Climbing is one of those sports that is considered risky, extreme and yes, death defying. Yet its popularity is tied to stringent safety standards.
When you see pictures of climbers, or when you practice the art yourself, you may feel an instinctive fear of heights. Therein lies the ironic appeal of rock climbing. Because of that strict attention to safety, you can face, and with skill and determination, move past that intrinsic fear. By extension, this experience may help you move past some other fears too.
Asking friends “why do you climb” and you'll get answers that vary from simply trying something new to it's good exercise for the body, or for building my balance and strength. Probe further and they might share that it's a great way to keep the brain sharp, not merely by figuring out where the holds are in a vertical landscape but by maintaining poise while taunting gravity. Lessons like that have a way of bleeding over into daily life where risk comes in a different flavor but when met with nerve and poise can deliver similar rewards.
If that peaks your interest; don't wait, get out and go climbing.
It’s important to keep in mind that rock climbing comes with some pretty severe risks, so safety is the most important aspect to consider. The most reliable and safest way to learn is to hire a professional guide to literally “learn the ropes” your first time out. Not only are they trained in the best techniques, but they're also experienced in how to deal with emergencies. Once you have the basics down it simply takes time to practice them until you master them.
The key in finding a guide is making sure they are accredited by the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA). An AMGA guide or instructor will not only teach you how to climb safely, they will give you a well-rounded and thorough education on the subject. They will be able to explain climbing ethics and give expert advice on climbing areas, including where to begin, how to avoid crowds, heat, and advice on how to train and progress.
If you’re not quite ready to commit to actual rock, a local climbing gym is a wonderful place to learn. Experienced rock climbers find that nothing beats the real thing, but as with other endeavors, gyms are a great place to develop your technique and practice, especially when the weather doesn't cooperate.
One of the things that rock climbers are known for is creating their own, climbing sub-culture that has been well documented in magazines, books, and online forums. The list of resources could easily comprise a small book of its own, but for brevity one book should be considered required reading by all climbers: Freedom of the Hills published by The Mountaineers out of Seattle, Washington.
At Red Fox climbing is in our DNA. It's how “the Fox” began. Climbing begat the need for gear that was unavailable at the time so our founders made it. It worked. That was over a quarter century ago. Red Fox gear is even better today, made stronger, looking sharper, and functionally smarter.
Here are some of our favorite Red Fox pieces for climbing: