Advice for Plus Size climbers

Original Post
aLonelyPixel · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 15

I'm a fat climber. I'm 32 y/o female 195 lbs and 4'11".

Are there any other plus size climbers out there that have advice or encouragement to share?

I'm not looking to lose weight. I climb to feel good and be challenged.

Thanks in advance.


keithconn · · LI, NY · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 35

Not a woman or plus size, but my advise is, go for it! Enjoy, have fun, and as long as your happy with your climbing don't be discouraged by what people think climbers should look like or be able to climb. I'm 43, getting back into the sport with two kids in tow. I don't care about anything other than getting out and climbing fun routes. The most wonderful thing about climbing is that it's all about you. That's the best path to follow and no one can tell you what is right wrong bad good easy or difficult.

SinRopa · · parts unknown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 50

What Keith said. As long as you're having fun, you're doing it right.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Yep, what the other guys said. If you decide you want to climb harder grades, you know what needs to happen. Have fun and stay safe.

Ben Woods · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 20

I'm 6'4"/225lbs and my advice for climbing heavier is to do a lot of strength training in the hand/forearm/elbow dept to avoid injury, especially if you end up in a move that requires hanging full body weight on the upper body.

Aside from that, keep at it and don't let anyone tell you you cannot. At one point I was pushing 300lbs and just kept showing up and training. Folks who were/still are in way better shape than me at the climbing gym took total notice of my consistency and weight dropping over time, and were some of my greatest encouragement.

Keep climbing for the fun of it.

KevinF · · Granby, CT · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 0

I agree with the others. Climb, have fun, be safe.

As far as becoming a better climber (if that's a goal) as a bigger guy I can tell you that nothing will help you improve more then loosing weight. I'm 6'2" and I was almost 260 pounds, now down to 230, and hoping to loose another 30. Loosing that 30 and retaining the strength I had from hauling it around gave me an instant climbing boost.

But in reality if you're really into climbing and climb a lot you will get in better shape whether you want to or not.

Sends McGee · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 15

You really couldn't have picked up a better activity to lose weight. Keep having fun and you'll be with everyone else before you know it!

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

How does your harness fit? Depending on your weight distribution, there could be a chance of falling out of it if you get flipped.

I did a rappelling course for some Raleigh international students and some needed a full body harness.

Otherwise, have fun. Dont be surprised if you shed a little weight without trying.

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340
Ben Woods wrote:I'm 6'4"/225lbs ....
Don Ferris · · Eldorado Springs · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 175

Just have fun! Climbing is, after all, a recreational activity. Just imagine climbing your way to 125 lbs. You'd be a 5.14 climber!

Magpie79 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 0

You will be forced to learn and rely on good technique. Climbing with good technique is much more fun than just muscling your way up a climb. Have fun!

As I get older, I care less and less what other people think. I wear socks with my climbing shoes! (Hell has frozen over! No worries, I climb ice, too.).

mediocre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Stay away from squeeze chimneys.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

Hey I'm fat too! 6'3" 260. Just do your thing and have fun.

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

Paging Daddy Burch

Andrew Wood · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 60

most safety equipment is tested with a 175lb test weight, so keep that in mind and avoid factor 2 falls

MelRock · · New Jersey · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 30

Here is my advice, though I'm not plus-sized, I'm a female climber who is med-short. I'm also a dancer and several of the women I dance with are plus-size, and they are amazing!

Work your flexibility as well as your strength. Being flexible can give you moves like putting your hand and a foot on the same hold, high stepping, keeping your hips close to the wall even when you're in a squat position - a plie.

I think flexibility helps people who are shorter make different kinds of moves than a taller person might, but still get up a reachy route.

Also, keeping your body close to the wall reduces the weight that your arms have to deal with. It requires core strength and technique, and sometimes flexibility.

For height, develop your foot strength - if you can rise up on your toes, you've gained half a foot or more of reach. Dance classes or barre classes can help with this.

Go slow on your progression into overhangs to protect your shoulders. Work opposing muscle groups to balance the development you get through climbing.

Have fun!

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Do cardio a couple times a week

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

I see folks of all sizes climbing both at crags and gyms.
Don't worry what others think - this activity is about your personal enjoyment. If someone gives you a hard time because of your weight, move on - they are not worth your time.
The only recommendations - take it slow, keep it safe. It is really tempting to jump on overhanging terrain and start pulling on tiny crimps, but you need to let your body get used to this activity.

Jared Suppo · · Phoenix, Airizona · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

You're ganna snap your rope and die!! J.k who cares have fun do your thing don't worry about climbing grades or about other people at the crag I enjoy seeing all types of people climbing and just diggin life

Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158

Hi, my name is Clint and I am a beanpole. For me adding muscle has always been difficult. Do what you love and give it your all. There are a few locals who have strengthened themselves in many ways through climbing, and have completely changed their body physique as well.

As stated above, just go easy on the tendons -- they take much longer to strengthen than muscles do, and much longer to heal.

Also add yoga, cycling, and backpacking to the mix to diversify. All will strengthen the core and balance life.

Sergey · · Evanston, IL · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 0

Not from my personal experience, but for advice look up John Dunne and his thoughts on the subject.

Here's him on an 8c+ (!!!) at Malham. Not exactly Adam Ondra.[gallery]/3/

I think his approach was to perfect footwork. I remember reading a quote of his that basically said that if fitter climbers had his footwork, they'd be climbing way harder routes. Amazing that it can take you so far, especially on steep routes.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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