Monday, April 26, 2010

All I Really Need To Know I Learned While Rock Climbing

  • A figure eight knot is a powerful knot but it never hurts to have a fisherman’s knot as a back-up.

  • A strong core is advantageous.

  • Ask if the person is finished with a route before you start grabbing ropes.

  • Balance -- that’s what it’s all about…

  • Be attentive.

  • Be careful where you’re stepping and watch out for overhead traffic.

  • Be gung ho or don’t come at all. (Provided by Patti)

  • Be helpful to the newbies or someone struggling to ascend a route.

  • Be responsible.

  • Cheer for people – encourage them.

  • Communication is important.

  • Don’t be afraid to really stretch out and reach for the hold that you want; you might bend but you won’t break.

  • Don’t step on anyone’s chalk bucket.

  • Feel the fear and climb anyway.

  • Feel the fear and jump for a hold beyond your reach.

  • Flexibility is useful.

  • If one technique does not work, reposition your feet, shift your weight and try a different approach.

  • If someone is climbing alone, ask the person if they would like for you to catch them.

  • If you see someone struggling to secure the auto-belay, help.

  • It might not be today and it might not be tomorrow, but you will eventually make it over the arête.

  • It’s not if you get to the top, it’s when you get to the top.

  • Muscle memory is a beautiful thing.

  • Never give up on making it to the top, especially when people are taking a tour of the gym and standing right beneath you.

  • Relax.

  • Share your knowledge.

  • She who giggles first slips off the foothold last.

  • Some days you'll be in the climbing zone and some days you will not.

  • Take a break, breathe and reassess the situation then keep heading toward the top.

  • Wait your turn.

  • Watch out for the children.

  • Yoga helps.

  • You can never have enough belay partners.

  • You might fall but your belayer will catch you.

  • Your framework is strong.

  • Fellow rock climbers, do you have anything to add? What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from fitness activities and endurance events?


    1. I've never done rock climbing, but I love this post. You are obviously a kind, sensitive, and person who thinks of other people. I admire all those qualities in you!

    2. I love this post.

      My absolute favorite isn't about rock climbing, but running. The principle applies:

      DLF > DNF > DNS

      (Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish is greater than Did Not Start)

    3. @Diane,

      You made me *blush* and smile... Thank you. :)


      I've never seen that equation before but I like it. Thanks. :)

      And, by the way, when I participated in that sprint triathlon last year, I was the last person to cross the line. The volunteers were super cool about it all...

    4. I admit, I would turn down a rock climbing opportunity. I just don't think I have the upper body strength! ...Unless there's some type of pullie system ;) Do you weight train on the side or find that you need quite a bit of strength to be successful and enjoy rock climbing?

    5. Ah Drea, I have little rock climbing experience, therefore my only words would be, " Don't look down, just concentrate on the problem that is right in front of you!!"

      My first rock climbing experience was in college. Over the summer my first year I took an intensive team building class. On one occassion we went on a 4 day trip to the desert and we were given very little instruction and few provisions. (Literally, we were given a live chicken, a bag of rice, a couple of fresh veggies and told to figure out how to make our dinner).

      One of the team building tasks was scrambling up one side of a steep mountain, then rapelling down the 500 foot face. This was my intro to rock climging and I've never been so scared in my life. Years later a student died on one of these trips and the course was canceled. I think the Professors were fired. Didn't surprise me. Walking backwards over that cliff to rappel down the face, leaning back and trusting the rope, the harness, the person holding me.... That's why my only rock climbing lesson is, Don't look Down, Just concentrate on the problem right in front of you.

    6. I'm glad that you love this so much. Just like my Yoga, it is more than just a physical activity. It teaches you so much about yourself.

    7. @Nicole, RD,

      Actually, you're supposed to use your legs more when you climb and, believe it or not, you barely grasp some holds. You can't believe how much of climbing is about balance and the opposition of pushing and pulling. When I get stuck, I look for somewhere to place my feet.

      Of course, once you start climbing more difficult routes, yeah, arm strength is an advantage.

      I do strength training in one of my cardio classes and I like the upper body workout on a 10 Minute Solution DVD but the largest weight that I've picked up is an eight pounder.

      I also try to do occasional push-ups but I can only do about five consecutive ones. I will say that my upper body is definitely stronger than when I started this journey.

      In the end, I really don't think, in order to enjoy rock climbing, you need brute strength. Honestly, the best climbers ascend slowly and look like they're doing yoga on the wall...


      "Don't look down," is good advice for people who have some fear of heights.

      :o, About your intensive team building experience, I'm sad to hear that someone lost their life during an outing. Furthermore, it sounds difficult to just be given a few things and be told to make the best of the situation.

      Were they trying to give you all an introduction into *real* adult life?

      One of things that I like about the rock climbing gym that I go to is that the staff is very professional...

      @Fattie Fatterton,

      I do feel fortunate that I have several activities that I really look forward to and enjoy. It definitely makes it easier to hit the gym and, as always, you make feel like I should be doing more yoga. ;)