Gym to Crag

Tomorrow’s post will be all about food, so I thought I’d take today to talk about moving from the gym to climbing outdoors.

Inside we have nice bright colored holds marked with colorful tape. Outside, holds on the crag are the same color as smooth rock. So what are the best ways to get use to climbing outside?

The largest adjustment is that no hold will ever feel comfortable. No hold is bolted into the wall and properly positioned for you to hold. So take your time, feel around for the best positioning. Don’t move up until you feel comfortable and happy with your new position. Once you do move up, you might feel a bit weary, it’s okay to move back down the crag to a more comfortable position while you think.

Rain damage can smooth rocks or roughen them by creating little divots. When smoothed rock is impending, try to place your hands on a small lip. If you can do this, you can balance your weight on your index, middle, and ring finger like you would a sloper. Water damage divots, while the can be painful, can also leave you with slightly more friction in your fingers. Extra friction means you will feel more comfortable in your hold. try to place your fingers (and thumb depending on the shape of the rock) in the divots. This works for small fingers better than large (sorry!).

My last tip for moving outdoors is to think about what type of hold a piece of rock you are trying to grab is. I usually look for jugs outside, but those aren’t the types of holds that I use in the gym. I find it easier to branch out and try new holds if I think about a position on a rock as a sloper, pinch, crimp, or pocket. There are the occasional jugs or ledges where the hold is clear. However, as you increase in difficulty level, you must find slopers, pinches, crimps, and pockets to move forward. Thinking about the type of hold will help you realize that formations in the rocks can be usable.

Take your time as you adjust to crags. I hope these tips will be helpful in finding holds and moving from the gym to the great outdoors.

Where’s your favorite place to climb outdoors?

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