Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

If you are a beginner climber and want to ask other climbers any questions - then this is the place to ask.
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RamboPeet
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Real Name: Peet Esterhuizen
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Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by RamboPeet »

Good day everyone,

I've recently looked into climbing and want to take this up as a new hobby together with my wife. So I would like to ask for assistance as to what is required for us to get started with climbing.

I've googled and watched a bunch of different climbing videos did some research on a lot of the different gear that's available and have more or less a very small percentage of knowledge of what I think is more or less required to get started.

I can imagine this question must have been asked a million times, but I couldn't really find a beginner guide or beginner list of what's the bare minimum to get started. Also, is there some sort of training that's required before myself and the wife can do like our 1st climb?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

FYI I would love to in the future contribute to replacing bolts/anchors once I have the proper knowledge and experience in doing so.

The last thing we're from Pretoria, so would probably mostly do routes around Pretoria and merely do other routes when going on vacation.

Thanks in advanced for any help. :thumleft:
RyanStellies
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Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:35 pm
Real Name: Ryan Stellenbosch

Re: Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by RyanStellies »

Welcome to the climbing community Peet! You and your wife have certainly made a great decision to take up rock climbing as a hobby!

Gear that's required for indoor climbing (at climbing gyms such as CityRock or climbingbarn.co.za):
1. Shoes
2. Harness
3. Chalk & chalk bag (if your hands sweat easily)

When climbing outdoors, you'll additionally need:
4. Rope & belay device (also needed for indoor lead climbing)
5. Quickdraws (between 10 and 14 should get you up most routes)
6. 2x slings with screw gates

Advisable:
7. Helmets for the safety of both the climber and the belayer
8. Rope bag with rope tarp to keep your rope clean and for better rope management
9. Route guide so that you know where to find the routes, their grade, height, and number of quickdraws required. Route information is also available online at thecrag.com and at climbing.co.za/wiki

There are a couple of things to learn and the staff at climbing gyms should all be able to teach you the knots and how to belay properly (toprope & lead). At CityRock you can get toprope belay tags and lead belay tags after passing their belay tests. These belay tests must be done on two separate days and are free of charge, but you'd still need to pay for a day pass if you're not a CityRock member.

Most climbing gyms have all the necessary climbing gear for sale. On the Garage Sale forum you can find second hand and new gear looking for new owners: climbing.co.za/forum/viewforum.php?f=18 also: vertigogear.co.za/collections/2nd-ascent

More than 99% of the climbers I've met are very friendly and sharing and happy to teach you the knots, how to belay safely, how to lead climb and how to clean the route, i.e. getting all your gear off the route once you've reached the top. And most of them are also willing to let you climb up routes using their quickdraws and rope in the beginning until you've bought your own gear. As long as you never step on their rope!!! :) You'll learn to understand this rule very well as you spend more time at the crag.

Arguably the country's best sport climbing destination with over 1000 sport climbing routes is Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga, about 2½ hours from Pretoria. I'd recommend you go spend some weekends in Boven, even as a complete noob, since there's an abundance of beginner-friendly routes.

Enjoy the journey!
AndrewV
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:40 pm
Real Name: Andrew Vermaak

Re: Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by AndrewV »

Hi,

You can contact Ryan Peel 0724354917

He does outdoor adventures including climbing and is a great coach. He is based in Randburg.
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RamboPeet
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Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2021 1:43 pm
Real Name: Peet Esterhuizen
Location: Pretoria
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Re: Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by RamboPeet »

RyanStellies wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 1:57 am Welcome to the climbing community Peet! You and your wife have certainly made a great decision to take up rock climbing as a hobby!

Gear that's required for indoor climbing (at climbing gyms such as CityRock or climbingbarn.co.za):
1. Shoes
2. Harness
3. Chalk & chalk bag (if your hands sweat easily)

When climbing outdoors, you'll additionally need:
4. Rope & belay device (also needed for indoor lead climbing)
5. Quickdraws (between 10 and 14 should get you up most routes)
6. 2x slings with screw gates

Advisable:
7. Helmets for the safety of both the climber and the belayer
8. Rope bag with rope tarp to keep your rope clean and for better rope management
9. Route guide so that you know where to find the routes, their grade, height, and number of quickdraws required. Route information is also available online at thecrag.com and at climbing.co.za/wiki

There are a couple of things to learn and the staff at climbing gyms should all be able to teach you the knots and how to belay properly (toprope & lead). At CityRock you can get toprope belay tags and lead belay tags after passing their belay tests. These belay tests must be done on two separate days and are free of charge, but you'd still need to pay for a day pass if you're not a CityRock member.

