I heard this Jim Rohn quote and quickly did a mental check of the five people I spend the most time with… While none of the five are perfect (no judgement, I’m not perfect either!), they all have plenty of qualities that I admire and would love to even be “average” at. But you’re probably wondering, “What does this have to do with rock climbing?”
In this post, I want to encourage you to climb with many different kinds of people and really watch them climb. Bonus points if you ask questions!
You can learn a lot from climbing with, or just watching, different climbers. Figuring out beta (information on how to climb a specific route or problem) and learning new technique are just a few benefits. Climbing with different people who attempt routes and problems that you would not typically approach will also help you improve in different styles of climbing (power moves vs. technical moves, crimps vs. slopers) and make you stronger. You will become a more well-rounded climber by stepping outside of your comfort zone in this way. Pro tip: Don’t offer unsolicited climbing advice, i.e. “Spraying Beta”. Many times people enjoy (and practice!) working out beta on their own. Being able to spot beta is a skill in climbing that can be honed through practice.
Beyond making new friends with people at your local crag (outdoor climbing area) or climbing gym, some ways that you can watch other people climb is by looking up videos on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Also, recorded and live climbing competitions are a great way to watch people climb. Bonus: if you are interested in learning how to set climbing routes and problems at your local gym, watching other climbers is a great way is to see how hold placement forces a climber to move. Win-win!
Now, I’m not saying don’t create your own group of climbing friends; I definitely have my main group of people that I climb with. But I do think it is important that you don’t let your growth in and knowledge of the sport be limited to the five people you climb with the most.
So get out there and introduce yourself to a new climber today! …or awkwardly watch them from across the gym while trying to not make direct eye contact. Whatever floats your boat. 😉