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By Laney555
From Castle Rock, Co
Aug 9, 2012
me.

Hey all :)
I just started climbing at the gym three weeks ago, so I'm totally brand new at this. I did my first 5.9 route today, which felt pretty great. I am so in love with climbing and I want to get better. I am able to get to the top of the wall, but I know that my technique probably sucks and in no way do i resemble anything graceful. Any recommendations on some good reading material to help me better understand what to do with my body? I'm only 5'3" and feel also like my height is working against me, even when belaying. (I often have to pull in slack twice for each step up the climber makes.)

Any thoughts welcome! Thanks so much!


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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Aug 9, 2012
old 1/4" bolt.

Laney......lots of great books and videos out there. Freedom of the Hills, How to Rock Climb (by Michael Loughman), How to Rock Climb (by John Long). Good luck and beware of many of the jaded comments you inevitably will receive from armchair climbers upon announcing that you're new to climbing. Also, many outstanding rock climbers and mountaineers have been height challenged. Lynn Hill....5' 2", Tony Yaniro...5' 6", Beth Rodden...5' 4."


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By Jeremy Hand
Aug 9, 2012
slopey

Check out the book Dancing Mind, Thinking Body.

It isn't directly related to climbing but to all athletics, business, and life in general. It will teach you how to push yourself and use positive realization and visualization to reach and surpass your goals.
IMHO, climbing is 90% mental/10% athletic ability. If you can persevere through and overcome the mental pitfalls and frustrating blocks along the way you will progress swiftly and quickly.

Also, remember that climbing is about the experience. You just started climbing 3 weeks ago and you fell in love with the experience. Most likely, in the long term, you will start to focus more on the grades at which you are climbing(or are striving to climb) and will forget what enticed you to the sport in the first place.

Good luck and happy crushing!


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By Larry S
Aug 9, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Also check out The Self Coached Climber - Book w DVD at Amazon


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By Larry S
Aug 9, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Also suggested - get in the Partner Finder on here, there may be some more experienced climbers near you who'll let you climb w/ them.


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By coloradosk8r
From Ft Collins co
Aug 9, 2012

I agree, a good partner is hard to find though..but they will help tremendously. Let me know if your in the front range (ie north Colorado) i need a climbing partner.


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By Dom
Administrator
From New Brunswick Canada
Aug 9, 2012
Moby dick 5.11-

Being short might disadvantage you when climbing in the gym but you'll see that when you're climbing outside there are way more holds and sequence possibilities so being short doesn't really disadvantage you except for the odd route. Sometimes being short advantages you (e.g. compressed moves)


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By jeffozozo
From santa clara, utah
Aug 9, 2012
me

I subscribe to rock and ice. It is strangely cool to see pictures of really strong people climbing things that I'll never be able to climb.


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By Unassigned User
Aug 9, 2012

Post a lot on MountainProject. Make lots of snarky comments, change your name a couple times. I have been told that this makes one a real climber. I quit climbing so that I would have more time to post on here... Sadly that is almost true. I do still climb 4-5 days a week though.

In seriousness though, read climbing books, get super stoked, find buddy that does not mind catching you as you flail on a 5.8-5.10. Most of all, just go have lots of fun. Be safe and climb hard. Travel to new areas, CLIMB MULTI PITCH TRAD!!!!! Seriously, don't stop at moving away from gym climbing, keep going till you get to trad climbing.


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By Ben Gordon
From La Canada, CA
Aug 9, 2012

I started climbing (in a gym) last September, so I feel where you are coming from.

The main thing I did was find friendly, fun gym climbers that were better than me. They pushed me to try harder stuff, critiqued my technique and generally inspired me to get better. Gym climbers also 90% of the time do indoor climbing to get better at outdoor, so this also gave me people to climb with.

It cannot be overstated what an amazing book Freedom of the Hills is. However, I feel like more experience is better when appreciating it- try giving it a read after you have been climbing for a month or two. Definitely my go-to when I need to do something outdoors.

I also like to watch climbing movies both of the educational variety (Improve your climbing with Neil Gresham comes to mind) as well of the more entertaining type (CORE, any of the Reel Rock Tour DVD's), as those are super inspiring.

And finally just have fun! Climbing is one of those things that gets more rewarding as you reach a certain level of competency. If you can do 5.9 solidly in the gym, dont sweat over whether you are getting outside and doing sport or trad: there are tons of people who love to show new climbers the ropes, and you will find the type of climbing that gets you stoked.

Stay safe!


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By E Wydeven
From Austin, TX
Aug 9, 2012

Just keep climbing and climb around as many different (safe) people as you can. Watch their technique (body positioning, balance, footwork, etc...) and try it out; see what works for you. Keep in mind that everybody has a different body type, range of movement, and climbing style. Find what works best for you. Above all, if you love to climb, climb a lot. You are in an area where opportunities (and potential partners) abound. No doubt there is someone you could go out with who could put up some lines for you and challenge you to safely lead new routes at your grade. If you ever find yourself in Austin, TX, give me a PM and I'll take you to one of our local limestone crags and we can have some sport climbing fun.

