll find hangboards, campus boards, and other challenging equipment that will help you to train the climbing-specific parts of your body that other exercises may miss.

 

2. Be Prepared for the Weather

Always make a habit of checking the weather the night before and in the morning before climbing. You can also check the weather forecasts to determine whether it will be safe to go on with your plans.

Extreme weather conditions during climbing could be life-threatening. For safety purposes, dress according to the weather report.

Sun protection is also essential for your health and comfort when climbing outdoors. Sunburn is also not good for climbers. Not only can it slow you down but also cause itching, nausea, and headaches.

Keep in mind that slippery rock is not the only concern. In some climbing areas such as Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, the sandstone can actually break if it is not completely dry after a rainstorm. This not only presents an obviously dangerous situation but can also ruin routes and problems for other climbers. A 5.10 can go to 5.13 pretty quickly when key holds disappear.

3. Eat a Good Breakfast

Experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

As such, if you have a long day ahead of you, especially one that involves climbing a rock, you’ll need a good breakfast to power your climb.

The right breakfast should not only give you energy but also be light to ease digestion.

Before gearing up, eat a 400-calorie breakfast, perhaps some carbs that are easy to digest. It’s recommended to work with carbs only since protein, fat, and fiber have lengthy absorption processes.

The goal here is to put your brain and muscles in top performance, which might not happen if you jam your digestive track with all sorts of food. The last thing you want is a substantial meal that will make your stomach rumble as you climb or make you wish you were near a toilet.

Also, carry plenty of water to keep you hydrated.

 

4. Bring the Right Gear

Your climbing safety to a large extent depends on the nature of the climbing gear you bring along.

First of all, you need good climbing shoes. Choose perfect fitting shoes that will provide stability, grip, and support. Your choice of shoes should also depend on the nature of the terrain.

As for the clothes, they need to be comfy and flexible enough to allow you to maneuver comfortably and stretch all parts of your body.

Don’t forget to pack all your extra gear, crash pad, food, and enough water.

 

5. Carry First Aid Supplies

If you’re out on a climbing adventure, there is always the possibility of injury to either yourself or your climbing partners.

You can get hit by a rock and sustain a head injury. Or take a ground fall and sprain your ankle. Such a mishap can give you a miserable climbing experience.

However, if you bring along a first aid kit and know how to use the items in your bag, you can make a massive difference to the outcome. A basic first aid kit should be enough to treat most of the injuries.

A climbing first aid kit should include but not be limited to the following supplies:

  • Duct tape
  • Sterile Dressings
  • Small scissors, tweezers, and safety pins
  • Butterfly bandages/adhesive bandages
  • Moleskin
  • Painkillers

 

Wrapping Up on Climbing Safety Tips

With proper preparation and careful attention to safety, the whole experience can be an enjoyable and memorable experience.

So if you want to satiate your hunger for adventure and want something that will keep your adrenaline kicking, climbing is your best bet.

Check out our blog for more tips on how to improve your climbing and discover the best climbing gear to keep you safe on your adventure.

Rock Climbing for Beginners: Your Ultimate Guide

Rock Climbing Guide for Beginner

If you’re looking to step up your physical fitness game in an exciting, adrenaline pumping way, then look no further. Rock climbing might be just the thing you’re looking for!

And though you might consider rock climbing a daredevil sport, it’s also great for someone just looking for a casual adventure. Anyone who is in averagely good shape can get started with rock climbing, provided they can even get ahold of the right gear and instruction as well.

If you think rock climbing might be for you but you’re just not sure where to start, read on. Here’s our guide for rock climbing for beginners.

 

Find a Guide

Before you start, find yourself a guide. This could be an experienced friend or a certified instructor. It’s a good idea to start here so you know what you can expect. When you start with an excellent guide, you’ll make all the next steps so much more comfortable with yourself.

Look around for your local climbing organizations. A gym might even be a right place to check for experienced climbers in your area. When you find one, talk to them about the kind of climbing they do, what gear they use, and ask any questions you might have.

From there, you can make the decisions in the next steps.

 

Choose a Type of Climbing

The exact kind of rock climbing you choose will determine a variety of different factors for you. There are a few different kinds of climbing, and every type of climbing comes with its own set of gear and training.

In general, beginners start out with indoor climbing. Any outdoor climbing for beginners is usually bouldering or top-rope climbing.

Indoor Climbing

Many colleges and public recreation centers have walls or freestanding structures that people can use to give climbing a try. However, you’ll probably have the best luck when you search for a climbing gym near you.

