There's a reason there is a hashtag on social media called ‘climb like a girl’. It’s because women tend to climb very differently to men, using technique to combat an often-shorter reach, and less upper body strength.
But that’s not the only thing that’s different for women. We have to contend with boobs for starters, and periods. A lot of us are still not overly keen to turn into a fully sweaty mess, body odour can be embarrassing and that’s before we try and combat what on earth to wear.
If any of the above worries you, then please give this a read as we do our best to combat any fears you might have, and encourage you to come along and try climbing for the first time:
This is a big one for plenty of women. There’s often no worse dread than feeling you are wearing the wrong thing, and that everyone is staring at you. The good news is that when we say anything goes at climbing, we really, really mean it. At the moment leggings are still in fashion so a lot of girls wear those. Some stick with black, others go colourful. They are super easy to move in, and incredibly comfy – especially if you get high-waisted ones!
Baggy jeans or super stretchy jeans can also work, as can jogging bottoms. Walking trousers or shorts would also be a safe option. Anything you can comfortably stretch in basically. As for your top half, pick from pretty much anything you don’t mind getting a bit sweaty and chalky. Some women climb in just a sports bra, some go for the baggiest jumper imaginable. All and everything in between features.
On the subject of sports bras... Yes, ideally wear one as they do make things a lot more comfortable. But if you don’t have one, it’s not the end of the world for your first visit as it’s not quite as – shall we say bouncy - as running.
Shoes you’ll rent from reception. Climbing is done in funny shoes that have special sticky rubber. A bit like bowling shoes, they look a bit odd, but you soon forget about them and it is one less thing to think about.
Jewellery you’ll be asked to remove if you can. Rings are a big no no, but anything pierced you can keep in, but this will be at your own discretion.
Hair and make up
Okay, here is the thing. Some women really don’t care about how they look when exercising, and some do. The former can hop on to the next section down, but this is for the latter. You might get sweaty if you really go for it, so just bear that in mind when choosing how much make up to wear. As for hair styles, if you can tie your hair into a pony tail or a plait, then it is one less thing to think about. But plenty of women climb with loose hair. The only thing we advise is not to fill your hair with those plastic butterfly clips as if you do land on them, it could be a bit painful.
You can come and climb no matter how unfit you think you are. Yes, really. We have some small, easier walls to get you going, and our easier routes anyone can make progress on. If you think you can climb a step ladder at home to do some painting, you can climb here.
You might not last long on your first session, but you will be able to climb and although the idea is to stick to one colour, no one bats an eyelid if you use plenty of coloured holds to get to the top when you are new. The feeling of accomplishment is unbeatable, it really is.
We’ve touched on this before, but yes, you might get sweaty. How much depends on how much effort you put in, and your general fitness levels. Oh, and how hot is it, there’s a slim chance you’ll sweat a lot more on a 30-degree July day...
Everyone gets sweaty. The regular climbers smell, they have sweat patches and no one cares. We do have a shower here too in case you want to freshen up.
What you do on your period is a totally personal choice. But if you aren’t beset by cramps and feel up for it, then come for a climb. It might be a good distraction for one thing. Some women even report feeling stronger whilst they are on their period, some feel more flexible – some want to curl into a ball and cry. You do you, but if you feel up for it, come along. We have toilets and a shower as mentioned before, we’ve always got free period products in the loos too in case you are ever caught short.
We know it’s hard to walk in somewhere new. The staff here get intimidated when going to new places, and trying new things. We can assure you that you will get a friendly welcome, and that you can ask our staff any questions, any time. There’s plenty of climbing space so if you want to avoid the guys who look like they know what they are doing and are trying super hard and falling lots, you can.
All we can say is, what will you regret more? Coming along and trying, even if you feel a bit awkward? Or never trying at all? You only get one life and living it is the hardest, but more rewarding thing you’ll ever do.
Here’s the best part about climbing. The climbers. They are the oddest bunch you will ever meet. They come from all walks of life, they wear all sorts, and they are at completely different levels. There are regular climbers who never progress beyond the easiest routes as that’s more than enough for them. There are kids crushing hard routes, adults somewhere in between. Everyone is mixing on the mats in a complete hotpot of styles, ages and abilities.
All they genuinely care about is whether you are a nice person. If you are, they will be encouraging, friendly and happy to show you what’s what. The regulars will basically give you free lessons if you want, or leave you to it if you don’t.
Ready to come climb?
If you’ve made it this far, well done. Hopefully we’ve alleviated some of the most common fears you might have about how to get started. If you have any questions, reach out and drop us a message on social media, or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org