Debunking Common Myths About Climbing: It's Not Just for the Strong and Fearless
As climbing continues to explode into the mainstream spotlight, with mentions in publications like the Washington Post and the New York Times, and its debut in the 2020 Olympics, more and more folks are asking themselves: "Can I do it?"
When it comes to climbing, numerous misconceptions often discourage people from giving it a shot. From the belief that you need bulging biceps to the fear of heights being an insurmountable obstacle, these myths can prevent individuals from experiencing the fun and fulfillment that climbing has to offer. Let's debunk some of these common misconceptions.
Myth #1: You Need Exceptional Upper Body Strength
One of the most persistent myths about climbing is that it demands Hulk-smash upper body strength. While having some muscle power in your arms can be handy, especially for tackling bouldering or overhanging routes, it's not mandatory. Climbing is just as much about balance, hip position, and footwork as it is about raw strength. Surprisingly, many beginners discover that their legs and core muscles get a major workout while climbing, often more so than their arms.
Myth #2: Fear of Heights Is a Deal-Breaker
Another prevalent myth that keeps potential climbers grounded is the fear of heights. It's normal (even human) to feel jittery about leaving the ground. But the truth is, almost everyone (perhaps with the exception of Alex Honnold, whose amygdala doesn’t fire like ours) is afraid of heights. With time, exposure, and increased mindfulness in a controlled and supportive environment, most climbers learn to face the fear. This means trusting the gear, trusting their belayer, and trusting themselves. The fear doesn’t completely go away, but with patience and gradual exposure, many individuals find that fear takes a back seat to the incredible experience of climbing.
Myth #3: Climbing Is an Exclusive Sport for the Elite
Another misconception is the idea that climbing is an exclusive club for the young, buff, and fearless. To be clear, this absolutely used to be the case. But climbing has made huge strides towards diversity and inclusivity in the past few years. People of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities are scaling walls and crags, from little kids to seasoned seniors, from casual weekend climbers to hardcore athletes. Indoor climbing gyms have opened up the sport to a wider audience, providing a friendly space for newcomers. And for those with disabilities, adaptive climbing programs are breaking down barriers. Message us on Instagram if you’re having a hard time getting started and our Social Media Manager will get you in touch with the right place or person.
In conclusion: give climbing a try. It's not just about brute strength or fearlessness; it's about persistence, problem-solving, and personal growth. You might just discover a whole new world of adventure and camaraderie waiting for you.
MUSTS To Keep in Mind:
Qualified Instruction: Getting proper instruction is crucial. With the climbing scene booming, it's essential to ensure safety and learn good habits from the get-go. Climbing is inherently dangerous, even indoors, so don't skimp on qualified instruction.
Cost Considerations: If the cost of climbing seems daunting, there are workarounds. Some gyms, like The Spot in Boulder, CO, offer sliding scale memberships based on income. Many offer student or corporate discounts. And if gear is a hurdle, check out local sports recyclers or online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace for budget-friendly options.
Leave No Trace (LNT): Whether climbing indoors or outdoors, always adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace (LNT). Respect the environment and leave it as you found it, so future climbers can enjoy it too. Learn how to be a steward of the land, sign the Access Fund’s Climber Pact, and find ways to get involved with your local climbing coalition.
Last but not least:
Go There Pants are *perfectly* compatible with climbing harnesses!