By - Remyrue
Hold on as to not fall
Lmao roger that
A friend of mine always says: "just crimp harder"
Climbing outdoor is a lot of fun but a few basic things that people have told me before I first went was first, obviously, leave no trace, pack all ur trash, a plastic bag for just trash is probably a good idea. Secondly, make sure to bring sufficient water! Depending on where u are, it can get pretty hot and it could get dangerous if you are dehydrated.
Start with V0-V2s! Make sure to use a guidebook and after trying a climb a few times theres no shame in looking for beta online. My first few sessions outdoors I Actually found it really useful to look for beta online after trying a climb a few times. It helped me see footholds I didn’t even consider. Enjoy!
Thanks! Yeah we have a guidebook with a ton of detail which is super helpful. I'll def search for that beta when something stumps me, thanks for the advice!
Abandon your expectations of difficulty and grades. It takes a lot of time to transition to Climbing outdoors, and I found it anxiety inducing and stressful. The big mistake I made was trying to measure my general climbing progression on outdoor rock but I would rarely be able to get out. Really agree with the above comments about aiming for volume rather than a single big tick.
Make sure you take a small towel to clean your shoes before pulling onto the problem. This will provide better grip and not erode the footholds.
To get the most bang for your buck try to seek out highly rated v0-v2 climbs, not just any old v0-v2 climb.
Every serious outdoor boulderer should get a blubber pad to cover pad seams if they can afford it. Something to think about for the future.
For your first time outside don’t try to climb at your limit, climb as much as you can on easy medium stuff. Quantity over difficulty so you get more familiar with the holds/rock. Enjoy !
I think this is the best advice, getting on more stuff and just climbing a lot will help adjust towards what to look for and feel outdoors than projecting anything harder
This is so important, get the mileage in learning about climbing on real rock, especially if it's something that generally isn't very well represented by the gym (like a lot of peak district grit). You also have a better first day out if you manage to complete lots of different climbs rather than struggling on one.
I guess the first outings should be success-driven, that is, no injuries, no weird falls and a lot of tops. Ease yourself into the outdoor scene and create a positive experience.
One of the things people often talk about is how small outdoor footholds are. What I found more surprising was just how little friction a lot of outdoor footholds can be! Took a lot more care to make sure my feet stuck, even on large holds! My area is known to be pretty polished though - this might be different depending on where you're going.
Yeah the foothold friction is definitely a rock dependent thing. My area has a lot of gritty gneiss and I always find myself surprised at how well my feet stick rather than how much they slip
What I find a bit challenging ist not to quickfire on boulders. If you plan to climb the whole day or even multiple days in a row, then you should take plenty of time after a failed attempt until you get on the wall again. Also tape your fingers as soon as you feel your skin getting sore, most stones are much tougher to the skin than plastic holds, when you have no skin left then the trip is over so better tape to early then to late.
Find out what the local rules and etiquette are. My first time outside was on sandstone, which is very brittle. When sandstone is wet you can easily damage it, so everyone waits until it's dry.
I’ve never climbed somewhere where it’s not considered disrespectful to use leave tick marks.* That doesn’t mean you can’t use them; just clean them when you’re done (your chalk brush is helpful for this).
Just have fun
it might seem pretty obvious but scope out the downclimb first. Also, clean the top out too if you can. you don't want to be too stoked near the lip and then flail around near the top out not knowing what to grab on to.
Remember to bring a hammock and an obnoxious dog. Blast music as loud as your crappy Bluetooth speaker allows.
Hahahaha 🤣 But seriously...this behavior is so f**** annoying! Why do people think everyone likes their favorite music and why is it ok to behave like that in a natural environment?? Blow's my mind 🤬
I think be outside climbers put the pads really close to the wall on vertical climbs, move them back a little further or think of spots where you might fall. Keep the head off the ground when spotting or try to direct them back to the pads.
Probably the most useful advice I’ve heard for outdoor bouldering: where your mind wants a foot to be, use that foot. Although the feet outdoors can be small, smeary, or invisible, the magic is that you can make almost anything work. It’s like “open feet” problems indoors. Don’t get stuck trying to use feet that other people are using if they don’t feel like they’re going to work for you.
Yeah, my biggest surprise was how magic rock is comparatively for infinite foot options!
Quick list of some dos and donts for outdoors that indoor peeps might not know:
Outdoor is great. You'll probably learn more technique quickly because rocks hurt much more than plastic. Generally a 5/6 indoors is a 3/4 outdoors (using my local gyms and local crags as reference) but the more you climb outdoors the more you'll probably care less about the grades. Start small, be safe n have fun, outdoors is much more rewarding than gym climbing :) once you get bored of bouldering try sport climbing / top roping :)
Be prepared to get your asses kicked grade-wise.
Rock is hard and rough but you get used to it. Going down is harder than going up, plan.
Really nice to see how nice this thread is! So much good advice and positive energy. Good luck on your trip, stay safe and have fun!
I’ll second the pad placement comments. Too often I see new outdoor climbers spend a few seconds on pad placement. It’s just asking for an injury. A few tips:
Bouldering outside has a much slower and chill pace than indoor bouldering
Start at V0 and gradually work up. Don’t rush the jumps. Starting “easy” builds a good base of technical skill and strength that you’ll need on harder stuff, especially top outs or sections between cruxes. It’s also the only way to get enough volume in to progress, as by definition you can’t work limit climbs as often.
Chase stars, not grades.
On the topic of safety, I think the biggest difference from indoor climbing is consider your landing zone. Outside it can often be sloping, over a bush or a particularly nasty rock, etc. For your first time outside i'd certainly stay away from those problems and choose more easily protectable climbs.
Edit: I think this is a really nice video that summarizes a lot of key points:
Mind the weather. Sometimes the wind kicks up/sun goes down and it gets cold in a hurry, or you are climbing in full sun and roasting. Bring some layers and sunscreen, lots of water, etc.
This is a bit area dependent i guess. Speaking from a uk perspective I've spent hours trapsing round churnet trying to find a lump of rock whereas burbage south valley is dead easy to find the different boulders. Font is even easier from experience.
Take time to think about pad placement. Read each problem and think about possible moves you might fall and how you would possibly fall. Inspect the ground and try to cover or be mindful of anything like rocks or roots you don't want to land on. It doesn't hurt to practice spotting in the gym even if you get weird looks. I imagine there's great tips here and on youtube of great spotting technique.
Make sure there are no gaps between the pads, and also they are not wobbling. I've strained my ankle a few times by landing right on the gap or on a wobbly pad. You can use something like Organic blubber pad to fill in the gap or stuff it underneath to make the wobbling stop.
Download the mountainproject app and the area where you are going ahead of time (before you're out of cellphone reception). Guidebooks are nice but sometimes outdated. I find MP to be a good complement to traditional guidebooks. Comments from other climbers can also help with beta, risks, etc.
Embrace the humble pie
Spot your top outs and down climbs before you go to try the problem. Spot each other diligently. Check your pad placement and make sure they're married up, no rocks between seams. Bring a first aid kit. Have your maps of the area downloaded. Other than that try to climb as much V0-V2 as you can, figure out the style of the place, build experience, have a blast.
Trust the rope