Getting started

Posted by Jon Garside on 15/01/2013

An introduction to getting started in climbing, hill walking and mountaineering.

There are many ways to getting started. Here are a few:

1. Join a climbing, hill walking or mountaineering club. Find out more about joining a club here.

2. Go to a climbing wall. Many walls run introductory climbing sessions, and you can a find a wall near you here.

3. Go on a course. By concentrating on the essential skills, a professionally run course can fast track your progression. The BMC run some subsidised courses for those wanting to learn to climb outside.

4. Do it your own way! Many climbers and walkers simply started on their own, learning through their own experiences. However, a guiding hand from someone with more knowledge can reap many benefits.

The good thing nowadays is the wealth of good practice material freely available. Below is a selection freely available from the BMC.

Climbing

Climbing walls provide a great place to start climbing, with most providing instruction and equipment hire for beginners. Find your local wall in our climbing wall directory.

Find a club here

Steve Long's four-part Basics series begins with indoor climbing and then progresses onto outdoor climbing and winter mountaineering.

Learning how to use their climbing gear effectively is a steep learning curve for new climbers, and using this safety equipment incorrectly is not an option. Belaying other climbers a fundamental skill to master, and our Belaying & Abseiling Leaflet outlines issues to consider and provides a comparison of the many belay devices on offer.

At some point, the indoor climber will want to get their first taste of real rock, and our Climbing Outside booklet is written for those climbers 'stepping out' for the first time. It is packed with information about the equipment to use and important considerations about the outdoor climbing environment.  You may also wish to attend a training course to learn the basic skills for climbing outdoors; the BMC is currently offering discounted courses through local climbing walls (Rock Out) and through Plas y Brenin (Ready to Rock).  Our Climb Outside webpage will also provide you with more information.

For an idea of the range of skills to master as you progress through your climbing career check out Summit's Climb Skills articles. Written by professional guides and instructors, they are packed with top tips from the experts.

You could also sit back and watch a bit of BMC TV! We have a series of online video clips covering basic climbing skills as well as trailers for our popular DVDs.

We have a publication which is primarily aimed at parents, but it is also extremely useful for those new to climbing, hill walking or mountaineering as things are explained specifically for those new to these activities. Download the guide here

If you want to try a BMC subsidised course check out these great opportunities


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