Don’t Let These Myths Get Between You and Rock Climbing

If you’ve never done it before, climbing up the face of a rock can seem, in a word, intimidating. And why wouldn’t it? You’re out in the elements, holding on by the tips of your fingers and relying on tiny pieces of equipment to keep you safe. But rock climbing—especially if you try it indoors in a safe environment with expert help—can be a lot of fun and a great workout. All that’s required is proper technique and the right equipment, not bulging biceps or a vice-like grip. In fact, our team went last year and scaled some walls ourselves! Still not convinced? Read on to discover the three biggest myths that might be keeping you from rock climbing.

Myth #1: You have to be a strong bodybuilder. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to resemble He-Man to go rock climbing. The truth is, the less you weigh, the easier it is to get up the rock. Rock climbers typically have a low body-fat percentage and some lean muscle, but they are rarely bulky. And don’t worry too much about upper-body strength. The main muscles used are in your legs while your hands keep you steady (the same as if you were climbing a ladder).

Myth #2: Rock climbing is a man’s sport. Women are just as able to go rock climbing as men. Just ask Steph Davis, who was the second female to free climb Yosemite’s El Cap in a day (that means she had no safety harness on!) and the first female to free climb Yosemite’s Salathė Wall. This activity relies heavily on technique and balance, so it doesn’t matter which sex you are as long as you have the right training.

Myth #3: Climbing is too dangerous. As with all sports, rock climbing has its dangers, but injuries aren’t very common and the ones that do occur are rarely life-threatening. The most common injuries from rock climbing are ankle and foot fractures, sprains and strains–the same kind of injuries you’d get hiking. The most important safety tips are to develop good technique and use the right equipment.

Ready to go up, up, up? Here’s a list of places in Michigan where you can conquer your rock climbing fears:

If you want to find other adrenaline-boosting activities around the state, check out these blogs:

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Photo credit: Texas Rock Gym

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