"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." ―Sir Edmund Hillary
For most people, just being in the great outdoors is an uplifting experience. Not only does it present an opportunity to revel in the beauty of the natural world around, but also to challenge oneself in numerous ways. The best and most worthy kind of battles we can take on are against the elements. Rock climbing is often considered only for adrenaline junkies, but in reality, it is an adventure sport that most can enjoy. You don't need to be young or extremely fit to pick up climbing, for there are many who learn rock climbing later on in life. If you are intrigued, know that the ideal way to start off is under the guidance from experienced climbers or in a climbing school. In addition, here are some instructions that will help you along the way.
Warmup and Stretch: One of the worst predicaments while rock climbing is to have calf or any other muscle cramp. To avoid this, and for other reasons, ensure you include a sufficient amount of stretching and warmup exercises before you get started. As stretching improves circulation and flexibility, before you start climbing, spend half an hour getting movement into your muscles and joints, and your heart rate slightly elevated.
Scan the Route: An important skill to develop is to carefully look at the rock patch you plan to scale, and try to visualize the route you will take while climbing it. Identifying hand and toe holds in advance can be a huge help while climbing. Take into consideration your personal strength, weight, balance, reach, and then plan each move through the route.
Grip: A good grip is a vital part of rock climbing. The key to a good grip is to not squeeze or hold tighter than you need to. If you over-grip, you will tire out your forearms fast. A surprising fact is that, often, the muscles you use to grip are the first ones to give in. In fact, squeezing will actually hamper the smoothness and fluidity in your climbing movement. An individual usually tightens his grip when he gets into a tough spot. For this reason, make it a habit to check your grip every time you are in a spot. Once you lose your grip, calm yourself, and then assess your situation to find a way out. In addition, forearm exercises are a good way in which you can develop a good grip.
Balance: Another very important skill for a rock climber is balance. While climbing a rock face, you will be in all kinds of awkward positions, often with your hands and legs spread far apart. Maintaining your balance in these circumstances is crucial. Try to be aware of your center of gravity when you make a climbing move, which will help prevent you from losing your balance. One way to improve your balance is to move over a 60-degree or greater slab and using only your feet. You may use your hands to steady yourself, but do not grip the wall.
Other important tips to keep in mind are to keep your body close to the wall, use your legs to carry your weight and arms for balance, and to take frequent short rests. Apart from these, there are many techniques that you will only learn through practice and from watching good climbers. If you find a rock face intimidating, you can first learn rock climbing a wall in the safety of your gym or similar facility.