Monday, July 27, 2015

The College Girl's Guide | Rock Climbing for Beginners

The first experience I ever had with real rock climbing was incredible. I went canyoneering in Moab, Utah for the first time with friends and it was amazing! I was terrified of heights, and rappelling off a 100 ft cliff was an insane rush of adrenaline. I came home and needed more! I found friends that rock climbed on a regular basis. Since then, I've gone almost every week improving my skills! There's nothing like climbing to the top and overlooking the tops of trees and being so high up. It's exhilarating!

This guide is for people that have never been climbing before, but have always been curious to go! In no way do I know everything about climbing, like technique and terminology. I want this post to be a rough introduction to tell you about what I know and what I've picked up after the past couple months! 


Most people that go regularly usually have all the equipment that you would need. You'll need a number of different things. Rope, harness, and climbing shoes are the obvious ones but there is also a few other pieces that you'll need to know about. A helmet is always a good idea but not necessarily required. It would be smart for the person belaying to wear one though, in case any loose rock gets free. Chalk will also help you dry your hands out so you can grip the wall better.

Quick Draw - These are used for lead climbing. Lead climbing is when someone starts at the bottom and sets the route for the others to climb. They use these to lock into a new place on the rock, then feed the rope through to secure their spot. Where you set these and the direction they go is very important. You want to make sure that you do it correctly so that the rope can feed through it easily and won't get tangled. You should always climb with someone who knows the correct technique.
Gri Gri - This is a belaying device. To belay someone while climbing means that you are securing them at the bottom, and keeping them safe. When belaying someone you never let go of the rope; you keep the rope tight with your right hand down at your side. The gri gri allows you to pull a small lever and slowly lower the climber at the top safely down the rock. Keeping it slow and steady is really important! ***Bring a glove whenever you rapel or belay, it'll make feeding the rope through your hand a lot less painful!***
ATC - This is what I used when I went canyoneering. You use it to rappel. It allows someone to rappel down on their own. Seriously, one of the most important things to remember about climbing is to NEVER let go of the rope. When you're rappelling this device gets really hot, so you need to make sure your hand is far enough from it to not hurt you. Also ladies, you're going to want to put your hair back when you rappel, you DO NOT want you hair to get tangled in this. At all. Period. 

Climbing is supposed to be challenging and fun!
It's you and the rock, you're the only one that can get you to the top.
It's really important to go with people that have been trained and know what they are doing.


Make sure you bring hair ties to put your hair back. There's no reason to get your hair caught and tangled up. Believe me, there would probably be no way to get it untangled if your climbing. Pull your hair back!

Trust yourself. If you're wearing climbing shoes, you will be surprised at how much grip they have. I'm always pleasantly surprised when I'm standing on a rock that's maybe a centimeter wide but it always manages to hold my weight and make me feel secure

As I said before gloves are a nice addition to rock climbing. Any kind of glove works well, leather or even garden gloves. Something that a little sturdy that will make your grip better when belaying. Also, If you're planning on doing any night climbing or canyoneering, bring a head lamp!

If you want more information there is a website called that has photos, videos, news, terminology and even climbing routes! There is lots of information with very specific answers.

You can also go to my climbing pinterest board for more!

Thanks for reading!
Love, Nick

I also wrote The College Girl's Guide to Camping!
It's filled with packing lists, recipes, tips and tricks for camping!