New to climbing walls and bouldering

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  • New to climbing walls and bouldering
  • Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Don’t buy shoes online especially your first pair!!!!

    As a beginner most brands will do “entry level” shoes which will generally be more comfortable, less technical than some others, probably a bit more hard wearing too. The numbers on the box are generally random and bear little or no resemblance to a “real” shoe size and will mostly be incompatible between brands or even with the same brand 🙂 Even when I was replacing shoes with identical models I still used to try them on just to make sure.

    The factor that will determine which brands you get will be your foot shape, more significantly if your big or 2nd toe is longer.

    Harnesses are a bit more straight forward, with generally the more expensive ones having a bit more padding in the right places. Again comfort and fit can be very personal – most shops will let you sit in the harness and hang for a bit to see how it feels.

    Bit out of touch with Newcastle shops LD used to be good down towards the quayside.

    For heaps of choice a quick run back over to Keswick or Ambleside would give you loads of choice and some great people to talk you through your choices. (needle sports in Keswick would be up on my list)

    Mugboo
    Member

    Watching with interest. We’re going to start this winter, just working on my body a bit first…

    deadlydarcy
    Member

    If you’re buying your first bits of kit, go to your local climbing shop. You’ll more than likely meet a nice person (with lots of enthusiasm) who’ll help you pick a good pair of beginners’ shoes and harness and belay bits and bobs and help keep a local business going.

    Don’t be tempted to buy second hand for now.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    and just before the morning lot get into action….

    Climbing and biking share a lot of snobbery 🙂 climbing has chilled out a bit more though in some areas!!

    Climbing walls are like trail centres some can’t see why you would go there but they are great places to learn, train, get fit, meet people, drink tea, eat cake and stay warm (if they have heating – if not take warm clothes)

    The “Outside” is where it’s at, but just like biking it can be as pleasant as hauling a bike through a bog for 6 hrs to find the descent has been turned into a tarmac road and made up hill. If you want to make the move from indoor to outdoor have a look at some clubs or some of the courses – it can also become very expensive!!

    2012-07-29 04.17.47 by Mike Smith 79, on Flickr

    2012-07-29 02.27.42 by Mike Smith 79, on Flickr

    The third place it called “Warmer with Bolts” it can be like climbing inside but with sunshine and cheap beers. It can also be as terrifying as climbing outside with a couple of rusty bolts up a face.

    the there is the cold stuff

    DSC_0119.JPG by Mike Smith 79, on Flickr

    darrimc30
    Member

    My daughter and I tried the climbing wall at Ambleside a couple of times when we were in the Lakes and thoroughly enjoyed it, I can definitely see the advantages it can give my biking.

    The daughter loves it so now where signing up to a local wall in Newcastle, can anyone recommend some good brands of equipment i.e. harness and shoes, appreciate shoes are a personnel choice but some brands must be better than others.

    Any help would be appreciated before I start trawling the climbing websites.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    depends on size/age of your daughter whether you start her on a full body harness or straight onto a sit harness, take advice. I got my godson a Black Diamond Whiz Kid when he was 8 (rrp £50, the climbers shop is doing them for £35 at the mo). It’s a good kids harness.
    Shoes need to be comfortable for a kid, but still have no spaces in them (ie at the toe). as above, use a good/trusted outdoor shop or the climbing wall shop. I wouldn’t bother too much about brand, if you use a decent shop they will stock decent brands. shoes, I wouldn’t go too crazy on money when she’s starting out/still growing, you probs be buying her a new pr in 12 months.

    J, it’s all about technique not muscles

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    OP: what Newcastle wall are you joining?

    Just had my second bouldering session at Alien Rock 2 in Edinburgh. Enjoyed it, so now considering local walls.

    ClimbNewcastle at Byker sounds interesting because they do kids sessions so I could bring my 3yo along.

    Good list of walls here:
    http://www.climbonline.co.uk/climbing_walls.htm

    meehaja
    Member

    most walls will rent gear. Do this until you have a better idea of what you want, then most walls have shops, who should be very supportive of beginers.

    My shoes are too small, the shop convinced me i needed this. They may be super technical, and improve my climbing, but given I can only wear them for about 10 mins before my feet start burning, I have to do all my supertechnical climbing very fast! Or spend all day climbing easy rocks in agony!

