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Is Climbing Outside Your 2024 Goal? Our Guide to Staying Safe While Rock Climbing

getting the most out of your home climbing wall

2024 brings a new year and a new you. And by new you, we mean a climber that adventures outdoors. Finally seeking to break free from the land of neon plastic holds and chalk clouds, but don’t know where to start? The transition from gym to crag can be tricky to navigate, especially since climbing gets more complicated when you take it outside. Fortunately, we have put together some pointers to keep you safe, successful, and having fun with your outdoor sessions.

Seek Qualified Instruction

When you learned to drive, did your parents just hand over the keys and wish you luck? Probably not…but when it comes to outdoor climbing, many people are willing to tag along with anyone who has the gear.

Compared to the relatively controlled environment of the gym, outdoor climbing is way more complex with so many situational variables that need to be navigated. Latching on for a free ride with someone is probably not the best idea. A more practical solution to set you up for a safe experience is to hire a climbing guide or find an experienced mentor to show you the ropes. Sorry…

Climbing with a guide or mentor takes away the added responsibility of risk assessment and decision making. This will allow you to focus your efforts and attention on learning new skills for outdoor climbing. Qualified instruction from trained and reputable guides can provide a safe outdoor experience.

Know Your Limits

Gym climbing does not equate to outdoor climbing. Just because you are ridiculously strong from all your sessions on the Rocket Wall, pulling on plastic holds doesn’t mean you will be as successful on real rock. Outdoor climbing is more three-dimensional than gym routes and may demand a climbing style you haven’t practiced before. There isn’t a nice, color-coded route going straight up the wall, it will take time to learn how to read the routes of real rock.

Grading also does not translate from indoor to outdoors. Expect to start on lower grades than you anticipate—with the added element that climbing outdoors will be more technical, way scarier, and typically more dangerous no matter what the grade on Mountain Project says.

Use Proper Equipment

The first part of using proper equipment is knowing what you need before you go. This will depend on what type of climbing you plan on doing. Once you have this part figured out, make sure that you know how to use what you have. It would not be a good day if you go to lead a pitch having never learned how to use quickdraws. You also want to make sure that your equipment is in good condition. Check your harness and quickdraws for wear and tear. Check your rope to ensure it’s not core shot.

Wear a Helmet

Do we even have to say this? Even if you go to an established climbing area, you should make it a point to wear a helmet (while climbing and belaying). There is always the risk of slamming into a rock face, flipping upside down, falling rocks, or something happening to your belayer that causes a chain reaction.

Now that you have our advice, enjoy the wonderful world of outdoor climbing! We'll see you out there.We’ll see you out there. 


Featured Climbing Training Gear

Maverick: The on-the-go, bring it anywhere hangboard. On a family road trip to keep your fingers in shape. We like to bring this to the crag with us to keep our fingers warm—without losing skin on mediocre warm-ups—at that steep, thuggy sport crag.

Pinch Blocks: Don't let pinch strength stop you from sending! Use it while hanging, lifting, and even for one arm hangs; featuring various widths for pinching, a 20 mm edge, and a jug.

The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…

The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.


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