Beginner Looking to Climb Outdoors - Partner Anyone?


Original Post
Susie C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5

Hi! I'm new to climbing and haven't yet been outdoors. I know, I know, you don't want to babysit, but if you happen to be one of the rare ones that don't mind climbing with a newbie, hit me up. 

As of right now, I don't know how to belay.. so you'll have to teach me. In exchange, I am down to bribe you with lunch for putting up with me. :D 

 You'd need to know how to belay though, or we can sit at Starbucks and watch some videos together first. LOL ;)

I have a harness, carabiner, atc, shoes.
Based in Seattle with car! 

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

How is it that you have some sort of intro to climbing, but have not been taught to belay? 

Just curious!

You are correct to try to get outside early on, though. It's far different than being in a gym (vastly more fun), but, isn't for everyone.

There are kind people willing to take out complete noobs, but you put yourself at considerable risk if you don't know them or their competency.

Good luck, have fun, stay safe!

Best, OLH

Susie C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5

Hi OLH! 

Thanks for getting in touch! I got into gym climbing about a month ago on the whim when I decided to do a Meetup.com event. I'm new to the Washington area and wanted to try some new stuff. Most of the people stick straightly to bouldering/ gym climbing where belaying isn't involved so this is why I've yet to learn how to belay.  

I am thinking if anything I would just pay for a course at another gym, but it's also $150.00 or so and as a new climber, I'm finding everything to be overwhelmingly expensive. I suppose I am looking for a mentor or someone that would be willing to teach me the ropes and help advance and guide me in my climbing. 

I appreciate your concern and will definitely be cautious especially as a female! :)

Thank you for reaching out! 

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

So, the "especially as a female" isn't anymore pertinent here than when you walk out to your car at lunch today. Just get that out of the way now. 

"Especially as" a brand new climber, that's what matters. Check around, with a huge population, there should be some climbing gym at local colleges that require you to belay, and would also teach. They may also have lead classes and outings. You may not have to be a student to get into these.

There are also probably meetups that go outside there, that's another possibility.

Also try different gyms, again, on Meetup night, ladies night, something like that. There's gotta be ones that will show you how to belay, for free or cheap.

Last, read up some. You don't have to know much, but a little knowledge is helpful. Get a hunk of rope, something at least as fat as your thumb, hook one end over a branch, towel bar, door, something like that, with one wrap around so it doesn't just fall down. Read the instructions with the ATC, and just practice loading it and pulling rope back and forth. Get your hand used to it, and where it is supposed to go to brake. Try it with some weight on the other end, see how that goes...

There is no reason you can't make this work!

Best, OLH

Lief Bamberg · · Bend, Oregon · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Hi Susie. I'm a newish climber (7 months)  that's happy to help someone learn what I know. Hit me up if you'd like to climb sometime! i like to go to smith and meadow rock, and occaisionally the gym.

mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

I have to wonder if this is a troll, but just in case it isn't, here goes:

At a bare minimum, spend whatever you have to to learn the basics (belaying, figure 8 knot) from a professional instructor before you start climbing with strangers you met on the internet. It took me 5 minutes of googling to find 2 places in Seattle that offer instruction in indoor and outdoor climbing, and neither of them charged anywhere close to $150 (REI and Vertical World). OLH's advice is quite good, too.

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 15

If you go to the indoor gyms in Tacoma that are roped they teach you belayed climbing for free

Logan Vilas · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Mountanieering, the freedom of the hills, is a great book with tons of equipment details and uses. It explains knots very well and has many good pictures. It's about all sorts of outdoor stuff, but probably has 100 pages on rock climbing.

You can get an older edition for free from Google books or buy a hard copy for about 30 bucks. From most outdoor places. 

I'm a noob too that has some experiance and equipment or I'd offer to help when I'm in the area.

Brock B. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 203

There are two climbing gyms in Seattle that offer belay classes: Vertical World and Stone Gardens. Classes are $50 and $55 respectively for non-members and include a two week membership.

Just to reiterate what others have said: yes, you can learn how to belay from some random person, but you won't know if what they're teaching you is unsafe or incorrect. We've all seen horrible belay techniques out at the crag. Belaying is a fundamental aspect of climbing and learning it safely and correctly is money well spent. Take a class.

Stanley Baker · · Seattle, WA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 20

I've taught myself a lot of things by reading books and watching youtube. The money I have spent has been on things that literally will risk my (or my partner's) life. I took a belay class at a gym. I took lead classes at a gym. They're well worth your money.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
Stanley Baker wrote:

I've taught myself a lot of things by reading books and watching youtube. The money I have spent has been on things that literally will risk my (or my partner's) life. I took a belay class at a gym. I took lead classes at a gym. They're well worth your money.

They're also fun, and one way to meet people and start to judge if you trust them!

OLH

Stanley Baker · · Seattle, WA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 20
Old lady H wrote:

They're also fun, and one way to meet people and start to judge if you trust them!

OLH

The gym is a great way to meet people (and really, if you're living here and want to climb year round there's no other option).

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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