So, the temperatures are warming up and you are getting restless to knock on your friend’s door and see if they can come out to play. But what are you going to go do? Climbing is a great way to spend half of your day laying around on a boho tapestry in the sun and the other half getting a workout.
Getting to the crag (the area that you will be climbing) usually takes a short hike and will get your blood pumping while you catch up with friends about their week. You can find yourself a nice little area to post up for the afternoon and get a few routes in. When you climb with a few people, it lets them take their turn while you sprawl out in the sun, watching them and picking up beta (AKA gathering information) on the route. Besides just getting a tan, below are some other ways to go and get to climbing.
Time to break out of the blanket burrito and get some sun on those legs.
Winters are long and the spring is the time to get that booty into gear for summer. Rock climbing is a full-body workout and requires some hardcore fitness to do well. There are number of different ways to do strength training after you’ve just gotten a manicure that don’t require you to go to the rock climbing gym and mess up your nails; Recruit your friends to join you in taking advantage of some of the spring workout specials. Yoga studios and gyms usually have crazy deals to pull people in and get them hooked on their programs. Do a 30-day yoga challenge, try out the new cycling club, or just get outside into the spring sunshine for a hike.
Wait, you spent how much on a carabiner?!
Have you been using your brother’s old climbing harness or borrowing your sister’s shoes? As your climbing progresses, you will learn that having your own personalized gear will help advance your climbing level. Beware though! If you are already known for being a shopaholic, beware of outdoor gear stores. Once you start getting hooked on gear, getting lost in gear stores will be your new favorite hobby (next to rock climbing). You will dream of shiny quick draws, silky new ropes and you’ll begin to design different chalk bags in your head while belaying your buddy. Gear is to climbers what shoes are to your girlfriend, a fascination that offers a release of dopamine with every purchase.
Friendly PSA: Wait for an REI member garage sale to save some serious cash when needing to update your gear.
I’m not fat, I’m just a little husky…
Is your dog giving you those puppy eyes and begging you to get outside after a long winter indoors? Just like you, they want to get out and play in the spring sun. Turning your dog into a crag dog may take a little bit of adjustment time for them. Most of the time, dogs will freak out when their owners start scaling a cliff. They usually bark at you, trying to say, “What the hell are you doing? You don’t have wings! Come back down here where it is safe, with me!” Eventually they will learn you’ll make your way back down to them and they will love just soaking up the sun and hanging out with you and your friends.
Friendly PSA: Check your pup for ticks before putting them back in the car. They carry lyme disease and like to hang out in the sagebrush around climbing areas in the west.
My dad always said “Don’t be hasty when it comes to safety.”
Show off your rock climbing know-how to all of your friends by giving them the safety speech. Rock climbing can also make a great first date idea. It will let you get up close and personal to your newest crush’s harness. Let the sun hit your new lean arm muscles you’ve acquired as you set up the rope for you and your friends. Be that friend that warns everyone of skin cancer and tell them to put sunscreen on the back of their hands, a place you don’t think to put sunscreen very often. You can still get golden bronze under that light layer of sunscreen.
Friendly PSA: Wear bug spray this season! There is that scary Zika virus going around and you don’t want to catch that one, trust me.
You probably won’t be painting your new friend’s nails this weekend.
Taking up a new sport almost always leads to new friendships. You meet new people at the gym and at the crag. When you become a climber, you meet the friends of current friends that you otherwise wouldn’t have, because you literally have nothing else in common. Something special happens when you belay someone for the first time (as long as you do it right). You create this line of trust and connection because you literally have their life in your hands. Not only do you get to skip the boring small talk because they are up on the wall or rock, but you can create a deeper connection with them from the start. If you are a girl, climbing with other girls might be best for your ego when first starting out. Work up to spending a crag day with the cutie that keeps checking out your perfectly placed chalk bag at the gym.
Get your Dora the Explorer on.
Planning a big climbing trip gives you a reason to get out of town. Planning a big trip with your friends is such a blast. You could have a single destination such as Joshua Tree, Smith Rock, or the Cochise and camp out for days on end. You can also make a long road trip out of it with a ton of different spots that you have never been to before. Different areas have different types of rock and are set in so many different types of landscapes. If you have been wanting to boost your Instagram followers, chronicling a big climbing trip is a great way to do it! National Parks and rock climbing crags are gorgeous places for you and your friends to do a photoshoot, creating long-lasting memories in a beautiful photos.
W.M. Chandler is a Colorado native and works best with her head in the clouds. She is an avid researcher and enjoys writing about unfamiliar subjects. She writes passionately about nature and the outdoors, human connections and relationships, nutrition and politics. Twitter: @wmchandler1212