Seven climbing myths busted!

Posted by Joanna Rowbottom on 24/04/2016
Laura Clewgh enjoying climbing Photo: Jessie Leong

We know that there are some perceptions around climbing that may lead people to think it isn't for them: perhaps it looks too extreme, or that climbers need to be muscular and strong. Well all climbers began somewhere, and most of us started at the bottom. So we thought we’d bust a few of those myths and prove that climbing really is for everyone.

I don’t have the arm strength for climbing.
Actually, climbing isn’t as much about arm strength as you might think, the trick is to use your legs and body position, developing good technique is key. The good thing is, as you practice developing your technique you’ll be improving your arm strengthand toning those arms.

I don’t have the coordination or balance.
Again, your balance and coordination isn’t the most important thing. We all climb from such a young age, normally in places we shouldn’t as a child. We all possess the fundamental skills to climb, they might just need to be developed a little. Climbing is great for developing core strength and flexibility. 

I would start climbing but I need someone to go with. 
This one is sometimes true, you will need someone to belay but if you don’t have anyone you do have some options. Bouldering doesn’t require a belay as it isn’t roped climbing, you can go along on your own, the likelihood is you’ll meet some people along the way and find some climbing buddy’s in no time. Some walls have auto belays to again you don’t need to have a buddy. Sometimes we need someone for moral support though, speak to your local wall about social groups, ladies nights and buddy ups. Clubs and walls recognize that people need buddy’s so often have opportunities for you to join a social session where people will be on hand to belay.

WATCH: Ladies' night on BMC TV

It looks really extreme and difficult. 
Ok, it’s not necessarily easy, but then it wouldn’t be any fun right. It’s as hard as you make it, there are different grades so you can choose a grade that works for you, start with the entry level holds, get your technique right and you’ll be amazed how soon you progress onto routes you might initially looked at as being too advanced.

It’s really open in there, everyone will be watching me.  
Sure, people will be able to see what you’re doing, but mostly they’re not watching, they are too busy working out their next climb, having a coffee, talking about the weekends epic adventures. Even if someone is watching they either congratulate you on an awesome climb, or offer some useful tips. Personally I think this open and friendly atmosphere is one of the best things about climbing!

WATCH: The Women's Climbing Symposium 2015 on BMC TV

There’s no point going to the climbing wall unless I climb outdoors.
Climbing outdoors is great, but it’s not for everyone. Climbing indoors is also great! It’s social, it’s fun, and it’s great for mental and physical wellbeing. Get yourself booked onto a beginner’s course at your local wall. You might even choose to start climbing outdoors, some outdoor centres will have beginners outdoor rock climbing courses.

I'd like to climb but I dont have the gear or the right clothes. 
Now we know that’s just an excuse to buy some shiny new things, but you definitely don’t need to. For beginners you can rent equipment at the climbing wall, if you’re bouldering you’ll only need shoes. In terms of clothes you really don’t need anything special, some comfy loose fitting clothes will be great. If you’re going outdoors you’ll likely be going with a group and having tuition (we’d certainly recommend you do) and they will have the equipment for you to use. Once you’re hooked you’re sure to want to buy some climbing gear, it’s all part of the fun. By becoming a BMC member you can make me the most of various retail discounts on climbing gear and clothing, as well as supporting the work the BMC does.

Now with those seven myths busted you’re probably eager to get started, find a club or a wall near you and get in touch with them to find out how to start climbing. But be aware, there is one myth that's true; once you get the climbing bug you'll be hooked.


This Girl Can

Get the adrenaline buzz of reaching the top. Keep fit without feeling like you're doing exercise. Socialise and build strong friendships. Tempted to give climbing a go? Find out more about This Girl Can Climb.

WATCH: This Girl Can Climb on BMC TV

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WHAT'S NEXT? Get the psyche!

Boost your confidence by familiarising yourself with some of the basics skills and knowledge you'll be learning. Read our special edition magazine for new climbers Get into Climbing. Buy your copy from the BMC shop for just £5 (£3 for BMC members).


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