Rock climbing is an adventure and one which many people are reluctant to attempt. Yes, it can be dangerous if you aren’t prepared and yes, you do need to be more prepared than for any other adventure you’ve probably ever taken. This may be your first rock climbing trip but whether it’s your first or your tenth, there are some things which you must do before every trip.
Choose Your Location Wisely
While you have probably practiced locally with an instructor, there is nothing that compares to your first solo rock climbing trip. It is always suggested that you choose your destination wisely because the ‘tips’ you get from other climbers may not offer suitable locations for newbies. Also, you will always want to bring someone along with you. Even seasoned climbers take a buddy along and this is especially important if you don’t really know your location well. Choose your location based on your skill level, this is a must.
Prepare Yourself in Body, Mind and Spirit
As with any sport or athletic activity, a warm up is essential. Before climbing, do sufficient stretch and warm up exercises. Many new climbers fail to understand just how quickly their hips can seize up under weight and stress, so bring your hip flexor foam roller with you if you bring no other exercise equipment. You can do other stretches and warm ups, but your hips require a special kind of preparation and you don’t want them seizing halfway up your climb!
Make a Checklist of What You Need to Bring
Start early and make a checklist of everything you will be bringing from ropes and carabiners to helmets, shoes and any other equipment you will need on your first rock climbing trip. Also, if you plan on camping for a few days so you can go again and again from different angles and climbing spots, a camping list is a must as well. On your checklist don’t forget a first aid kit and a mobile phone in case you need to call for assistance.
Check out Local Amenities
Before you embark on your first rock climbing trip, don’t forget to check out what’s in the area. Are there grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals and other amenities you just ‘might’ need? Keep this list with you when you leave and make sure all phone numbers and addresses are current.
If You Don’t Have a 4×4 – Rent One!
Some of the areas where you will be climbing, most in fact, are off road so a 4×4 is essential. You might not make it all the way to the area where you will be climbing but you surely will want to set up camp as close as you can get! Don’t wear yourself out before putting on the gear for your first climb. That’s not an intelligent move at all.
Remember, you are not a seasoned climber so if something doesn’t feel right, don’t attempt it. You have had instruction and practice climbs back home, but nothing like this so don’t get ahead of yourself. Yes, prepare your mind by telling yourself you can do it, but if you feel something is amiss, it is better to check with a pro than attempt something foolish. Your life is more important than your ego, so take your time and do it right.