Rock climbing is one of the most exciting physical activities thanks to the rush of the height and the strategy involved in scaling your way up a cliff, boulder, or anything else. Unfortunately, a rock climbing trip requires planning and enough time, so some of us may not have open enough schedules.
If you love rock climbing, but you find it difficult to make the time to perform outdoor rock climbing, you can always participate in indoor rock climbing. While some purists will denounce indoor rock climbing, it has now become the starting point for most rock climbers.
Indoor rock climbing may be ideal for young rock climbers who are still getting used to the activity, but even experienced rock climbers can find a use for it. Let's not get ahead of ourselves; however, we'll start off by making sure that all of our readers are on the same page.
What Is Indoor Rock Climbing?
As you may have gathered from the name of the activity, indoor rock climbing is a form of wall scaling that takes place indoors. Instead of climbing rocks, you instead scale a climbing wall. These walls can be made out of a variety of different materials, including metals, wood, and hard synthetic materials.
There are several types of climbing walls. Some walls have the handholds molded into them during construction, so they can't be replaced. Other indoor rock climbing walls will have holes drilled into them so that separate handholds can be added and replaced to change the climb.
An indoor climbing wall will typically be less rough on your hands than rock since it will not abrade your skin, though we would still recommend using climbing gloves. When your hands get sweaty, some climbing walls become harder to grip than rock, which can sometimes accommodate bare-handed climbing.
The first artificial rock climbing walls were made out of concrete with actual rocks embedded in the surface, which made for an excellent replica of the real rock climbing experience. The first rock climbing wall was built in Seattle, Washington, in 1939, though there is some debate on the subject.
Many view Seattle as the indoor rock climbing capital of the world since it was where the first wall was built, but it was also where the first indoor rock climbing center was established, back in 1987. Ever since then, indoor rock climbing has risen in popularity every year, to a nearly exponential extent.
Benefits Of Indoor Rock Climbing Vs. Actual Rock Climbing
Indoor rock climbing has a few surprising advantages over outdoor rock climbing. As we mentioned earlier, indoor rock climbing will do less damage to the skin on your hands, but there are plenty more pros to it. For example, indoor rock climbing always takes place in a controlled environment.
The benefits to a controlled environment are manifold. For example, you won't have to deal with any adverse weather when you are indoors, which can potentially ruin a climb. Indoor rock climbing mass is also much more convenient since you won't have to drive all the way to an outdoor location.
If you live in the city, it could take you hours to travel to a place where you can rock climb outdoors. On the other hand, most cities will have at least one indoor rock climbing business where you can go climb whenever you like, provided they are open.
Why Is Indoor Rock Climbing Great Training For Actual Rock?
You may be wondering if your skills in indoor rock climbing will carry over to real rock climbing, and you needn't worry because they will. While there are a few key differences between both of these climbing disciplines, you will find that both skill sets are approximately the same.
Since indoor rock climbing takes place in a controlled environment, you won’t have to worry about bringing a partner along to practice. It can be hard to organize a time where you and your climbing partner will both be available to climb, and practicing alone is usually very dangerous.
At indoor rock climbing venues, there will always be employees ready to help if something goes wrong, so you don’t necessarily have to train with a partner. While a partner can help you improve your climbing form as they will be able to see you from a different perspective, you can at least have the option.
Indoor rock climbing can also help you train because you will have access to climbing instructors who can provide expert advice on improving your form and your technique.
How To Start With Indoor Rock Climbing
We’ll also provide some indoor rock climbing tips to make it easier to get into the discipline. If you have never participated in indoor rock climbing, but you have done outdoor rock climbing, you will have to prepare yourself for a slightly different experience. While there are some similarities, don’t expect it to be identical.
If you are a complete beginner to rock climbing, we would recommend holding off on purchasing your gear until you are sure that you will pursue the hobby. Most indoor rock climbing venues will offer rental equipment that you can use.
Before you go rock climbing, we would recommend going over a beginner's guide so that you may have a better idea of what you are getting yourself into. While most venues will have rock climbing instructors on hand, you are better off being prepared for your first visit.
When you go indoor rock climbing for the first time, you may wish to bring a partner, especially if you have never gone rock climbing before. It can be a bit of a daunting experience to rock climb, and a friend will help make it more enjoyable.
As you can see, indoor rock climbing has many of the same benefits as outdoor climbing, with a few crucial differences. Let us know what you think in the comments down below.