There is an ancient saying that my father passed down to me: “Excuses are like #!@holes, everybody’s got one.” As the co-owner of an outdoor gear shop, I hear all the excuses imaginable when comes to rock climbing – “I’m too old”, “I’m too weak”, “I can’t do any pull-ups”, “I’m overweight”, etc. Bottom-line, the majority of excuses are rooted in a basic fear of the unknown. People are afraid that they will look silly, they will not be able to climb to the top, they won’t get off the ground, or they will fall and hurt themselves. You can easily overcome your fears, because, you will find that once you get out there, your fears are overstated.
Many people associate rock climbing with extreme sports such as base jumping, motocross, or cow tipping.
However, I argue that climbing is more akin to yoga. Climbing involves long, slow movements and rarely involves leaping or one-finger pull-ups. The sport emphasizes focus, technique, and stability over brute strength.
Rock Climbing does involve heights. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be any excitement or sense of adventure. Everyone has a fear of heights, including me. The true test involves how you surpass or overcome that fear. Professional climbing service providers will do everything in their power to help you with that task. Much of risk mitigation involves an extensive understanding of the gear and the ability to ensure proper use. While you are climbing, you will wear a harness and helmet and will be roped in at all times. You will even practice falling from very low heights to help build your confidence in climbing gear. By the end of your first day of climbing, that fear of falling will be minimized, which is a huge victory by itself.
Many would-be climbers stay away from the sport due to the fear of injury. While there are some inherent risks with climbing, most injuries that occur while climbing are superficial scratches and bruises. There is a greater risk of injury on the hike-in than when you are on the rock itself. 99% of more serious climbing injuries are due to operator error. These include not using the proper knots, not inspecting gear, and not following simple safety checks before every ascent. We always promote using certified guides for initial climbing endeavors so that you create good habit patterns and build a stable foundation in gear use and proper safety procedures.
Outdoor rock climbing is not simply about getting from point A to point B or knocking out a good workout. At its core, it is about adventure, discovering the unknown, overcoming an obstacle. However, there are some people who are just not interested in climbing. Not everyone is adventurous or wants to push themselves. Not everyone has a dream to accomplish something bigger or open their horizons. Those people also have a place at River Rock; please come on by and I will introduce you to our Paddle board instructor Johnny.
[Just kidding Johnny!]