How to get good at rock climbing is a question with an easy answer. The answer is to climb more, climb a lot, and climb different styles! Boulderers, start sport climbing! Sport climbers, start trad climbing! Trad climbers… start bouldering!
Now that we got the cheeky answer out of the way, let’s dive into how to get better at rock climbing.
We’re going to cover the following areas:
- Type of climbing we want to do
- Gear Required
- Climbing Skills to learn
Don’t worry about finding the perfect training plan. The perfect training plan is a training plan that gets executed. Hit the ground running with training and then make tweaks as we go.
How to Get Good at Rock Climbing
Sometimes you hear about someone wanting to be a true 5.9 climber. Whatever style the 5.9 climb is, they’ll be able to climb it. 5.9 sport or trad. Crack, face, or overhung climbing, they will be able to do it. Following this mantra is an excellent way to test yourself and become an all-around climber.
The All Around Climber
If you’ve ever dreamed of doing a big wall, being an all-around climber will be crucial to your success. on a thousand-foot wall, chances are high that you’re going to find different styles of climbing. If you’ve never practiced crack climbing, you don’t want a few crack moves to keep you from sending!
So how do you become a proficient all-around climber? Here’s how.
You’re going to have to boulder, sport climb, and trad climb. Climb on different types of rock styles (yes, even plastic!)
Even if you solely want to focus on one discipline, climb other styles! There are benefits that can be transferred between all styles of climbing. And spending a day top roping instead of bouldering is a fun way to break up the daily grind.
Gear Required on our Climbing Journey
The gear we need while we’re trying to improve at rock climbing is going to vary depending on your goals. You are going to acquire a lot of gear over the course of your climbing career.
A starter trad rack will consist of cams (0.3 – 3 in Black Diamond sizing), a set of nuts (DMM walnuts and the offsets are perfect!), and around 10 alpine draws. As you climb different routes, you’ll come across placements that make you wish you owned that #4 cam or some of the Black Diamond microcams. If this happens to you, it’s a great excuse to add gear to your collection!
Climbing Training Inspiration
Training can get boring. You do the same thing. Day in. And day out. Make your training a bit more fun by setting inspiring goals. Don’t get bogged down by dreaming about climbing 5.13. Find an inspirational line to help you get better at rock climbing. Set your sights on sending that route. Find the beauty in the route setting, rock, and movement instead of chasing grades.
When you’re in a funk, what will get you through it. Imagining climbing 5.13a? Or sending Apollo Reed at the New River Gorge? Print out a picture of your dream climb and stick it somewhere you can see it every day. This will get you through the hard times.
Climbing Skills Needed
You better know what a gaston is. Having climbing technique and power is critical to sending routes. Many beginners (us included!), started off on the bouldering wall at the gym. Learn from our mistakes and train efficiently with the best rock climbing exercises for beginners.
Watch the Neil Gresham Masterclass! This is required homework for any new climber.
Neil made it free on YouTube. Thanks, Neil!
Learn how to clean anchors and practice on the ground first. Don’t make a mistake when you’re 100 feet off the ground.
For sport climbing, you can build off of your bouldering power and technique by working on your endurance. ARC Training allows you to train your endurance while practicing technique. Put your gym auto belay to use and do train more ARC!
Trad climbers…head to the gym and start bouldering! We meet too many trad climbers who will gladly declare bouldering to be… dumb! Just imagine all of the first ascents you can claim by incorporating a sit start to the ultra-classic trad line at your local crag.
Climb lots of trad lines below your grade to get efficient at quickly finding good protection. Walk around the base of your crag and practice placing gear that fits and protects well on the first try. While climbing you can either: place good protection on the first try, or fiddle around sizing pieces until one fits. Save yourself from pumping out and go for the first option.
Have a few tricks up your sleeve by learning skills from the AMGA SPI Exam.
All Disciplines are Related
While learning how to get good at rock climbing, we’ve learned one thing. All disciplines are related and we can get better at bouldering by trad climbing. Regardless of your favorite climbing discipline, they are all related. Skills, techniques, and experiences from any style of climbing (even gym bouldering!) will pay dividends for you in the future.
Keep training and switch things up to keep training from getting too monotonous. Happy sending!