    DMM, Wild Country, Petzl, all good brands. TBH, all stuff will meet the standard. more expensive mens lighter generally. lots of very specific adaptions to kit, but most people just use them “as are” E.g krabs.

    Some places do beginner kits, harness, krab, belay plate.

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    Go to a shop, try stuff on, get some advice and find something that fits and is comfortable. I wouldn’t worry too much about brands.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Climbing can be almost as bad as biking for shiny, expensive gear purchases…be warned!

    For now, I’d try to find somewhere that can rent you and your daughter shoes and harness, belay device etc. If she’s still into it at Christmas that’s a couple of presents taken care of. There are relatively few brands of kids’ climbing shoes available, and they are all much of a muchness.

    As above, do not listen to shops that tell you to buy shoes super tight – I thought most of them had stopped doing this. At the beginner grades, comfort is key, and certainly for kids.

    Don’t forget that climbing clubs and indoor walls often have a discount at a local shop so it is worth joining first to see if that is the case

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    I boulder (un-roped climbing) with my daughter at climbNewcastle. We’ve been going for a couple of years. They have a rock stars class in a smaller room upstairs to teach the basics and the very young, then once your girl is old/good enough she’ll get promoted to the junior academy. They are a very friendly bunch, relaxed. They also have a small shop at the back and a small cafe.

    IMHO Beginners shoes should be close fitting but not uncomfortable, especially with kids, their feet are still growing so maybe hire some for a while.

    I think the best shop in newcastle is the top floor of wildtrack near chinatown. good knowledgable staff and all the kit you’ll need.

    I’ll be at climb newcastle this weekend saturday morning.

    The other really good thing is while she gets her class you can boulder for the hour, theres a few parents that do the same and its gotta be better than getting a fat ar$e sitting in the cafe like a few do. 😉

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Subscriber

    The daughter loves it so now where signing up to a local wall in Newcastle, can anyone recommend some good brands of equipment i.e. harness and shoes, appreciate shoes are a personnel choice but some brands must be better than others.

    From my limited experience of doing a course last year: DON’T get Decathlon climbing shoes. Cheap, but no grip.

    I’d sign up to the wall, and get local recommendations.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    What Mike said.

    A point of note is that there’s an adage that if shoes aren’t painful they’re too big. This may (arguably) be true once you’re an experienced climber, but as a novice all too-tight shoes will do is put you off, you’ll gain nothing. Shoes need to be snug (take socks off) but not painful. In particular if you have any pressure points, spots that are sore, they’re the wrong shoe.

    I’d be reluctant to run out and buy gear till you’ve been a few times and know it’s definitely for you (/her). Rent gear until you’re at a point where you’ve a better idea of what you want.

    Last pair of rock shoes I bought, I spent easily an hour in a climbing shop trying on everything they stocked; what I eventually bought was the right shoe, but was light years away from what I thought I wanted when I went in.

    Note also there are two basic types of shoes, slip- and board-lasted. The latter are firmer soled and probably a better choice for a first shoe as it’ll afford more protection to your delicate tootsies. Slip-lasted shoes will stretch a size or so over time, board-lasted will not, at all. Worth bearing in mind when you’re trying for size.

    Mugboo
    Member

    B.A.Nana, that may be true but you are underestimating my pipe cleaner arms 🙁

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    I thought the NICAS course was very good, for kids. Newcastle climbing centre run it in your area. All the gear is included in the price, well it was at harrogate.

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    I run a wall down here in Loughborough, I agree with all the above.
    So IMHO:
    Kids shoes, don’t bother unless they are really keen, I would rent until they are older
    Yours, should be snug without curling your toes over.
    All brands generally make beginner/ intermediate shoes which will do you better than extreme curved ones , once you can climb 7a then think about them.
    All brands use diff lasts so they all fit differently, go try half a dozen brands on. Go to one decent shop and buy from them as going to multiple shops ends up generally in confusion
    Harnesses, go and try some, you get more padding and extras the more you pay.
    Belay device and karabiner, all you need to start with , go and have a chat with the local climbing shop.

    Join the BMC as you get a discount card.

    Personally until you have climbed for a few months I would rent as you don’t know if it is a passing fad or 10 years later you will be setting up your own wall !

