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Starting climbing with a goal
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irishfan


Aug 31, 2014, 8:14 PM
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Starting climbing with a goal
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I have always looked at climbing as a "some day" activity and I am making it happen finally. I live about 30 minutes from an indoor gym in central Indiana so I figured that is where to start. However, one reason for starting is that I have a "bucket list" event of climbing Devil's Tower that I want to achieve. I'm early 30's and would like to get a year or two of actual experience and conditioning under me before attempting something like Devil's Tower. My main question is whether a novice person can achieve a guided climb on Devil's Tower if you work at it and set a legitimate goal of a year or so to make it happen? The gym I am starting at also does guided trips to Red River in Kentucky so that would be a great outdoor place to learn as well once I feel comfortable with my strength and basic skills. Any input on my goals or insight to make it happen would be appreciated.


lena_chita
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Sep 1, 2014, 6:34 AM
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Re: [irishfan] Starting climbing with a goal [In reply to]
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irishfan wrote:
I have always looked at climbing as a "some day" activity and I am making it happen finally. I live about 30 minutes from an indoor gym in central Indiana so I figured that is where to start. However, one reason for starting is that I have a "bucket list" event of climbing Devil's Tower that I want to achieve. I'm early 30's and would like to get a year or two of actual experience and conditioning under me before attempting something like Devil's Tower. My main question is whether a novice person can achieve a guided climb on Devil's Tower if you work at it and set a legitimate goal of a year or so to make it happen? The gym I am starting at also does guided trips to Red River in Kentucky so that would be a great outdoor place to learn as well once I feel comfortable with my strength and basic skills. Any input on my goals or insight to make it happen would be appreciated.

Guided climb-- for sure. If you take rope management and protection placement out of equation, the easiest route to the top is ~5.7, well within the abilities of an average person, definitely with couple years of climbing experience.

Things to keep in mind: Devil's Tower requires crack climbing skills. You will not learn it in the gym, and Red River Gorge, while totally awesome, doesn't have all that much in terms of crack climbing, either. There are crack climbs at the Red, but I would be very surprised if your gym guided climbing trips veer off into trad climbs, you will be probably doing face sport climbs, that are not really preparing you for crack climbing.

Still, I think it is good to start the way you plan. You will learn to be comfortable on the rope. You will learn to step on small holds and trust your feet. You will get general endurance and strength that all come in handy, regardless of what type of climbing you do. And you will meet people, some of whom might be into trad climbing ,and might be willing to take you along, so you can get a taste of crack climbing before you attempt it at Devil's Tower.

Good luck!


granite_grrl


Sep 2, 2014, 5:25 AM
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Re: [irishfan] Starting climbing with a goal [In reply to]
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Having climbed with Frank (owner of Devils Tower Lodge) and some of his guides the only reason why you wouldn't make it to the top would be because you didn't believe in yourself.

If you go out with Frank's service try for going for at least two days. He will often have a play/learning day where you will climb the first single pitch of routes to get comfortable climbing at the tower, and then a summit day.

It sounds like you are on the right track for learning climbing. While the gym is great for gaining strength, I would try to spend as much time climbing outdoors as possible. Some crack climbing skills would be nice, but if you can just get some time following gear routes and getting used to that style of climbing you'll be fine.


irishfan


Sep 3, 2014, 12:27 PM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Starting climbing with a goal [In reply to]
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I appreciate the information. There doesn't seem to be much around here to practice compared to what the tower is like but I do understand what you are saying about outdoors. From everything I have read it would seem that people who put in the effort on their end can achieve climbing even as a novice as long as you have a good leader/instructor with you.


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