Rock climbing is both a fantastic pastime and physical activity. Recently, indoor rock climbing has grown in popularity. That is because it enables people who cannot climb outdoors due to bad weather, limited access, or other reasons to participate in the sport. But which type of climbing grade should you pursue?
There are pros and cons for indoor and outdoor rock climbing to help lead you in the right direction. Choosing between the two can be as easy as comparing their difficulty. If you are a beginner, you may want to choose indoor rock climbing. If you are an experienced climber, outdoor rock climbing should be your option.
What Is The Difference Between Indoor And Outdoor Climbing?
To climb outdoors, you need to buy expensive climbing equipment. Additionally, you will have to purchase the rock climbing wall and some other items as well.
When you are indoors, you have time constraints. Therefore, you can only go during the day and not in weather that is too cold or too hot. You also cannot ask others for help if you do not want them to see your scary scars.
Climbing outdoors is much more adventurous than indoors. When the sun is shining, you can still go climbing outside. However, if the weather is terrible, you would want to be safe and stay home. If something goes wrong, like falling into a rock crevice during indoor rock climbing, it can have more dangerous repercussions than outdoor rock climbing.
Many people think that indoor climbing is less meaningful than climbing outdoors. That is because the scores are a bit different. You will only receive half of your top score if you climb indoors. It can be discouraging for many climbers.
If your goal is to challenge yourself, you can visit different climbing walls and try each type of rock climbing to decide which one better suits your preferences. You should also consider your current skills when choosing between indoor and outdoor rock climbing to ensure a more fulfilling experience for yourself.
Indoor Or Outdoor? – Guidelines for Deciding What’s Better For You
The truth is You can do that rock climbing indoors or outdoors as long as you have the right equipment. Here are some recommended guidelines for deciding whether to go indoor or outdoor rock climbing.
Indoor Rock Climbing: An excellent place to start with indoor rock climbing would be a local gym for beginners. In addition to starting with exercises, you will also receive training on using the different types of equipment for indoor rock climbing. Consider the cost of your rock climbing gear. Sometimes, it can even double or triple the cost of actually starting up a rock climbing activity.
Outdoor Rock Climbing: Outdoor rock climbing is perfect for individuals ready to take on the challenge. But it would be best to keep several things in mind before making that jump into outdoor rock climbing. It is important to prepare everything well in advance: recent gear reviews, essential supplies, and crew. It is also good to take lessons from experienced outdoor climbers who can teach you more about safety and adventure.
Indoor Rock Climbing: To climb a wall, you will need to have your gear. If you are new to the idea of climbing walls, then the best place for you is an indoor rock climbing gym with all the necessary gear that comes at a reasonable cost. Furthermore, you will not need to be concerned with the weather or getting wet since everything will be inside. You also have the advantage of exhausting a lot of your energy during each training session.
Outdoor Rock Climbing: Outdoor rock climbing is more intricate and requires additional experience and knowledge. Because this sport is not for the fainthearted, you should start by learning about it at all your local rock climbing walls. You will need to get accustomed to the type of equipment and the climbing holds you use, how deep they go, and so on before venturing out into the wild.
Indoor Rock Climbing:
- Always start by getting the feel of the climbing holds and equipment.
- Start at the bottom and test your grip on different surfaces and angles.
- Please ensure you know how to use the holds, how long they are, how wide they are, where their angle is, what you can grab onto, what you cannot grab onto, and so on. Once you have familiarised yourself with all of these factors, it is time to move higher up.
Outdoor Rock Climbing: Each new rock face presents a new challenge to be overcome using your acquired climbing skills. The rock itself is an obstacle that is always a challenge. It may need to be climbed around, forced through or over, or even skipped altogether. Please pay attention to the rock and its face. Always be aware of your energy levels, your state of mind, and all available resources at that moment. Know when you are not ready to climb a specific section or when there is not enough energy left in you to finish a pitch or a section.
Indoor Rock Climbing: You will be using climbing gear such as quickdraws for clipping the rope to small protected ledges along the indoor route during indoor rock climbing. The standard climbing rack, which comprises some different bolts or chains, is installed at the beginning of the route. There may be an anchor point at the top in more tough climbs that you pull your rope through, often called a belay. The company that makes your harness and quickdraws will provide you with these for use in their indoor rock climbing gym.
