It is clear to us as climbers, that climbing is the greatest sport ever! But to an outsider, it may not be clear. Why do you torture yourself on that wall? Why would you squeeze your feet into those shoes? You could just go hiking! Well, we could, but for a climber, hiking is just a means of getting to the crag! Climbing is cool and I’ll tell you why!
1. Because climbing is healthy
Sport is healthy, but that isn’t news. Climbing is sport, but that isn’t news either! These days, we often sit in front of the computer for hours, ruining our backs at our desks, until it is time to go hang on a wall! You relieve your spine and experience a completely different form of movement. In addition, it promotes mobility and flexibility, strengthens your back, abdominal and arm muscles and if you also climb outdoors those “hikes” we talked about strengthen your legs and your endurance.
2. Because rock climbing is great!
The differences are clear. Bodybuilders have bigger muscles whereas climbers are slim or even wiry. Of course, strength training is also important for climbers, but climbers tend to use strength training to train antagonist muscles in order to make the muscles they need for climbing even stronger. Climbing doesn’t just pump your arms, but a whole range of muscles above your hips. Some movements even require flexible hips. Climbing is not just a fat biceps (which can be an advantage) but a mix of body tension, coordination and a balanced body. The fact that the kilos peel off and your body is aesthetically trained is a nice side-effect. Climbers do not just look great, their muscles are also useful!
3. Because climbing teaches us to focus on the basics
Think back to the last project you sent – do you remember how much happier that made you than that expensive watch or a new pair of shoes? Or maybe it was that hot meal after an exciting day at the crag or a warm sleeping bag and a piece of chocolate. Climbing reminds us how little you actually need to be happy, which also promotes awareness in everyday life – and that is priceless!
4. Because climbing often takes us outside
Of course, some of us are purely indoor climbers, but rock climbing outdoors is like nothing else! The gym is great for training, but the real music is playing outside! And how nice it is, after a long week in the office, to spend a weekend outdoors reconnecting with nature, which is the best way to satisfy our basic need for freedom and adventure. We leave our familiar, everyday environment behind us, lock our doors from the outside and venture into the unknown. Our senses are sharpened and the mind can breathe freely, without distraction, because you usually do not have free WiFi at the crag!
5. Because rock climbing is so much more than just a sport
Climbers are primarily athletes, but also much more. Climbing can also indirectly define a lifestyle. Sometimes you completely subordinate your remaining life to climbing. You might change your diet for climbing, buy a climbing trip-capable car, save for a new set of draws or friends. You don’t just go climbing three times a week, climbing is always in your head; you watch the newest videos of hard sends and follow the World Cup live stream. You doubt yourself when you can’t send a route, but keep working on it, which builds your mental strength. You fail and grow beyond yourself and then succeed. Climbing is far more complex than it seems. Most of all, you really get to know yourself and your limits when climbing.
But probably the most important reason for everything you do is because you have fun and climbing is simply cool!