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Why You Should Take an Intro to Climbing Class

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

If you’ve been trying to start your climbing journey but struggling with knowing where to start, you might find that an Intro to the Climbing course (or something similar) is just what you’ve been searching for! Instead of navigating questions, concerns, and challenging skills alone, enrolling in an intro class can provide access to knowledge, community, and instruction. If you’re unsure what an intro course could do to help improve, you're all-around experience with climbing, read on, and we’ll show ya!

The Basics

Though classes will vary depending on your climbing gym, an intro to the climbing course will likely lay out some climbing basics to help you better navigate gym space and climb more successfully. Class subjects may include discussing types of gym climbing like bouldering, top roping, and lead climbing, learning common gym etiquette and frequently used lingo like “beta” or “catch,” and going over techniques for different moves you’ll encounter on the wall. You’ll likely learn about the different rating systems for bouldering and wall routes, talk about gear and how to properly use it, and get a good look into belaying and climbing on the top rope if your gym offers this sort of climbing.

In addition to these things, you’ll have a chance to climb with a more experienced instructor nearby. You’ll likely get an overview of good climbing habits, form, and even feedback on your climbing as you go. All of this helps set you up for success as you take on more climbing outside of the class setting!

Getting Comfortable in Your Climbing Environment

Jumping into a new interest can be intimidating, especially when it requires you to enter into a new physical environment, like a gym. Taking a class through your local climbing gym can be a great way not just to get familiar with the basics of climbing but to get more comfortable with the layout of your gym and what it has to offer. Starting in a class environment aimed at newcomers can take the stress off whatever you feel unsure about and allow you to focus on learning new and exciting skills!

Besides setting yourself up for a less stressful new gym experience, taking an intro to climbing class is a great way to get more familiar with fellow climbers and the climbing community around you. You’ll work with the gym staff, instructing your class and other participants who are new to climbing. Being around others also learning can be a much more enjoyable experience than trying to keep pace with more experienced climbers.

If you’re lucky, you might even leave class with a new climbing partner or two to hit the gym with and practice what you’ve learned together. Having a few fellow climbers can make all the difference in getting yourself climbing regularly and practicing your new skills in comfortable, encouraging environments.

Skill & Technique Building

When you first start climbing, knowing what skills to focus on and how or where to learn them can be difficult. Instead of stepping into the vast, not always reliable sea of online videos and how-to’s, turning to a class at your local gym is a great option! In a class setting, you’ll work with experienced climbers who can show you how to execute skills and explain best practices adequately. You’ll also have the chance to do hands-on learning, whether practicing how to grip a hold by getting on the wall or working with a belay device as you learn to give another climber a catch.

In addition to getting experience with some basic climbing skills, an intro to climbing class will help you get in the grove of climbing with habits that help promote healthier, more successful climbing. You’ll likely cover technique basics, things like placing your feet before your hands and keeping your hips close to the wall. In addition to these sorts of tips, your instructors can offer guidance on climbing do’s and don’ts for staying safe as you begin climbing. An intro class will set you on a smoother path that will hone and challenge your skills through a gradual progression of knowledge and ability.

Expanding Knowledge & Risk Reduction

Whether you’re learning new skills and techniques or about some slightly terrifying facet of climbing you never knew existed, having an instructor there to answer questions, offer additional avenues of understanding, and check your proficiency will offer a more informed and structured start to your climbing.

In climbing, having access to more information can seriously help reduce risk, especially with new climbers. Attending an intro class helps promote less risky, more aware climbing habits that will benefit you and other climbers you encounter on your adventures. When you don’t yet know everything you don’t know, you’re way more likely to climb in unsafe ways. However, learning more about the vast expanse of climbing knowledge and a better understanding of all there is to learn as a beginner can help you engage in more critical, more aware practices as you progress. To begin your journey and start learning– check out your gym’s class offerings today!

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