    My email is in my profile if I can help at all.

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    Second Nicas, it’s excellent

    darrimc30
    Member

    Hi,
    Been twice now to Newcastle Climbing Centre once for the Taster and just on Friday to do some bouldering as i need to pass a test for Belaying. It was quite busy and to be fair quite intimidating. I’m trying to get my daughter to join one of the kids clubs but she seems reluctant to for some reason.
    Is climbing a bit snobby or are we just the new kids on the block?
    Any advice on strengthening my arm/wrists to make it easier?

    When we first tried it in Ambelside i reviewed it on Tripadvisor, and just received an email saying we have won a free personal lesson for up to four people so not a bad start to our climbing

    ianv
    Member

    Is climbing a bit snobby or are we just the new kids on the block?

    New kids on the block probably.

    TBH I wouldnt even bother with the roped stuff at the beginning, Just go bouldering. That way you can sort of climb together and kids prefer it to the hassle with ropes.

    Forearm strength comes with time unless you want to start specific training like finger boards. Best thing initially is, at the end of a session, find something relatively easy and climb up and down till you cant hang on any more.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    TBH, I’ve found snobbery to be very centre-dependent. There’s one in Manchester, you need to climb just to get higher than most people’s noses. Largely though, people are pretty chilled and friendly.

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    Climbing is probably one of the least snobby sports I have done, having said that is it very dependant upon the centre you go to . Most climbers are very friends and willing to help, although there are ar**s wherever you go.

    Stick with it, it’s great fun.

    Climb with your girl a few times and then go for the club again, ours have a great time there

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    On Sunday there I took my missus, my 3 year old daughter and her friend along to Climb Newcastle in Byker. (As recommended by ti_pin_man – cheers!)

    We did a Family Foundation session, which was membership and hire + an introduction to the centre, run through of basic safety, a little bit of basic coached climbing then climb on for as long as you like.


    (Mini-S on the main wall with her instructor)

    Nice place. The staff were great with the kids (and didn’t mind at all that we’d brought a baby along too). Both kids and the missus had a good time and I was able to leave them in the cafe and do a bit more myself.

    Good variety of climbs too (all bouldering). It is an old swimming pool, so there are shorter walls on the sides and bigger walls in the “pool”. They have them organised into circuits so you can do a full circuit of the 14 yellow climbs (Grade Fb 3-4) then progress on to the black climbs (4-6).

    Kids have their own mini walls upstairs and they run a “RockStars” kids club so you can leave them for a bit and get some climbing on your own.

    Recommended to the OP (and anyone else in the area).

    Marin
    Member

    Just booked flights for Rjukan. No help to you but the cold lovers will understand.

    CaptJon
    Member

    If the Byker Wall was too busy for you try the one at Northumbria Uni. It’s much quieter, especially at the weekends.

    darrimc30
    Member

    Many thanks to all who replied, nice to get some sense for a change, all advice appreciated
    Took daughter to Climb Newcastle last night for a Foundation Session, instructor was great and we thoroughly enjoyed the night and stayed for about three hours.
    We are now members of both centres in Newcastle so we can do top rope and bouldering.

    Any advice on increasing finger and wrist strength, fingers are really sore this morning although time spent bouldering will be part of the reason.

    The guys and girls last night were all very pleasant so I shouldn’t judge on one experience.

    Andyfla I will send you an email through the week if that’s okay for some more advice. Can definitely see my biking improving after this

    ryanctj
    Member

    Finger and wrist strength will come naturally, keep climbing, just be careful not to overdo it when starting off, especially doing lots of “crimpy” holds. The finger tendons take time to build strength in, and from what I’ve heard an injury early in a climbing career can take ages to heal.

    Markie
    Member

    GrahamS, thanks for writing about Climb Newcastle (I clearly missed tipinman’s post!) – that looks awesome!

    yunki
    Member

    Nothing useful to add, but we took yunki jr to the local clip n climb today for his fourth birthday and it was bloody ace!

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    GrahamS, thanks for writing about Climb Newcastle (I clearly missed tipinman’s post!) – that looks awesome!

    No worries. Glad to help 😀

    It’s a cool place, for adults and kids alike. I should have mention that Little Miss S in the photo there is only 3 and she has a great time.

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