Newbie: "How do you get started?"


Original Post
Jorge Brondo · · Laredo Texas · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Whats the first place to go to get started with outdoor sport climbing? 

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 45

Get a quickdraw and a section of rope and start practicing efficient clipping.

Make a friend who has a set of quickdraws and a rope.

Start outdoor sport climbing.

Learn how to clean sport anchors and rappel.

Bill 1552 · · Portland, OR · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 295

Take a gym to crag class from a local gym or guiding company, find a local Meetup group or just find a group of more experienced climbers that don't mind you tagging along. 

Fritz N. · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115

A mentor. Someone safe, experienced and patient, not just plastic-strong. Beer is a nice gesture.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265

I second the above, and add, get outside with someone competent before you buy a bunch of stuff. It isn't everyone's cup of tea.

OLH

Victor K · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 165

In addition to the above advice, read some books. Start with Freedom of the Hills, then look for something that focuses on sport climbing. While FotH may seem like overkill, it's good to understand the breadth of problems that can occur, and for you to begin learning more obscure aspects of rope management.

ARonchetti · · Mundelein, IL · Joined May 2011 · Points: 15

Make friends with more experienced climbers at the gym and learn anything and everything. When outdoor trips occur try to tag along but bring some kind of gear (draws, rope, ect.) to contribute to the cause. A 6er of beer or a bottle of whiskey while camping can't hurt. 

Dave Kos · · Temecula, CA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 55

Today the best place to get started in outdoor sport climbing is indoor sport climbing.

You'll learn the skills and quickly meet people who go outdoors.

Jaren Watson · · Boise, Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 1,205

I started climbing outside by reading online articles and watching videos. I persuaded my poor wife to lead belay me, certain I wouldn't fall and clueless of the consequences if I screwed up.

I made numerous, potentially devastating errors, but somehow managed to survive, probably by being so ignorant I didn't know all the things I was doing wrong. The only lasting damage I incurred is a knee injury that still bothers me eight years after a sixty-foot pendulum sent me slamming into the rock wall.

There are many ways to transition to outside climbing but one absolute: mentor, mentor, mentor.

Be smarter than those of us who learned the hard way. (I know I'm not the only one.)

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

As has been mentioned above. The very best thing you can do is go a few times with someone that has been climbing for a while and demonstrates safe behavior. Check around for a local club or meet-up group. I joined one when I first started climbing. That club along with an experienced friend gave me a lot of knowledge that I needed to start buying gear of my own and getting out with other people (which the club introduced me to). 

Matt Wenger · · Bozeman · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 2,675

I'd like to add here that we were ALL young padawans at one time, so us experienced people should be sure to pay it forward with a few young apprentices throughout our climbing years. I currently have two "apprentices" that I have devoted time and teaching days to, even if it means giving up a few days here and there climbing easier routes that I wouldn't normally do.

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

I'd like to add here that we were ALL young padawans at one time, so us experienced people should be sure to pay it forward with a few young apprentices throughout our climbing years. I currently have two "apprentices" that I have devoted time and teaching days to, even if it means giving up a few days here and there climbing easier routes that I wouldn't normally do.

You gotta cultivate your future rope guns ;)

Mark Verosky · · Columbus, Ohio · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 15

First thing first, find a partner. I recommend either finding someone that is more experienced to show you the ropes, or find someone who will takes classes/pay for guides to learn. If going the second route, make sure you choose someone who has the same end goals for climbing (i.e. you want to learn trad but they don't, they want to learn multipitch but you don't, etc.) I say this because later on down the road since you two will become very close as partners and having a fall out will become stressful, at least that has been my own experience. 

Once you find a partner, you need to just take it slow and learn. If you haven't outdoor top roped yet, do that. That will allow you to get an idea for outdoor climbing since it is completely different from indoors. Once you learn top rope and are comfortable climbing outdoors, take a sport climbing class at your local gym or have a mentor guide you. If this isn't possible, start leading well below your level but make sure you have someone who knows how to belay a lead climber. It is nothing like belaying someone on top rope. Practice taking lead falls and catching lead falls. Also learn how to rappel and clean a sport route.

As for gear. I recommend getting a rope right off the bat. This is necessary for any type of climbing minus bouldering. Get the necessary gear to set up top rope and have someone show you how build anchors and follow SERENE and ERNEST. Once you are ready to move on to sport, buy the necessary amount of quickdraws for your area, a helmet, PAS, and an ATC if you have been previously using a GRIGRI or a belay device that only takes one strand of rope.

Most importantly only do what is comfortable for you and be safe.

Fritz N. · · Durango, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 115

+1 Helmet. Even if you never backstep the rope and climb in a mythical land without rockfall, you've still got the climber on Flight of the Gumblebee 5.8 four feet right of your line who can drop their ATC onto you from the anchor. I've had two partners get concussions from leadfalls in supposedly safe areas (no, the rope wasn't behind their leg), and one get a concussion while belaying from getting sucked into an overhang while catching a whipper.

Also, good on ya for opening yourself up to the verbal gang-bang known as "asking a question on MP." When you get a mentor, please realize that they're making a sacrifice to show you the ropes. Pay them back and then when you're solid, pay it forward.

Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35

You could start by filling out your MP profile.  That would help locals (to your area) know they are local to you and then possibly offer to take you out.  Id also offer pizza, beer, and gas money for people willing to take you out.

Jorge Brondo · · Laredo Texas · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0
Fritz N. wrote:

+1 Helmet. Even if you never backstep the rope and climb in a mythical land without rockfall, you've still got the climber on Flight of the Gumblebee 5.8 four feet right of your line who can drop their ATC onto you from the anchor. I've had two partners get concussions from leadfalls in supposedly safe areas (no, the rope wasn't behind their leg), and one get a concussion while belaying from getting sucked into an overhang while catching a whipper.

Also, good on ya for opening yourself up to the verbal gang-bang known as "asking a question on MP." When you get a mentor, please realize that they're making a sacrifice to show you the ropes. Pay them back and then when you're solid, pay it forward.

I've had worse verbal gangbangs in the army, you guys are nice, very informative. 

406MT · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

1.  Learn proper anchor set up and cleaning first on top rope

2. Learn from someone (friend, book, etc.) proper quickdraw orientation and practice clipping.

3. Start on a route you know you can climb flawlessly and put your clipping skills to the test.

4. Don't rush things.  It seems people often hurt themselves by trying to progress faster than they should.  (aside from the obvious technical aspect, I think this is the most important part) most of us climb as a hobby.  It's not worth going out there and hurting yourself.  There's always some risk, the key is risk management.

5. Have fun! it's a whole new world compared to top roping.  You'll find routes that were super easy will become more difficult due to the mental aspect.  For me the mental game is the best part.

Stay safe

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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