These places use artificial “rocks” as hand-and footholds. They’re placed strategically to create routes that vary in difficulty. These are easily moved around to create an endless amount of new climbs on the same structure.

If you’re a beginner, there are many reasons why an indoor climbing arena is the right choice for you. It lets you try the sport with gear that you rent rather than buy on your own, and it doesn’t require good weather for practice. It’s also ideal for anyone who lives in an area where outdoor climbing isn’t accessible.

Bouldering

Bouldering is the kind of climbing that takes the least amount of time and supplies. Bouldering usually only takes you as high as you can comfortably jump off. Climbers move alongthe rock horizontally and parallel to the ground. This is “traversing.”

Traversing allows you to work on strength and movement and it won’t expose you to a dangerous fall.

It’s an excellent activity for beginners because you only need climbing shoes, a chalk bag, a crash pad, and an experienced spotter. You don’t need ropes or harnesses.

You can find outdoor bouldering areas all around the country, but many climbing gyms offer this as well.

Outdoor Top-Rope Climbing

Top-roping requires you to anchor the climbing rope to a place at the top of the route you intend to climb, then climbing towards that anchor while someone else keeps the rope tight.

When you have a solid anchor point and a taut rope, you minimize much of the danger of a fall. Because of this, top-roping is the first kind of roped climbing you should do in either an indoor or outdoor setting.

There are other, more advanced kinds of climbing, but because this is a beginner’s guide, we’re going to leave them out. But if you’re interested in learning more, this is an excellent place to check.

 

Gear Up

If you choose a gym or a certified guide, the necessary equipment can usually be rented. Some gyms may require you to buy a few pieces of gear, so make sure you ask before you go. Eventually, you’ll want to purchase your own full set of climbing gear.

Always make sure you thoroughly inspect your gear before you wear it. Whether you rent or buy, you need to make sure it doesn’t show signs of wear and tear that could be detrimental in the future.

Rock Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes are designed to protect your feet and give you the friction you need to grip footholds tightly. They should fit snugly but not be too tight.

Climbing Helmet

When you’re outdoors, you need to wear a helmet that’s designed for climbing. They’re made to protect your head from falling rock and debris, and some are designed to help protect your noggin if you fall.

Climbing Harness

Unless you’re bouldering, you’ll need a climbing harness. They consist of a waistbelt that sits snugly over your hips and leg loops that go around each leg.

Chalk

Just like a gymnast, you’ll need chalk to amp up your gripping potential. Chalp will absorb any liquid on your hands. Carry it in a pouch around your waist.

Carabiners

Carabiners are strong, but lightweight metal rings with gates that will connect your climbing rope to different parts of your climbing protection. They’re also used to make quickdraws and to attach your gear to the loops on your harness.

Belay Device

A belay device is used to help the belayer control the rope. When used the right way, a belay device will increase the friction that will let them catch someone who is falling, or lower a climber gradually and smoothly.

Climbing Ropes

Your rope is your most important gear as a climber. When you’re starting out, your rope will probably be provided for you, but as you get better, you’ll want to know more about the rope you need to use.

Choosing a rope is too complicated for a beginner’s guide, but when you’re ready, here’s an excellent guide to start with.

But, it’s still helpful to know the two basic rope categories.

First, there’s dynamic rope. This is good for rock climbing because it has elasticity worked into it. It’s made to absorb fall energy.

Then there’s static rope. Static rope is stiff and doesn’t have the same elasticity that dynamic rope does. It’s used for rappelling and rescues.

 

In addition to these pieces of gear, there are also climbing protection and crash pads. Those are mostly used for more advanced climbers, so they’re not crucial for the purpose of this guide.

 

Choose a Route

In the US, climbers use the Yosemite Decimal Rating System to rate how difficult a climb is. The technical climbing part of the scale runs from 3.0 to 5.15, and the decimal rises as the difficulty of a specific route does.

To put it broadly, easier climbs are given a 5.1-5.5 rating. Those are usually the types of climbs you’ll start out on.

As you move through to harder routes, you’ll get into 5.6-5.10 ranges.

The rating system for bouldering is a little more varied. The V scale is the most common one used. A score of V0 is considered very easy, and a score of V16 is considered very hard.

 

Rock Climbing for Beginners

We hope this rock climbing for beginners guide has given you the insight you need to get started on this journey. Rock climbing is a fun, challenging way to increase your physical health and get you up and moving.