On Belay? Belay On. On Rock? Rock On!

On Belay? Belay On. On Rock? Rock On!

Categories: Adventure & Experiential Education,Blog,blog,Climbing,Featured

With the opening of the NEW Climbing Wall, UREC now has a completely new way to get your full workout.  Climbing isn’t a new thing, but is recently becoming more popular amongst fitness lovers.  There’s a reason for it. Climbing offers many benefits to our bodies, both physical and mental.

Climbing is a full body workout.

Forget the crunches and heavy lifting.  When you’re climbing, you’re strengthening every muscle in your body – including your fingers.  Climb consistently for a few months and you’ll have a core stronger than any amount of sit ups could do.

It Improves Your Flexibility and Balance..

When climbing, you sometimes find yourself in unnatural stances along the wall.  Climbing on a regular basis helps your body get used to balancing on the smallest of holds.  The more you climb, the easier you’ll find it to stretch your body past it’s limits which will eventually improve your flexibility.

Your Cardio Is Taken Care Of

You won’t believe how fast your heart gets to pumping while climbing.  It may be the fast pace you’re climbing up the wall or just pure adrenaline, either way your cardio workout is covered.  Plus, it’s more fun than the treadmill.


Apart from the physical benefits, climbing offers several mental benefits as well.

 It Helps You Focus

With the thought of falling resting in the back of your mind, you’re forced to keep your mind on the route that lies before you.  Climbing is great building your ability to focus which then cross over to your studies.


Say Goodbye To Your Stress  

Any exercise that is done releases endorphins throughout the brain.  Climbing exerts a lot of energy.  You’re guaranteed to be feeling stress free after a climbing session and perhaps a little accomplished too.


Problem Solving Skills

Climbing a route is similar to figuring out a puzzle.  When climbing a route, you’re meant to follow the same colored tape set along the holds.  This forces your mind to think of all the possible ways you could go to finish the route or to put together your puzzle.


Now that you’ve learned the benefits of climbing.  Let’s read about a few tips from our Adventure Education Coordinator, James to help yourself become a better climber.

  1. Choose your battle.

There are several types of climbing. Try them all to see what floats your boat. Top-roping (or rope climbing) with a belay partner allows new climbers to cover a lot of distance on the walls.

If you’re afraid of heights, bouldering—rock climbing without ropes—is a great option since the walls are shorter. If rope climbing is long-distance running, bouldering is like sprinting.

Finally, when outdoors, you’ll do either sport climbing, where the climber follows routes that have pre-placed anchors, or traditional (trad) climbing, where the climber places their own protection along the route. (trad climbing isn’t for beginners.)


  1. Learn the ropes.

In whatever setting you climb in, you have to learn how to properly belay. In fact, climbers have to be belay-certified before belaying in almost all climbing gyms on their own, so taking a belay class is essential.


  1. Know your route.

Top-roping routes will always start with a five, followed by a decimal point, and then another number that corresponds to the difficulty level of the climb. Routes labeled 5.5 or 5.6 are beginner routes, and the higher the number after the decimal point (like 5.12), the harder the climb. Bouldering routes are rated by the V-scale, starting with V0. Same thing, the higher the number after the V the harder the climb.

Once you’ve selected a path, begin with both hands on the start holds (usually labeled with two pieces of tape), keeping your feet off the ground. Then follow the same color route up the wall. (Going off the color is usually considered cheating.) Some routes won’t have two footholds at the start, so you can just keep the other foot against the wall when you begin.


  1. Keep your arms straight.

Think about how you carry groceries—with straight arms, right? It’d be far more tiring to carry them while bending your arms, and in the same way, climbing becomes more efficient when we keep our arms straight. At the same time, try to keep your legs bent, which makes it easier to push yourself up with your lower body.


  1. Be ready before going outdoors.

 Rock climbing inside is a completely different sport than climbing outside. Grades are going to feel a lot harder outside than inside. Plus, you probably won’t have access to trained instructors and the outdoors is a less-controlled environment—you’re at the mercy of weather conditions and natural holds. But when the time comes, as long as you take the proper safety precautions and communicate well with your partner, heading out can be way more fun than climbing indoors.


Now you’re set to conquer the wall!

Climb on,

Heather Willis