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Tried climbing and liked it? Have you loved it? Want to continue pursuing it? We certainly do love climbing and thinking back to when we started, it would have been helpful to have access to more information about how to go about it.

So, considering that you have been introduced to this addictive sport of climbing and have liked it, this blog is for you. This blog is to help you achieve that goal by listing down the essentials you need to know while climbing.

Rock climbing and types of rock climbing –

Let’s start with the basics. Rock climbing is basically climbing steep rocks using specialised equipment that provides support during your climb. Equipment made for rock climbing mainly includes climbing shoes, chalk, harnesses, rope, helmet, and others.

Coming back to climbing, there are mainly two types of climbing that beginners are generally introduced to–

Top rope climbing:

This is the most basic form of climbing in which a rope is passing through a top anchor and both ends are down. One end is tied to the climber and the other is fed through the belay device connected to the belayer. As the climber climbs, the belayer ensures that the rope is tight, so that he feels safe and climbs more confidently. In case of a fall, the climber is safe on the rope.

Bouldering :

This is a form of rock climbing in which we climb rocks around 12 feet but without any equipment other than our climbing shoes. Our fall is protected by a crash pad and spotters.

Both of these types of rock climbing should be learnt in the presence of an educated and certified instructor. Rock climbing can certainly be a dangerous sport but when done in a proper manner is very safe.

Now to the crux. Following are some tips that will empower beginner climbers to grow, learn, and conquer new heights with confidence –

1) What gears to buy :

Climbing is all about the gear, and your partner of course but the gears you have are very important as it can be the matter between life and death at times. Deciding on which gear to buy when you and your partner are starting out is very important and this section of the blog will try to cover that part.

‘Disclaimer- This is written with the assumption that you are starting out with top rope climbing and as you move forward you will require more gear in addition to these.’

Climbing shoes –

  • These are one of the most essential, appreciated and important gears in climbing, without any doubt. Climbing shoes are designed in a way by which all your body weight is transferred towards your toes. That will help you climb better by being able to transfer all your body weight on a tiny portion, enabling you to use small footholds and climb better. It also has super sticky rubber soles which provide a good grip on the rock. When buying a climbing shoe remember that it should be snug on your feet but not too painful. You should be able to walk with them. Also, remember that climbing shoes are designed to be worn without socks, so try them in that manner.

  • One pro tip I can give you is to try them in the afternoon and if possible after a climbing session or any kind of physical activity. The reason being your foot can swell up to full size during the day.

Some of my recommendations for beginners –

Harness –

  • A harness provides a tie-in point on the body and also helps in transferring the load of a fall over your back and thighs. A good harness is one which fits your body comfortably and still has some scope for tightening. You can choose from many types of harnesses and depending on your use you can decide if you want more padding or if you want your harness to be light. The harness can be of two types considering the type of climbing you are doing – top rope harness or lead harness. If you are sure you are going to pursue climbing as a sport then you should buy the lead one. Because in the long run if you are climbing then you will definitely learn how to lead climb.

Some of my recommendations for beginners will be –

Helmet –

  • A helmet is one of the most underappreciated gear. Sometimes even pro climbers don’t use it enough, but this little thing can save your life if you develop a habit of wearing it. The helmet basically protects the belayer from any small stones or rocks or equipment dropped by the climber and also protects the climber from any kind of head injury during a fall. The helmet should fit your head in a comfortable manner and should not be too tight or too loose.

Some of my recommendations for beginners will be –

Belay device with a carabiner –

  • A belay device is a device that helps the belayer to stop the climber’s fall and also take the rope in as the climber climbs up. Belay device work on a principle of friction and provides an easy flow of the rope.

Some recommendations for beginners will be –

Rope –

  • There are two kinds of ropes used in climbing. Dynamic and Static. I recommend a nice dynamic rope which provides a stretch to take the load of the fall and can help in reducing the jerk on the climber and the belayer. Dynamic rope for sports climbing should be between 9 to 10 mm in thickness and 60 to 70 m in length.

Some recommendations for beginners will be –

Note: If you are just bouldering then you will not need a harness and rope from the above list. For bouldering you will require a crash pad and chalk bag. A chalk bag is also needed in top rope climbing you can buy it online or from any climbing store. You will also need a sling and 4 carabiners to make the anchor.

2) Ensuring safety in rock climbing :

To ensure safety in climbing we follow certain climbing principles like partner check, PBUS belaying technique, climbing commands, and SERENE A anchors.

Partner check :

Before starting the climb the climber and belayer should do a partner check to ensure the safety of the climber. During this check the following–

Belayer –

· Check if the figure of eight knot is tied properly.

· Check if the climber is wearing all the equipment correctly.

Climber –

· Check if the carabiner the belay device is attached to is locked or not.

· Check if the rope is properly passing through the belay device.

· Check if the belayer is wearing all the equipment properly.

Climbing commands :

The climber will say ‘Climbing’ before starting the climb and will only start climbing after hearing ‘climb on’ from the belayer.

PBUS belaying technique :

The belayer should follow the PBUS belaying method for belaying which is an acronym for Pull




SERENE A anchors :

To make anchors super strong we follow the method of SERENE A anchors which is an acronym for

S – Solid

E – Equalised

R – Redundant

E – Easy to make

N – No

E – Extension

A – Angle

After making an anchor, check it by the method mentioned above.

