The first step of course is getting down the basics, not only for safety because rock climbing can be a dangerous sport, but also to ease frustration and to make the climbing experiences more enjoyable.
Where to begin?
There are of course a host of sources for information on climbing, from websites to books. From knots to lingo, the beginner should be able to find out as much information on climbing as they can absorb and retain.
Many climbing gyms offer classes on basic climbing skills and it can be a safe and supportive environment to learn in. Additionally, depending on where you live, climbing schools are becoming more popular. A climbing school is usually part of a guiding business and is simply a separate guided excursion for beginners. Guides will often spend an hour or two going over the basics before the group heads to the outdoor destination.
The benefits of the climbing school are great. One, you’re outdoors and climbing on real rock, what could be better? Two, you’re in a supportive and guided environment where questions and learning are encouraged.
How To Find And Choose A Climbing School
Depending on where you live, there may be a wide variety of schools to choose from or there may be very few. Check out the mountain guides association for a list of guides in your area and their accreditation.
The American Mountain Guides offers a list of certified guides and accredited schools at their website.
Likewise the British Mountain Guides Association, and the Canadian Mountain Guides Association, both provide similar information. All affiliated countries association websites can be found at the International Federation Of Mountain Guides.
In addition to schools that are accredited, look for schools that offer small class sizes and a good instructor to student ratio.
The more one-one-one instruction time you can get the better. Some schools also offer classes by age, gender, or special needs. Call the school to find out what is available.
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