Most climbing gyms have all the necessary climbing gear for sale. On the Garage Sale forum you can find second hand and new gear looking for new owners: climbing.co.za/forum/viewforum.php?f=18 also: vertigogear.co.za/collections/2nd-ascent

More than 99% of the climbers I've met are very friendly and sharing and happy to teach you the knots, how to belay safely, how to lead climb and how to clean the route, i.e. getting all your gear off the route once you've reached the top. And most of them are also willing to let you climb up routes using their quickdraws and rope in the beginning until you've bought your own gear. As long as you never step on their rope!!! :) You'll learn to understand this rule very well as you spend more time at the crag.

Arguably the country's best sport climbing destination with over 1000 sport climbing routes is Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga, about 2½ hours from Pretoria. I'd recommend you go spend some weekends in Boven, even as a complete noob, since there's an abundance of beginner-friendly routes.

Enjoy the journey!
Wow, thanks this is exactly what I wanted to know. A quick summary of the requirements for an absolute beginner and you've explained it perfectly!

Appreciate the write-up and I'll most definitely look into all of this. :) :thumleft:

I also hope that any other new beginners in my area will get to see this post.
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RamboPeet
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Re: Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by RamboPeet »

AndrewV wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:17 am Hi,

You can contact Ryan Peel 0724354917

He does outdoor adventures including climbing and is a great coach. He is based in Randburg.
Thanks, Andrew for your feedback as well. I reckon I'll start with the climbing barn that's the nearest to where we live. After getting started there if we need any more help with outdoor climbing I'll maybe give Ryan a call.
AndrewV
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:40 pm
Real Name: Andrew Vermaak

Re: Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by AndrewV »

He is certified and all the relevant qualifications. He helped me s lot when I started
Old Smelly
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Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:21 pm

Re: Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by Old Smelly »

There are also a few other climbing coaches out there if that is the route you would like to take. Personal instruction from a qualified coach will help a lot.

Personally I think that what is taught in a climbing gym to most beginners relates to what you do in the climbing gym - with some instruction as to how to climb outdoors- but it is not comprehensive (probably not enough to be truly safe - maybe enough to think you know what's going on).

Please realise that you need to take personal responsibility for learning what you need to know to climb safely outdoors!

It is not up to climbing gyms to teach you all you need to know and I certainly don't think they do or can - their job is to ensure people climb safely in the environment where you pay them to be. Having said that, pick up instruction from as many varied sources as you can and learn to discern the good from the bad - normally when someone says they have devised a simpler method or a better way themselves start being cautious.

I would advise from going to Boven until you know what you are doing. It is a long way to go to find out that the climbs are hard, you are clueless and that there is no one there who wants to babysit someone who has limited knowledge. So unless you go with a mentor or an instructor I am not sure its worth the trip. Sure there are plenty of clueless gym climbers there but do you want to be one of them?

Also look into the Mountain Club - there is a section in Pretoria - they are a club who promote safe and responsible climbing. They do not need to sell you something or get you to pay them to help you climb, so you may find the right group of people there. Mostly just make sure that you learn how to be safe when climbing and own that safety.
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...
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RamboPeet
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Re: Want to start outdoor climbing (Complete Noob)

Post by RamboPeet »

Old Smelly wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 9:40 am There are also a few other climbing coaches out there if that is the route you would like to take. Personal instruction from a qualified coach will help a lot.

Personally I think that what is taught in a climbing gym to most beginners relates to what you do in the climbing gym - with some instruction as to how to climb outdoors- but it is not comprehensive (probably not enough to be truly safe - maybe enough to think you know what's going on).

Please realise that you need to take personal responsibility for learning what you need to know to climb safely outdoors!

It is not up to climbing gyms to teach you all you need to know and I certainly don't think they do or can - their job is to ensure people climb safely in the environment where you pay them to be. Having said that, pick up instruction from as many varied sources as you can and learn to discern the good from the bad - normally when someone says they have devised a simpler method or a better way themselves start being cautious.

I would advise from going to Boven until you know what you are doing. It is a long way to go to find out that the climbs are hard, you are clueless and that there is no one there who wants to babysit someone who has limited knowledge. So unless you go with a mentor or an instructor I am not sure its worth the trip. Sure there are plenty of clueless gym climbers there but do you want to be one of them?

Also look into the Mountain Club - there is a section in Pretoria - they are a club who promote safe and responsible climbing. They do not need to sell you something or get you to pay them to help you climb, so you may find the right group of people there. Mostly just make sure that you learn how to be safe when climbing and own that safety.
Hi Old Smelly,

Thanks for the feedback I am definitely not someone who will just straight up go out and start to climb without the proper knowledge to keep myself and my mutual climbers safe.

For my initial outdoor climbing after I've acquired all the correct gear and spending a good amount of time within an indoor climbing gym I will most probably start with the easy climb routes at Bronkies as that's the closest to me for a day outing. :)


Oh yeah I did look into the MCSA near me and will most probably become a member once I know that climbing is for me and my wife. But for now I just want to make sure that we are actually in for the long haul by seeing if we are dedicated to going to an indoor climbing gym like maybe once a week for the next couple of weeks.
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