For the eager climber, indoor climbing no doubt has its perks, and certainly its highs. That said, nothing quite beats the feel of real rock beneath your fingertips and the exhilarating feeling of completing a challenging outdoor climb. If you’re itching to get out there and experience it for yourself, it might just be time to plan your very first climbing trip – and why not consider the venture overseas to make it one to remember? Without a doubt, there’s a lot that goes into the planning, and there are a number of things that can only be learned through experience alone. However, we’ve put together a few tips you should know from the get-go, to help you ensure that your first climbing trip runs smoothly, without any hiccups.
- Choose your destination wisely
The destination that you choose for your trip will likely have the biggest impact on how you enjoy your very first climbing trip experience. As tempting as it may be to just pick a nice location and go, it’s absolutely vital to research the area before you set anything in stone (no pun intended). Manage your own expectations by familiarising yourself with international climbing grades and making sure that you have the equivalent for the levels at which you plan to climb, otherwise you’ll be in for your fair share of disappointment when you arrive.
- Plan your trip around the weather
Another factor to consider when choosing your destination is the weather. It really goes without saying that you’ll want to take every possible measure to avoid severe weather, otherwise you’ll be stuck inside for the entirety of your trip. Frustratingly, the weather is beyond your control, and trying to predict it can often be hit or miss. If you’re planning a climbing trip in a location notorious for mood-swings in the sky, such as the UK, pay close attention to weather forecasts. Though, you’ll find that you’ll generally have more luck if you set off to sunnier climates, where the weather is generally much easier to judge. It’s said that the ideal climbing temperatures are between 15-24 degrees celsius, so keep this in mind.
- Ship your kit ahead to your destination
Depending on your destination, you may find that you can rent your climbing kit nearby your routes. However, this may not always be the ideal option for some climbers. After all, once you’ve assembled a kit that works best for you, there’s nothing quite like using your own, so being able to bring it overseas on a trip is essential for many, and understandably so. With this in mind, organising how you’ll transport your climbing equipment should factor into the early stages of planning your trip. If you’re flying to your destination, your airline should allow you to carry your climbing gear with you on your flight. However, depending on its size, doing so can be surprisingly costly due to oversized baggage fees applied to special baggage.
Thankfully, there is a handy alternative. You can have your climbing kit transported to your destination with a shipping company, who can collect your items straight from your front door at home and ship them ahead to your destination so that they can meet you upon arrival.
- Choose your accommodation wisely
Depending on your location, you’ll likely have a variety of options available when it comes to accommodation. Some areas may offer hotels, apartments, B&Bs or even log cabins close to your climbing routes. If you’re setting off somewhere more remote, camping may even be an option. Though, when it comes to deciding where you’ll lay your head each night, you should choose wisely. If you really want to experience the great outdoors to the fullest extent, camping could be ideal. However, a little bit of luxury never goes amiss, especially when you’re spending your days doing an activity that is so taxing on your physical and mental health. Consider your own needs, as well as that of your group, if you’re setting off with one.
- Be mindful when climbing in remote areas
Climbing in remote areas can be challenging and exhilarating, it can really feel like you’re going off the beaten path and experiencing something totally new. However, as exciting as it can be, be mindful when climbing in remote areas. As far out as you may venture, be sure stay aware of your location at all times, and keep a note of contact details for local emergency services, should you need them. It may also be a good idea to inform the staff where you are staying of the area you are climbing, and to set a time for when you’ll be back.
- Take out adequate medical insurance
Taking out adequate medical insurance is important when travelling overseas for any reason, but this is especially the case when setting off for a climbing trip. Doing so prepares you for the worst case scenario, and although it’s unlikely that you’ll seriously hurt yourself on your trip if you strictly follow all safety precautions, it’s far better to be fully prepared than to be faced with medical costs that could substantially increase the overall cost of your trip.