Never too late or too cold to learn to climb.

Do you like to hike, but love to scramble? We think you will love to climb rocks! Just because it is cold outside it doesn’t mean you can’t start climbing. It is actually a perfect time to go to the gym and learn.

We met with Kimbi Farrelly (ACMG CGI2) and Bexx Ferri (ACMG CGI 2 and TRCI) from The Town of Canmore’s Elevation Place to get some tips on getting started and what their essentials are.

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What motivates you to climb inside?
KIMBI: 
It is a full body workout, that doesn’t feel like a workout!  While climbing you are working on your strength, endurance, and flexibility all at the same time.  But what I think is even more important is that it is a mental workout…. Climbing forces the mind and body to work as one.

BEXX: 
When it comes to climbing inside, what motivates me the most is the positive energy boost (both mental and physical) I experience during and after the session. Being surrounded by like-minded people and laughing with friends, is just icing on the cake. I feel elated and energized after a great session of climbing in the gym. I enjoy all aspects of climbing, both physically and mentally. Also, joining forces with a great climbing partner is key. Being able to have fun, laugh and share the ups and the downs of the climbing session with someone special is important. It is about building those bonds, the trust and the friendship.

What are your essentials for climbing indoors?
BEXX:

When I climb indoors, I have a couple ‘must haves’. My Petzl GriGri+, my belay glasses and gloves, and a theraband for stretching during warm-up.

KIMBI:
What is great about climbing gyms is that you can rent gear your first few times climbing to see if you even like the sport.  I think comfortable shoes are the most important.  If you are wearing shoes that hurt, all you are going to think about is how much your feet hurt and not what you are doing on the wall.  A comfy harness is important as well.  Make sure when you are buying your new gear that you try it on.  Most sports stores that sell climbing gear will have an artificial wall available to test shoes and a rope hanging from something so that you can sit in your harness. I can’t stress this enough…. Try your gear out before you invest your money into it.

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What are your top three suggestions for beginners?
KIMBI:
1. HAVE FUN!
2. Climb with a friend, its a very social sport!  If you’re new in town, climbing gyms are a great way to make friends!
3. Don’t compare yourself to other climbers.  Climbing gyms draw in all types of climbers. From first timers to pro-competitive climbers to famous outdoor climbers as well as families wanting to have fun with their kids. So don’t compare! Being new to a sport can be intimidating, embrace the sport, make new friends and find out through that new friendship why that person is crushing the 13’s!  I’m sure it will help with your motivation.

BEXX:
1. Find yourself a trustworthy belayer (Adding in trust right from the start will make your experience way more enjoyable). If you and your partner are both new, take a belaying course. You’ll learn everything you need to know! Oh, and never be too proud to take advice!
2. Remember to use your feet, try not to focus on whats right in front of you! It may sound really obvious, but using your whole body while climbing will make the experience way more enjoyable!
3. HAVE FUN! Smile, and try not to use negative-self talk. Climbing seems daunting at first, but it gets easier as the time passes and you start to feel comfortable on the wall.

Images by Rascal Photo and Design

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