Climbing works out like no other. Moreover, it is dynamic, isometric, and widely varied. It makes you use your whole body in different ways for every different route you climb.
Additionally, the challenges take many forms:
Strength – can I hold on to that little ledge with only my fingers? Can I do a pullup on that hold and then grab the next one?
Endurance – how long can I hold part of my weight with my hands and fingers before they give out?
Technique and brains – here are the holds, here is my body, which sequence of moves is my body capable of that gets me up the wall while keeping me in positions where I can hold into the holds and doesn’t wear me out too much?
Climbing: Important points
It’s mental. You could go from a weight set to the machine to the treadmill to get the physicality of rock lifting, but in rock mounting, at the same time you’re working your muscles, your mind is racing to solve problems. You stop asking, “what do I grab next?” and start asking, “If I start with a left foot on this toe chip, then reach up with the left hand, then step here, then go there…. will I be able to get past that tricky spot? Or should I start on the right foot and cross over, then?”
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It’s dangerous, and that’s exciting. You’re pushing your mind and your body in complex problems, and at the same time, if you screw up, you fall. There’s risk involved, the act of overcoming fear, and it gets the adrenaline going.
You get views from on high that many people will never see.
Things To Know About Rock Climbing
You bond with others. Someone once said that all you need to be a great boulderer is a pair of mounting shoes, a chalk bag, a crash pad, and a good friend to stand beneath this and yell “YOU GOT THIS!” There is a tiny feeling of being part of a group that is working through a new problem. Everyone’s cheering for each attempt, and you’re all standing around group problem solving, speculating on holds, footwork, and the details of the problem. In trad mounting, it’s you and your belay or mounting partner. You’re tied in together and counting on each other for safety hundreds of feet above the ground. That’s trust!
If I go to the gym and lift weights, then I’ve lifted weights. If I go mounting, I can point to a cliff or a route in the gym and say, “I’ve climbed to the top of that.” There’s pride that goes with that.
It feels a little exclusive. 99% of the world will never do these things. It feels pretty special.
It is a staggering gender-neutral sport. The rock doesn’t care if men or women are mounting. The foundation is rock. Climb it.
I’m sure there are things I’m missing, but for me, those are the biggies.