Outdoor Rock Climbing: You will be using climbing equipment such as quickdraws for clipping the rope to a bolt or chain in the rock. An anchor will be placed on the top of the cliff, and you will clip a climbing rope through this anchor point. Protectors are a vital element in making a climb safer. These may also help make it more challenging, depending on the bolts or chains used in your favorite climbing area.
What Grade Does The Average Climber Climb?
It depends on the boulders that you climb and the outdoor routes that you attempt to climb. However, most bouldering areas generally have a 6 to 8-foot rating scale for their climbing holds. Each grade from 1 to 5 is higher than the last and is considered equivalent to one another.
When indoors, it is helpful to use a boulder grade of 3 or 4. In indoor bouldering, it allows climbers to get higher in the gym without other climbers.
Indoor Rock Climbing
Climbers can find sport routes in rock climbing gyms and resorts. Many areas have optional routes that are slightly harder, where indoor climbing grades of 5 to 7 are used. Some indoor climbing parks even go higher and use a 6- to 8-inch rock grade. Most areas use the American Gym Association (AGA) scale, which ranges from 4 to 8.
Most indoor climbing gyms charge an entrance fee and have indoor walls of different lengths. Some indoor rock climbing gyms have a bouldering wall that is usually shorter in length and width.
On average, the cost of going to an indoor rock climbing gym is about $25 to $50 per week for each person. Climbers with less experience and knowledge can take advantage of a rock climbing group discount, while those with more experience can attend a private climbing class.
Many recreational climbers also choose to join an organization such as the American Climbing Association or the Canadian Climbing Association. These groups hold many events such as climbing competitions, dances, and social gatherings. They are usually active in local communities as well.
Outdoor Rock Climbing
For outdoor climbing, the rating begins with a 5.9, which is a moderately challenging climb for most people. A 5.10 is more complex and has several bouldering routes that require an intermediate ability level. Anything above a 5.11 is very challenging and steep, requiring advanced rock climbing techniques and tactics to overcome obstacles rather than sheer strength and endurance.
There are two forms of climbing in rock climbing in which you can take part: crack climbing and face climbing. Face climbing is when you climb without using your hands or arms. Face climbing can be done using a combination of body tension and rock gear such as cams and nuts. The other way to do face climbing would be by crimping, which involves holding a tiny hold with the tips of your fingers in a way that puts pressure on the finger joint. Crack climbing is when you use a good size crack as a foothold to hold onto as you climb up a rock face. Crack climbing is usually done with your hands and feet.
Outdoor rock climbing is challenging and thrilling, but it takes a great deal of preparation before you ever set foot into the outdoors. The first time you go climbing, it is crucial that you first go through a period of preparation. Below are the different steps that will help you become an expert climber:
Observe other climbers
Many outdoor climbers use the equipment for protection. Some locations require its use, especially if the ascent is difficult or dangerous. They use protection while climbing as a protective measure to decrease your chances of death or serious injury during outdoor rock climbing.
Despite this, you should not always rely on the equipment to help you climb safely. Always rely on your judgment and experience to make a safe ascent.
Climb at your limit
Climbers should climb within their limits when climbing outdoors, as this is the safest form. When climbing above your limits, there is the risk of hurting yourself. Slowly and consistently climbing at your limit will improve your stamina and endurance.
Start with warm-ups
Warm-up exercises are necessary for outdoor rock climbing because they help to avoid injuries. It is also advisable to do them before starting a problematic difficulty level so that you can slowly climb it without straining yourself. Some warm-up exercises to consider include:
- Warm-up with bodyweight exercises.
- Run up and down the rock face, jumping, lunging, and skipping like you are doing a workout.
Protect yourself while climbing
During outdoor rock climbing, you should always use protection to protect yourself so that you don’t have to rely solely on your strength for your safety. Common forms of protection include:
- Put in protection like cams, chocks, or stoppers.
- Place protection between you and the rock face to avoid injury.
- Clip your rope through an anchor point with a carabiner so that you can lower yourself down the rock face if necessary.
