While most the world thinks about world class skiing when they think of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, many are unaware of the some of the activities the mountains offer in the summer. The snow melt in the summer leads to roaring rivers for some of the best white water kayaking and rafting. Also, once the snow has left mountain then amazing biking trials appear! However, there is another sport that also brings people from all over the world to the Colorado Rockies, and that is rock climbing!
All throughout the state climbers can find some great climbing routes hidden in valleys and on the tops of mountains. Colorado is one of the best places to get into the sport of rock climbing and here a few tips and tricks for those wanting to get into this exciting sport!
1.) Know the routes and the gear you will need!
Before you go climbing do your research. Make sure that you are skilled enough and have the proper gear to take on the routes you want to climb. Luckily there are many resources to get all the information you will need for each route. Guide books of particular area and websites like the mountain project will tell you what to expect and what you will need!
It is crucial that you always have enough quick draws on your harness (throw on a few extra too) and that you rope is plenty long for the route you are planning to climb. We recommend double and triple checking your gear before you start on the climbing route of your choice!
2.) Have the right layers and rain gear!
The summer in Colorado is amazing, but the weather can change quickly and dramatically. A bright warm day can turn cold and rainy very quickly! Be sure to pack extra layers and some rain gear just in case you get caught in a storm.
In case you get caught in a storm, find a safe place lower in the valley to wait it out. Never climb during a storm! It is not only uncomfortable but very dangerous.
3.) Be sure to bring food and water!
This sounds pretty simple, but it’s amazing how many people often overlook this. Many climbing walls require a good hike to get to and you don’t want to think you’ll be fine cause there’s food in the car! Climbing can burn way more calories that you may think, often leaves you extremely hungry much quicker than usual.
The last thing you want is hunger or thirst to hit after you send a route, but you left your snacks in the car, which is 2 miles away, with a very rocky technical hike. Even worse, now your climbing partner has to wait for you to get to the car and back, or call it an early day! Always be prepared for those hikes in and out of the climbing area. Your guide book is your best friend to making sure you can access the route without to much difficulty.
4.) Go early!
There are many reasons to get our early. First, climbing walls are not all created equal, and some climbing spots are better than others. The good spots get crowded fast!
In Colorado, storms tend to roll in during the afternoon, so it is best to get your climbing done in the morning and steer clear of any afternoon rain.
Not only are the views incredible in the morning, but you also won’t be climbing in direct sunlight which can make you sweaty. Sweat and good grips do not mix. Get up and seize the day!
5.) Know the Climbers Ethics.
Since the creation of the sport, the innovators of the climbing world have been passing down a code of conduct for climbers. Today the ethics are well known and obeyed by climbers. Dedicated climbers take these rules seriously, so be sure to know the ethics of climbing, or else you won’t be making any new friends out there!
Look up the ethics online before to embarking on any climbs. The ethics mostly consist of “leave no trace” ideals, but there is also proper climbing etiquette you need to be aware of. If you aren’t sure about something, always ask another climber around.
Lastly, and most importantly be safe.
If you want to have fun you need be as safe. The key to safety with climbing is proper preparation and training. One aspect that makes climbing so fun is that it is a sport that requires mentors. Someone needs to teach you proper climbing techniques and safety, and hopefully soon you will be able to teach others as well. So find yourself a mentor or guide company and jump into this great sport in one of the most beautiful places in the world!