One of my good climbing friends is about your height and he often acts as my rope gun on routes I don't feel confident enough on to lead. Height is relative to the route.

Keep climbing.


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By Princess Mia
From Vail
Aug 9, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks

Get after it!!!!

I am only 5'3" as well and it is not a disadvantage, unless you are wider than tall. Lol


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By JonnyGreenlee
From Evergreen, CO
Aug 9, 2012
Delicate Arch, Sturdy Arch.

Just to warn you - 5.9 toprope on plastic at most gyms and 5.9 on rock at most crags (especially in areas with "old school" grades) are very different animals. Keep psyched about climbing and don't worry about grades when you do get outside.

As for height- I'm just under 6'3 on a good day and have very long arms. Sometimes it is awesome. Sometimes it makes moves that are easy for a short climber physically impossible because I just don't fit into a compression move. Every size has advantages and disadvantages, and you have to figure what works for you.

For technique- two easy tips I have found very useful.
1. Silent feet. Try not to make noise when you are placing your feet- make it a exact, controlled placement. Footwork is key to climbing and most people start of with their feet banging and scratching all over the wall.

2. If you are on a toprope, try and stop (without hanging on the rope) for at least 10-15 seconds a couple times on a route. It teaches you to conserve energy, find rest stances and find clipping/protection placing stance. Try and find places where you can take one or both hands off the wall and shake out your arms.

Laney555 wrote:
Hey all :) I just started climbing at the gym three weeks ago, so I'm totally brand new at this. I did my first 5.9 route today, which felt pretty great. I am so in love with climbing and I want to get better. I am able to get to the top of the wall, but I know that my technique probably sucks and in no way do i resemble anything graceful. Any recommendations on some good reading material to help me better understand what to do with my body? I'm only 5'3" and feel also like my height is working against me, even when belaying. (I often have to pull in slack twice for each step up the climber makes.) Any thoughts welcome! Thanks so much!


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By Laney555
From Castle Rock, Co
Aug 9, 2012
me.

Wow, thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions, I really appreciate it! I'll be checking out those books ASAP.

I have made acquaintences with a girl who works the desk at my gym, she offered to take me to Clear Creek on my first outdoor adventure (I am totally giddy at the idea, I cannot wait to climb outdoors) whenever I want to. I'm not sure when it's a good idea. I'm somewhat of a cautious person, I like adventure but I do often prefer carefully planned out adventure. I know some people start out on rock, but what would you say would be some good things to have nailed down in the gym before I climb outdoors?


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By kilonot
Aug 9, 2012

Laney555 wrote:
Wow, thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions, I really appreciate it! I'll be checking out those books ASAP. I have made acquaintences with a girl who works the desk at my gym, she offered to take me to Clear Creek on my first outdoor adventure (I am totally giddy at the idea, I cannot wait to climb outdoors) whenever I want to. I'm not sure when it's a good idea. I'm somewhat of a cautious person, I like adventure but I do often prefer carefully planned out adventure. I know some people start out on rock, but what would you say would be some good things to have nailed down in the gym before I climb outdoors?


Pay attention to safety and how she sets up the anchors. If you are trusting her with your life, make sure she knows what she is doing, regardless of whether or not she is DTF. Gym staff typically aren't the most experienced outdoor climbers.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Aug 9, 2012
Bocan

Laney555 wrote:
Wow, thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions, I really appreciate it! I'll be checking out those books ASAP. I have made acquaintences with a girl who works the desk at my gym, she offered to take me to Clear Creek on my first outdoor adventure (I am totally giddy at the idea, I cannot wait to climb outdoors) whenever I want to. I'm not sure when it's a good idea. I'm somewhat of a cautious person, I like adventure but I do often prefer carefully planned out adventure. I know some people start out on rock, but what would you say would be some good things to have nailed down in the gym before I climb outdoors?


Belaying and communication.

But those are two things you can easily do outside as well. I'd rather climb outside.


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By Laney555
From Castle Rock, Co
Aug 9, 2012
me.

I guess that's where I need to do some more reading, I have no idea how to tell if someone knows what they are doing, because I don't know what I am doing. I'm overwhelmed with all there is to learn.

I'm taking a trip to Moab at the end of Sept for a skydiving boogie and hope to find someone to do some climbing with there, but really want to get outside at home several times first. Thanks for the advice!


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Aug 9, 2012
Bocan

Pick this book up. $3 used...

www.amazon.com/Climbing-From-S-Peter-Lewis/dp/0898866820/ref>>>

or
www.amazon.com/Rock-Climbing-Mastering-Mountaineers-Outdoor/>>>


Be careful, double check all your systems (knots etc).


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By Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Aug 9, 2012
Rewritten

First, a shameless plug. I'm selling the book "Rock Climbing, A Trailside Guide" by Mellor, which is an excellent reference for a new climber looking to check safety.
mountainproject.com/v/fs-climbing-books/107696849

The other two books I would recommend that have been mentioned here:
"The Self Coached Climber" - This is really good at improving technique. It has drills like "silent feet" that someone already mentioned. Also, I think many climbers start on easy stuff climbing it like a ladder and as the holds get more "awkward" they just assume that they need to get stronger. This book really works on body position (flagging, back stepping, etc) to make efficient use of holds.