- Never climb above a rating of 5.9, as this is considered an intermediate level and will be more difficult for you to handle safely.
- Always be aware of weather conditions and possible dangers, such as lightning.
Learn the basics of outdoor rock climbing
There are three essential tips to get you off the ground:
- Maintain body tension.
- Unhook from the rock face, then balance on your feet.
- Jump into a stance so that you maintain your balance when you land.
If you experience trouble with these three tips, then you should consider taking a class before planning to attempt an outdoor rock climb.
Learn the basics of indoor rock climbing
Indoor rock climbing is different from outdoor rock climbing in that it does not involve dealing with the elements. It means that a climber can do indoor rock climbing in any season, any month, or any time of day. It is different in that safety measures are not always as necessary as they are outdoors because you don’t have to worry about falling several hundred feet to your death. You will need to know:
- How to climb a full rope length
- How to tie a figure-eight, follow-through knot, and double fisherman’s knot
- How to use gear such as cams, chocks, and nuts
- How to protect yourself with anchors
Styles of Rock Climbing
There are several styles of rock climbing that you can try out. Different locations offer different types of rock climbing, so you should consult the guide or the local gym staff for which type of rock climbing is available at that place. Most areas have more than one style available. Consult with your trainer or gym staff for which style will be best. Below are the different styles of rock climbing that you can try:
Free climbing is when you climb a route without using any protection or using your hands and feet to climb the rock face. It involves finding protection while you climb and stopping its removal so that you don’t have to continue past the difficulty level. This style of rock climbing is usually done in areas with no equipment, such as a restaurant, warehouse, or nightclub.
Bouldering is the general term used for climbing less than 5 meters (16 feet) high. You can perform this style of rock climbing anywhere, especially in gyms and outdoors. Bouldering usually entails using fixed pieces like bolts and pitons with “pockets” or cracks to allow you to climb without using your hands and feet.
Top rope climbing
Top rope climbing is when you climb sideways while using a rope secured at the top of a route to protect you from falling. A partner will secure the rope on the top of the wall, then hold it tightly as you climb. There is no protection except for what your partner can provide while you climb up to the top and repel down with no safety net below.
Lead climbing is the typical style of rock climbing outdoors and involves clipping protection as you climb up the rock face. No protection is secured on the top of the route. You clip pieces of protection onto your rope as you climb up, which allows you to repel down if you fall off or free yourself in case of an accident or emergency.
Ice climbing is different from rock climbing because the climber uses ice axes and crampons (mounted steel spikes) to climb on ice. Ice climbing also uses ropes and protection such as carabiners. A loose-fitting coat or a unique jacket is used as an additional layer of protection. Ice climbers use specific techniques unique to ice climbing; for example, they have special techniques for freeing themselves if they fall and need self-arrest (use their arms and legs to land softly on the surface).
Aid climbing is the style of rock climbing that uses ropes and protection and involves using aids such as hooks, cams, pitons (metal spikes), and nuts (metal wedges) to climb up a rock face. This style of rock climbing is usually done below the height where One can do free climbing. The style is called aid because you must use these aids to proceed up the route.
Alpine climbing is done in the mountains with snow and ice. The climber uses ice axes, crampons, and ropes to climb the snow and ice route. Alpine climbing is challenging and dangerous.
Outdoor bouldering uses a steady surface to boulders on, such as a parking lot or sidewalk. The climber risks injury if he or she goes too high for the bouldering area. Outdoor bouldering is usually done in an urban area because most backyards have trees, building walls, and other obstacles that could prevent the climber from reaching the top of the climbing wall.
People can do rock climbing in many different environments. Outdoor rock climbing requires survival skills and equipment, but indoor rock climbing requires no gear and thus is a more accessible option for beginner rock climbers. Indoor rock climbing is usually practiced by professional athletes and is prohibited in many places outdoors. People can do bouldering indoors and outdoors; however, boulderers often use outdoor bouldering areas because it is safer and less crowded, allowing them more time to focus on the movement of their body to create the best move. Your choice of where to rock climb ultimately rests with you. Just make sure that you are aware of your location’s rules and regulations about rock climbing, have the proper gear, and research the area to ensure that it is safe for everyone.