Are you climbing with someone who’s not as accomplished at it as you are, or a complete beginner? There are several things you can do to make it a much better experience for them.
There’s a powerful temptation to be a backseat climber and give them running instructions on every move.
Encouragement is one thing, but this kind of unnecessary bossing can be really aggravating and distracting. They’ve got eyes and can see the holds. And learning to climb is more of a physical, kinesthetic experience than a cognitive one where you learn by consciously following directions.
New climbers have got to acquire a sense of feel about needing to get that foot up to get stable, or moving onto straight arms. And they’ve already got so much going on that your instructions just confuse things more. To help you initiative newbies in a kinder, gentler way, here is a handy chart:
Another newbie mistake is to succumb to the pressure to get too wrapped up in the grades. There’s nothing wrong with doing 5.6s. Recall that you started there too. And even a highly accomplished 5.12 climber can learn something from them. One person’s struggle with a 5.8 crux can be just as hard, subjectively, and just as rewarding when they get it, as the hot shot’s battle with a 5.12d crux.
If you’re climbing with beginners, and you want them to love the activity and find it rewarding like you do, then you can do a lot with your attitude, your comments, and your approach to make it clear that ultimately the grades aren’t what’s most important about climbing. Most people rapidly move through the grades in their first 6 months or year and then the progress slows when they get to 5.10s. That’s normal, and beginners shouldn’t have false expectations about moving right on into 11s, 12s, and 13s that way.
The phenomenal climbers in the magazines are the exceptions. Most of us take a year or two to become solid in 10s, and then take 10 years or more to get into 12s.Examples of helpful encouragement:Yes! You can get it! Good job! Nice work!
Labels: climbing, tips