Benefits of Climbing

There's No Better Time to Climb: Why you should start rock climbing in 2018.

NEW 1274-26.jpg

This is your year to become freer, happier, more motivated, and more connected to your heart, dreams and passions. Might I suggest rock climbing as the vehicle to get there. Where are we going? I believe we are going for the best version of ourselves, to be happy, to be content, yet hungry for more.

Rock climbers have a disease I like to say... It's called GSD - “Get Shit Done". Once you start rock climbing, you find yourself wanting more of it. It changes you. Here's how I would describe that process in 5 steps. For best results, be consistent for 6 months. 

1. Embrace the Suck. The first 2 weeks will be challenging. You will be using muscles that you never knew existed. The skin on your fingers will hurt. Your pride will need crutches because you're not as awesome as you thought. Rest easy and remember... this too shall pass.

2. Challenge Yourself. If your not falling, then you are not challenging yourself. Embrace vulnerability. This place of vulnerability (aka failing) creates strength. For example, a body builder knows that it takes resistance to build muscle. This could be the one sport where falling down is encouraged. The best athletes in the world get this, which is why they are the best. They grow to love the uncomfortable.

3. You're Not Alone. Rock climbing is a community sport. Everyone is a beginner at some point. When we realize that we all have this in common, there is greater freedom to be present. The rock climbing culture is very welcoming, encouraging and positive. Which is why the sport has exploded in the last 5 years. 

4. Show Up. We celebrate effort not performance. Effort looks like showing up. There will be good days, there will be bad days, and there will be average days. The bad days and the average days are victories when you show up. This might be a new mindset for some people. When you show up, you win- regardless of the results. 

5. Oh the Place You Will Go. Dr. Suess is right. Rock climbing takes you to beautiful places. Think about our local surroundings- Castle Crags, Mount Shasta, Lassen National Park, Humboldt County and the Trinity Alps. We are surrounded by beauty. Not to mention even bigger areas within a day's drive like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park or Smith Rock, Oregon. One could spend a lifetime exploring California, not to mention the world.  

“Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” - Paulo Coelho

Why is Climbing beneficial for Kids?

When I began climbing I often found myself wondering whether I was wasting my time. What on earth was climbing good for anyway? At the time I didn’t see all the benefits; all I knew was that a new part of me came alive every time I approached the wall. As a climbing coach and river guide I have often asked myself how these activities benefit myself and my students. Through the years I have found the benefits to be both diverse and numerous.  

On one level climbing is a fantastic mental and physical challenge. It is a puzzle to be solved with both the mind and body. Climbing problems are unique because climbers of different heights and overall body types have to climb the same route.  It helps you to develop an understanding of patterns and unique sense of spacial awareness. Furthermore, it provides a distinct type of physical fitness. First, climbing increases muscle and bone density; it strengthens the muscle rather than simply expanding muscle mass. It is a full body exercise, requiring more lower body strength and control than initially anticipated. It likewise requires great control and helps develop controlled movement and flexibility.  

On a whole other level, beyond these initial benefits, climbing offers what one of my previous instructors refers to as a “microcosm for life.”  It is an environment where kids not only develop mental and physical strength and endurance, but have the opportunity to develop character traits that will impact their entire lives.  Climbers, young and old alike, are forced to overcome obstacles.  Whether these obstacles are the physical challenge of a new climbing problem or a fear of heights, climbers are constantly faced with a new challenge to overcome. Overcoming different challenges requires decision making and helps students to develop self-confidence. Rock Climbing becomes the practice field for life; students can learn how to make decisions and overcome obstacles before they enter into marriage or the work force, helping them be better equipped and adjusted.

At Shasta Rock Club we seek to incorporate each of these areas into our programming, but even more so we have found that climbing can be an avenue through which kids learn to accept themselves. It becomes a “love language.” Kids learn that while they might not be able to climb a problem the same as someone else, they can still climb it their way.  It is a mental and physical exercise tailored to challenge students without crushing them.  At Shasta Rock Club students learn how to be distinct individuals with their own unique climbing style in the context of a larger team and community. It is a privilege serving our students and helping them to grow into their true and full identities.

For more information on our Kid’s programs, please check out the programs tab on our website. We hope to see you and children at Shasta Rock Club here soon!

by: Hillary Kline, the newest addition to the SRC team