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Starting Climbing – What do I need to learn?

The lower half of a climber wearing a harness in an outdoor climbing setting with two ropes ties with a figure 8 knot and stopper knots

Starting Climbing – What do I need to learn?

Getting started climbing can feel like entering a new world. It’s sometimes hard to know if you know everything that you need, to keep yourself safe. For this reason, we’ve put together a handy post giving you a simple to-do list to tick off if you’re learning to climb.

To climb indoors using ropes (as opposed to bouldering) you will generally learn to do a number of things to stay safe.  

You should know how to:

  • Put on a harness correctly.
  • Identify when a harness is being worn incorrectly (i.e upside down)
  • Identify when a harness is not put together properly
  • Identify the different parts of a harness and what they are used for
  • Tie yourself into your harness correctly every time – usually using a figure of 8 knot with a stopper knot
  • Identify when a figure of 8 knot is tied incorrectly on yourself
  • Identify when a figure of 8 knot is tied incorrectly on a partner
  • Identify when a stopper knot is incorrect
  • Be able to belay your partner on a top-rope setup correctly using different types of belay device / ATC / Belay Plate / grigri
  • Know how, why and when to use a sandbag
  • Hold falls from you partner on a top rope, when the fall isn’t expected
  • Take falls on a top rope, as the climber

You should understand:

  • Communication using the correct terminology, so that you are understood by any climbing partner, even someone you don’t know very well
  • Why good communication is important when climbing
  • What could happen when there is miscommunication between climbers

This list isn’t exhaustive and there may be other things that you need to learn, so if you’re ever unsure, you should check with someone with more experience or with an instructor.  

**Climbing can be a dangerous activity.   You are responsible for your actions.  Visitors who use this website and rely on any information do so at their own risk.  You should always speak to a professional or someone with the right feel of knowledge if you are unsure about something related to climbing safety.

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