Rock and Ice Climbing Boston Message Board › General FAQ

General FAQ

A former member
Post #: 10
Hey everyone!

We've been getting a few messages lately on the "how to's of rock climbing" and things of that nature. So we're going to make this thread a sticky in hopes to alleviate some of common questions. If you have any specific things you'd like to ask regarding general how-to please post them in this thread.

I'll kick some off below!

- Nico
Associate Organizer
A former member
Post #: 11
Do I have to be a good/expert climber to be a part of the MeetUp?

A: Heck no! As a matter of fact I'm terrible but somehow Geoff lets me hang around! Ok ok, I've been climbing for about 3 years and I've picked up a few things, but am certainly no expert. I think the other organizers are along comparable skill levels as well. But truthfully you do not need to really have a clue what a rock even is to join this meetup. All we're really looking for are people who want to have fun being active.

Is there T access to Metro (Everett) or Boston Rock Gym (Woburn)

Metro: YES! Take the Orange line to Wellington and you're almost there! Metro has a shuttle service from Wellington to the gym and its free. Hooray free! More details can be found HERE

BRG: Ehhhh kind of. If you take the Lowell line commuter rail to the Woburn/Anderson Station you're about 2 miles away. They don't have a shuttle from here but you can get a cab or possibly arrange a carpool etc. (just a general note, we historically have climbed mostly at Metro) click HERE for more info on BRG

What do all those crazy numbers on the routes mean? What is a route?
A route is just what it sounds like. Basically you will see a series of tape markers indicating which grips or "holds" you can use for your hands and feet on a route.
The start of a route will usually have a little index card and square of tape. This will tell you when the route was set, who set it, and what difficulty level it is. All of the markers should be the same color/pattern as this first marker so watch those hands!

The numbers are the grade or degree of difficulty in which the route setter uses to rate the climb. on Top Roping routes (routes that you must use a harness) the number is derived from something called the Yosemite Decimal System (YDS). At Metro you will mostly see ratings from 5.7 - 5.12 although there are a few 5.13's and MAYBE a 5.14 for all you pros out there. The lower the number, the less severe the climb. Somtimes you will also see an Alpha-Numeric grade for top roping like a 5.9a or a 5.11c. This is like saying "this route is a 5.9 overall, but there are a few features which almost push it to a 5.10" a being less severe, d being the most severe without pushing to the next grade.

Bouldering routes (shorter routes without a rope) use a different rating system but the principal is the same. These will start at "V.0-" and at Metro I believe go up to "V.6+" There are + and - signs which can also indicate a slightly different degree of difficulty within a grade, much like the alpha signs in the YDS.

Will I need my own equipment before I go to a gym?
Nope! First time climbers at Metro can throw down 23 bucks and a smile and recieve a day pass to the gym and all equipment necessary to climb and belay. They will also run you through a basic safety course on belaying and general hygiene. (okay, hygiene not included)

What is a belay partner? What is all this stuff hanging off of me?!
Well hopefully that stuff hanging off of you is climbing gear. The most major is a harness. This is what will keep you attached to the rope should you fall or let go of the wall. Next you will be wearing a pair of climbing shoes.. I won't get into specifics now about those. You will also have an ATC and a locking Carabiner for feeding the rope etc. Chalk-bag

A belay partner is that person standing on the ground holding the other end of the rope that is hopefully secured to your harness! Should you fall, this person will become a new best friend, if only for a little while ;) Most gyms can train people on the techniques of belaying and tying in.

PLEASE NOTE: There are quite literally thousands of different kinds and brands of rock climbing equipment. The above is a very basic intro of what to expect to receive as a rental package at most gyms.

Please post any more "Beginner Questions" here and I will add them to this FAQ as they come in!

Thanks and have a good time!

- Nico
Associate Organizer
A former member
Post #: 17
A good FAQ Nico. Definitely hitting many of the major questions a lot of people might have. If I may, I just was thinking of something that wouldn't hurt to be added.

Rock climbing (indoor or outdoor) is an absolute blast. It is a sport that beginners can get into and stay with for as long as they want because there is always something harder yet to be climbed. The Rock Climbing Boston Meetup (RCB) is proud to have members of all skill levels. We, of course want everyone to glean as much fun out of the sport as humanly possible. However, due to some pretty pesky laws of physics, climbing comes with some inherent risks. It is because of these risks that we take the safety of our members to an extreme.

If you are totally new to the sport, for your safety and the safety of the people you climb with and around, it is very important that you take some type of basic safety class as an introduction to the sport. To my knowledge, we do not have any AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) accredited guides or instructors in the group, meaning that none of us are qualified to teach you the basics. The people that are trained to teach you the things you need to know about climbing can be found at any local climbing gym or via this website. Personally, I'd be happy to refer anyone to some guides that I have met throughout the years.

If you have any other questions about climbing, please post them here. Nico I'm sure would love to answer them while I am out on the rocks! wink
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi all,

I still have all the nylon webbing to do the harness the old-fashioned way, but I wouldn't mind if anyone knows of a good source for a reliable used harness; that seems easier... I'm a 30 or 32 inch waist and I'm not sure how seriously I'm going to get back into the sport yet, so I don't want to make a major investment in case it just sits in the basement...

Thanks, Steve
A former member
Post #: 12
Hi all,

I still have all the nylon webbing to do the harness the old-fashioned way, but I wouldn't mind if anyone knows of a good source for a reliable used harness; that seems easier... I'm a 30 or 32 inch waist and I'm not sure how seriously I'm going to get back into the sport yet, so I don't want to make a major investment in case it just sits in the basement...

Thanks, Steve

Knowing how to make a harness out of webbing is an excellent skill to have. Many climbers today don't know how to do this even though it is an important skill to know in case of emergency.

That being said, I guarantee most climbing gyms won't let you use one for insurance reasons.

For a cheap harness, try the following websites:

www.rei_outlet.com - Sometimes has harnesses
www.spadout.com - Find you the cheapest Harness available
www.rockclimbing.com - Check out the classifieds
A former member
Post #: 1
...If you are totally new to the sport, for your safety and the safety of the people you climb with and around, it is very important that you take some type of basic safety class as an introduction to the sport. To my knowledge, we do not have any AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) accredited guides or instructors in the group, meaning that none of us are qualified to teach you the basics. The people that are trained to teach you the things you need to know about climbing can be found at any local climbing gym or via this website. Personally, I'd be happy to refer anyone to some guides that I have met throughout the years.

I'm a brand-spanking-new member and just wanted to throw out there the fact that I WAS, a few years ago, AMGA-certified as a top-rope instructor. (I even have the AMGA member t-shirt to prove it!) I have my own top-rope and lead gear (trad and sport) and would love to use it again. I'm not interested in teaching classes to newbies (sorry), but wouldn't mind offering tips to any intermediate climbers in my meetups (should they want them). :7)

A word of caution to anyone I might climb with: Because I've had a lot of instruction, I am HIGHLY SAFETY FOCUSED and won't let anyone do anything unsafe for themselves or others. Climbing is not fun if someone gets hurt. End of rant. :7)
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