"The Freedom of the Hills" This is definitely the authoritative guide to all things climbing/mountaineering, but it is probably a bit overwhelming for a new climber just looking to get outside.

As someone else already mentioned don't expect 5.9s to be the same outside as they are inside. But, with that caveat, the ratings in Clear Creek are pretty soft and some of the areas are very similar to the gym (I'm thinking places like the Canal Zone). If you can get up a 5.9 in the gym, you should be able to climb 5.9 there. One big difference between most gyms and most easy climbs outside is that gyms tend to have steeper walls with bigger holds where it is good to get your body as close to the wall as possible. Outside the easier routes tend to be lower angle, and it is actually better to not be leaning in to the wall. The key is to have your weight over your feet in both cases.

Climbing in Moab is a bit challenging for new climbers. I suppose Potash has some easier climbs, but much of the climbing in the area is harder, and it also often involves crack technique which is hard to learn in a gym.

I would say the biggest difference between outside and inside though is that you need to be more aware of your environment. Don't just pull hard on any old hold as if it were plastic. Outside, holds break, rock can come crashing down, and who knows who is going to drop something on you. Climbing isn't super dangerous, but you need to be aware of what is going on around you, and much more so outside than in the gym.


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By JonnyGreenlee
From Evergreen, CO
Aug 9, 2012
Delicate Arch, Sturdy Arch.

Read through this to get started: https://www.rockandice.com/how-to-climb/category/54-how-to-r>>>. Each subsection links to a longer article with more information.

It will help if you learn general climbing terms too. Not a hard and fast rule, but you can gauge a persons experience by how well they speak the language. If you ask someone something like what a dynamic rope is or to explain why backclipping is dangerous and they have no idea what you're talking about, you don't want them teaching you. So ask questions (and you dont need to know the right answer) decide if the answers are lacking or sound like BS.

A good sign for someone taking you out for the first time would be that they have a route picked out ahead of time for you to try and know what they plan to teach you.


Laney555 wrote:
Wow, thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions, I really appreciate it! I'll be checking out those books ASAP. I have made acquaintences with a girl who works the desk at my gym, she offered to take me to Clear Creek on my first outdoor adventure (I am totally giddy at the idea, I cannot wait to climb outdoors) whenever I want to. I'm not sure when it's a good idea. I'm somewhat of a cautious person, I like adventure but I do often prefer carefully planned out adventure. I know some people start out on rock, but what would you say would be some good things to have nailed down in the gym before I climb outdoors?


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By plantmandan
From Brighton, Co
Aug 9, 2012
J Tree after blizzard

Welcome to the climbing world!

"The Rock Warrior's Way" by Arno Ilgner is a great book that covers the mental aspect of climbing.

"How to Rock Climb" by John Long is also very good. It's a more general book that covers a broad range of topics.


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By Eric Fjellanger
Aug 9, 2012
Me on top of Chianti Spire

The things that worked for me were:

1. Having little else in my life to distract me, and

2. Finding a few partners who were in the same place as me, to give me a reason to be dedicated, and foster some competition, so we all tried harder, and we were

3. Going to the gym religiously 2-3x a week and climbing all weekend, every weekend.

There's probably a lot of good reading you can do, but honestly I have barely ever read about climbing. What you really need right now is to build some forearm strength and some muscle memory. Climb a lot! Every time, climb some routes that you can't do on the first try, that will make you learn something. Hook up with someone more experienced than you and watch how they move.

If you really want to get serious there's a book called How To Climb 5.12, which gives some good training ideas even if you only want to climb 5.10. But really, at your level, I think you just need to gain a lot of experience. Climb a lot!


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By Tighe Blackadar
Dec 17, 2012
Cannon

Watch other climbers! In the gym, at the crags, on your computer, any chance you get(When you aren't climbing yourself)! Watching other people climb has helped me progress immensely. You get to see great examples of what TO do, and what NOT TO do, and things start to really click mentally once you get back on the rock.


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By Sarugo
Dec 18, 2012

Remember to have fun!

It's easy to get sucked into difficult projects or to get caught up in climbing harder and progressing. There's a time and a place for all that, but remember to have fun.

Dont rush. If you climb too hard without developing your tendons you risk injury. Climbing can be something that you'll be doing when you're 70 years old if you take your time and intentionally climb sustainably.

Climbing is just like any other sport in the sense that it has a cluture and a lingo and all that. Sometimes people who are really good and have been in the game for a while lose perspective and can seem like jaded assholes to beginners... don't pay them any mind, do your thing.


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By JJNS
Dec 18, 2012

Umm, that was six months ago. She is now climbing 5.14 and V12. Check it out:www.dpmclimbing.com/climbing-videos/watch/mina-leslie-wujast>>>


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By Miranda.G.11
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 17, 2013
AF Hard Rock area Many Options

Bahaha. Well done.


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