Taking up a new sport or hobby can be the best thing you ever do, it can lead you to places you never expected and be the challenge of a lifetime.
But it can also be daunting, intimidating and downright unpleasant. Hands up who has walked into a gym and felt they were being stared at? Or had to overcome a rude or unhelpful receptionist? And worried constantly about wearing the right thing?
We can’t completely alleviate every doubt but we can certainly give you a flavour of what your first bouldering session will look and feel like and hopefully turn something daunting into something you want to do again and again… and again.
First things first, just turn up! No need to book. Come with a mate if you can as things are generally more fun with friends but if you can’t find anyone who fancies it, come along alone. It’s an incredibly friendly, sociable sport and you will end up chatting to people whether you like it or not!
Wear what you like. Mini skirts are not the best idea for obvious reasons but other than that, as long as you can stretch, then anything goes. Joggers, leggings, jeans, shorts, pyjamas, we see it all. And don’t blink an eyelid. If you are happy, so are we. End of.
So onto your session proper. To start with, climbs are colour coded so it is easy to find the easier routes. There is a thing called climbers etiquette but what it comes down to is basic manners. If someone is eyeing up a climb and your route is nearby or overlaps, ask if they mind you jumping on. Or ask what they are climbing. See how easy it is to strike up a conversation? Just make sure your climb isn’t in the way of anyone else’s and you are up and running.
Make sure you rest between climbs! Go too hard, too fast and your hands and arms will be knackered in no time. Do a couple of routes and then sit by somewhere safe and watch other people. It is a great way to learn some technique, by watching and copying.
Or go grab a coffee. That’s one of the best bits about climbing – it comes with natural in-built breaks, which can be filled with caffeine, laughter and chat.
Your hands will start to hurt – unfortunately, until you’ve built up some calluses, that’s just life. Chalk won’t help, that’s for sorting out sweaty palms. Your arms and shoulders will probably ache at the end of your session too. If you aren’t ready to go home, ask anyone, staff or not, if they can point out some balance problems for you to try. It is a great way to pick up some skills without needing much strength.
Session done, hire shoes handed back in, give it a couple of days for your body to recover before coming back. The more you come, the more you become a ‘regular’ and the more people will talk to you. Before you know it, you’ll have your own group of climbing friends and the gym will become a second home.
And what’s even better about climbing is it is a truly global sport. Go to any country and you’ll find some climbing to do outside. Or a local gym. Climbing goes from hobby, to fitness regime, to your social life, to your holiday of choice very quickly.
So that’s what to expect from your first climbing session – hopefully, the first of many! If we have got you intrigued why not Pre-Register by clicking here.