How to Prep for Summer Climbing Trips
As the warm breeze of summer approaches, beginning trad climbers and seasoned cragsters are eagerly anticipating embarking on thrilling summer time climbing adventures. No matter what your skill level is, proper preparation is essential for a safe and successful summer climbing trip. In this blog post, I’ll lay out some key steps to help you gear up and get ready for an unforgettable climbing trip!
So, How Was Your Spring Season?
Climbing demands physical strength, flexibility, and endurance. Before heading out on your summer climbing trip, take some time to evaluate your fitness level. How did Spring treat you? Have you stayed up on your yoga and stretching? Have you eaten your veggies and gotten enough sleep? If yes, then seek out your hard summer objectives! If not, then maybe go for something a bit more in your wheelhouse. You can even try *gasp* strength training to get you ready for this summer.
Focus on exercises that target your core, arms, and legs as they play a vital role in climbing movements. Additionally, consider incorporating activities like hiking and bouldering into your routine to enhance your climbing-specific skills.
Where Do You Want to Go?
Every climbing location has its unique characteristics and challenges. So figure out where you want to go before you leave! If you’re a trad climber, then the alpine should be calling to you! If you’re a boulderer, maybe Squamish is your vibe. If you’re really into sport climbing, then it seems like it’s time for a trip to adult summer camp (AKA Tensleep). Researching your destination in advance will provide valuable insights and help you plan accordingly. Make sure you check the weather before you go. It can turn quickly, particularly if you’re taking some time in the alpine. Double triple check that you have all the permits you need, and make sure you have a wag bag handy!
Upgrade Your Gear
Your climbing gear is your lifeline, and it’s crucial to ensure it is in good condition before your trip. If you haven’t reslung your cams in a while, or checked your rope for coreshots, then it might be time to do a little check up. Inspect your harness, ropes, carabiners, and other protective equipment for signs of wear and tear. Make sure to default to the manufacturer’s recommendations for when your soft goods such as slings and harnesses, should be replaced. And definitely replace any damaged gear to guarantee your safety while climbing! Additionally, invest in a reliable helmet (check it for cracks!) climbing shoes that fit well (not too tight, not too loose!), and appropriate clothing suitable for the weather conditions at your destination. Don’t forget to pack essentials like a headlamp, sunscreen, first-aid kit, and a map or guidebook!
As the saying goes, “Safety Third!” but not really. Definitely not really. Safety should be your top priority when embarking on a climbing trip. Brush up on your climbing knots, belaying from above and below, and rope management. Keep your self-rescue kit handy and be prepared to handle unexpected situations. Trust in your climbing partners, and communicate effectively with them to establish clear signals and systems to ensure smooth climbing operations. What climbing commands do they prefer? How long have you been climbing with them? Make sure you have these things figured out BEFORE you leave the ground.
And always check your knot!
Practice Leave No Trace Principles
Climbing is a privilege, and it is crucial to respect and preserve the natural environment and places we love to recreate. If you can’t remember the 7 principles, here they are!
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Leave What you Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Others
Practice leave-no-trace principles by minimizing your impact on the surrounding ecosystem. Follow established trails, avoid disturbing wildlife, and properly dispose of waste. Be considerate of other climbers, and avoid overcrowding on popular routes to maintain a positive climbing experience for all.
Summer time is the best time for climbing trips, the weather is almost always good, the days are long, and people are happy! Enjoy your summer climbing trip to its fullest by following these steps. Get physically ready, figure out where you want to go, upgrade your gear, stay SAFE, and practice LNT principles.
By following these essential steps, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges that await you on the rock. Remember to prioritize safety, respect the environment, and embrace the joy of the climb! With proper preparation and a positive mindset, your summer climbing trip will be an exhilarating and memorable adventure. So, get ready to reach new heights and conquer the summits that beckon you!
Cover Photo Credit: Kate Sabo
About the Gear Tester
Kaya Lindsay is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors.
In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing. Since hitting the road she has begun a career in filmmaking and is currently working on her One Chick Travels series, highlighting solo female travelers who live and work to pursue an adventurous lifestyle. Her films have been highlighted by major brands such as Backcountry and Outside TV. To fulfill her passion for writing, she chronicles her many adventures in her blog. Professionally, she writes for the adventure sports company Outdoor Prolink and The Climbing Zine. Kaya hopes to spend many more years in her tiny home on wheels, Lyra, and is currently living in Moab Utah.