Indoor Climbing vs. Outdoor Climbing: Benefits
If you’re new to rock climbing, you may be wondering whether you should start by climbing inside or outside. While both have their own unique advantages and benefits, it’s often recommended that new climbers start indoors. Here is how to start indoor rock climbing for beginners.
Indoor and outdoor rock climbing shouldn’t be treated as either/or. Both are completely different experiences. But here is why we think indoor rock climbing is the way to go for beginners.
Indoor climbing is a lot safer than outdoor climbing. It’s a more controlled environment and we also have certified and experienced staff to guide you as you learn how to climb. We also have padded floors to land on, reducing risk of injury as you learn new climbing techniques.
Indoor climbing is a much more social activity than outdoor climbing, which is often done solo. We have a pretty welcoming atmosphere, with climbers of all levels supporting one another and forming friendships. Classes can also be a social experience since you’ll see the same climbers every time you go!
If you’re new to climbing, you probably don’t have any callouses yet so you may want to avoid rocks! They are a lot more abrasive than the material used in indoor climbing gyms. This makes them easier on your hands, allowing you to focus more on the climbing and building up your grip strength.
Indoor climbing is generally easier than outdoor climbing. You can find a variety of rock climbing walls for various skill levels, allowing you to start at the beginning and ease your way into trickier paths. It will be obvious which walls are for what skill level, whereas you are sometimes climbing blindly when you’re outside.
All Year ‘Round
Depending where you live, it may get too hot or cold to climb. When it’s snowy and slippery with ice you can’t climb outside (unless you’re one of those gutsy free climbers). You may also avoid climbing in a heat wave or in the rain. But with an indoor gym, you can climb all year round! Getting in climbing practice no matter the weather is a major plus.
Most people don’t live near outdoor climbing areas. A lot of them are pretty remote. Meanwhile, rock gyms like ours are often a short drive away. This makes it a lot more convenient to get your climbing in, especially when you have a rough schedule.
You need a lot more equipment when you are climbing outside. And if you’re new to climbing, you can even rent some equipment from us! This makes it even easier and more cost effective to get started.
Is Indoor Rock Climbing Better?
Indoor and outdoor rock climbing are both very different activities and neither is better than the other. It’s all about personal preference, experience, and what you’re in the mood for. While there are some purists who will only climb one way or another, you don’t have to limit yourself!
But if you’re just starting out, indoor rock climbing for beginners is the way to go. From there, you’ll learn an abundance of techniques and build up your strength, coordination, and problem solving skills so you can take on any rock wall, indoor or outdoor!
Indoor climbing is also a much better workout. There are a variety of routes to try, testing your strength and endurance in a variety of difficulties. It’s much harder to find a variety of routes when you’re in an outdoor spot. Outside you’ll also spend more time clipping bolts, setting and removing anchors, and other equipment-related techniques. This can be a bit time consuming, whereas indoor climbers can just strap on a harness and start climbing around for hours.
You’ll also find yourself willing to try more difficult paths when you’re inside. That’s due to the soft floor below you, catching you if you fall. You’ll be able to focus on improving your skills and building up your strength without fear of the consequences.
Is Indoor Rock Climbing Easier?
In short, yes.
Indoor climbing routes are marked, allowing you to figure out the correct path a lot easier. This allows you to plan your trek a bit easier and focus more on your balance and placement. This is a lot easier and less time consuming than studying an outdoor rock path for hours (or more) to figure out the best path.
Indoor rock climbing is also easier in that it’s just more convenient. You don’t have to plan a big trip to a remote area. You don’t have to lug around a ton of equipment. And you don’t have to figure out a path for your skill level. Instead, you simply head to the gym and find a wall that meets your needs or challenges you further. Even better, there’s a padded ground below you to ensure you’re safe.
Is Indoor Rock Climbing Safer?
Climbing gyms are a much more controlled and safe environment for beginners. While accidents can surprisingly still happen indoors, it’s much harder to get injured than it is outside. Like we said before, there’s a padded floor. But there’s also coaches and other rock climbers to give you advice.
And there’s no bad weather to worry about. You don’t have to worry about a rock being loose or anything else that can happen in nature when nothing is for certain. While this comes with its own adrenaline boost, it’s often just an added layer of difficulty for new rock climbers who just want to learn the techniques.
Want to get started? Join one of our rock climbing courses for beginners right here at Reach Climbing!