3) Where to climb :

Websites like the Crag, Mountain Project and other provides topographic maps of the area that any climber can climb. You can also ask the local community for guidance. Beginner climbers should look for routes from 5 A to 6B, and when you feel like you can go higher then there is no stopping you. You can also access the topo of the Maldeveta Crag in Dehradun here.

4) Learn skills in a workshop :

As I told you before climbing is a sport that is risky and requires a lot of attention but if you learn through a proper instructor it can be a relatively safe sport.

If you join a workshop, you can learn all the basics of climbing from a certified and knowledgeable instructor which can ensure you get off on the right foot.

Workshops provide a structured learning experience which can provide a strong base.

5) Techniques to work upon :

As a beginner, you should focus more on climbing and getting used to climbing. Once you do that then you can focus on the following basic techniques –

Footwork -

First of all, you should focus on your footwork. So, that instead of using your arm strength to pull up you will use your legs to push yourself towards the next hold. As your leg muscles are much bigger and stronger than your arm muscle you should let them do the hard work.

Over gripping –

The next thing you should focus on is not to over-grip while climbing. You don’t have to crush the rock as you go up, you just need to keep yourself close to the wall and the rest of the work can be done by using your big muscles.

Rest when possible –

A majority of beginners, as well as intermediate climbers, fail to understand the concept of resting. They usually want to reach the top fast, and in that process, they over-pump their hands which can simply be avoided by taking rest wherever possible.

Use your toes –

The next thing to look out for is if you are using your whole feet or just your toes. If you use your toes then you will not only be able to use small foot holds but it will also increase your reach and range of motion.

Engage your core –

It is very important to engage your core while climbing, if you don’t do that then all your body weight will be transferred to your hands which will make you super pumped even on easy routes. Focus on engaging your core, and if you are not able to do the same then you can develop your core by doing core exercises off the wall.

Breathe –

Breathing is very important while climbing, yet climbers do not focus on this part often. If you have ever felt shaky legs while climbing it might have been due to the lack of oxygen in your body and that can be prevented just by taking long breaths when you need it.

Positive self-talk –

Positively motivating yourself while climbing is important and can be a major factor in completing a climb. It is advisable to fill your head with positive thoughts while climbing, think that you will be able to do the climb. Then there are more chances of you really doing it instead of otherwise.

6) Observe climbers that climb harder than you :

One of the best tips I received when I had just started climbing was to observe the climbers that climb harder than me. Observe the way they climb, the way they do certain moves, the way they enjoy the climb, and especially how calm they are while climbing. By observing all of these things you get to know their perspective which later can apply to your climbing.

7) Practice falling :

One thing that all new climbers are afraid of is taking a fall, even some experienced climbers are not comfortable taking falls. It is normal to have some fear while climbing, but being too scared to take a fall can affect your climbing.

So, to minimise the issue one thing we can do is practice falling. This will not only help you fight that fear but also help you build trust in the equipment. For that, all you have to do is choose a route where you think fall is safe and intentionally take a fall on it. This will help not only beginner climbers but also intermediate ones.

Even I use it when I find a difficult route and am stuck on some moves. I intentionally take falls so that I can have better control of my body.

8) Warm up properly :

Climbing is an intensive sport and it makes you use the muscles that you don’t normally use which increases the chance of the muscle getting injured. To avoid that you need to warm up every time you climb. Warm-up prevents injury by improving blood flow in muscles, loosening your joint which helps in making your muscle less likely to tear, rip or twist in a harmful way during the workout.

As a new climber, I use to avoid the warm-up I always considered it as a waste of time but after going through several injuries myself I have understood the importance of it. Now before every climb, I do a warm-up and it becomes more important if you are attempting a hard route.

9) Try to connect with other climbers :

Climbing is a community sport and it is in its growing phase in India. With a lot of new climbers introduced every day it is becoming more and more popular. These new climbers have different types of knowledge that they bring which means they might know some things that you don’t know. You might learn something new not just about climbing but about life in general from new or experienced climbers.

I know it is hard to talk to new people, especially for introverts like me but believe me the people who are into climbing are generally very open and non-judgemental. You can talk to them about climbing and they will love to teach you things.

Just remember rope skills are acquired with years of dedicated climbing and if someone experienced is telling you something just listen to them. But also don’t always believe everything they say but be respectful, you can do your research about the topic later.

10) Have fun!

The last thing that I will suggest is to have fun, it is the most important thing for me, it is the reason I climb. Just remember why you started climbing, for most of us it could be to have fun that is all you have to do in your climbing journey, keep having fun no matter with whom and where you are climbing.

I have completed most of my project because of this mindset, I was there to enjoy the climb not to complete it, and when I went with that intention no matter how long it took I was able to complete it. This mindset is what has helped me to improve my climbing so I would suggest all the new climbers do the same.

According to me, these are the top 10 tips I would share with new climbers. Hope you find them helpful. See you around someday maybe in a climbing location applying these tips. Until then keep climbing and keep growing.

For getting introduced to climbing you can attend the top rope climbing workshop that we offer to beginners in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.


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