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Cold Weather Climbing: The Top Tips for Climbing in Frigid Conditions

In 2016, about 4.6 million people in the United States participated in some type of rock climbing.

This sport is very popular and because of this, more and more people seem to want to get involved with it too.

One thing that everyone tends to think about at some point is whether or not they can climb during the winter months.

Keep reading to get 5 tips on how to comfortably do cold weather climbing.

Top Tips for Winter Climbing

1. Don’t Climb When It’s Too Wet

When you climb on wet rocks, you are more than likely going to slip. We all know that slipping usually means falling and when you fall, it never looks pretty. No one wants to get hurt from the rock climbing experience.

If you find that the rocks are really wet, it is better to go another route. No matter where you are climbing, you should be able to scope out a few options for routes to take.

Don’t climb at all if this isn’t possible because it may not be safe.

2. Don’t Forget the Gloves and Boots

Since it is cold, you probably will plan to bring gloves and boots anyway. Remember that you need to bring these items for warmth, but also because they will help you climb more easily.

Traction on the bottom of the boots is crucial. You will want to bring gloves that are light, but still able to grip and be comfortable on your hands.

Some people like to bring more than one pair of gloves to switch out during or after the climb.

3. Warm Up Beforehand

You should always warm up your body before you climb. This is true even when the weather is nice outside!

The reason for this is that when we rest, our muscles are not in work mode either. The muscles rest just like we do. In order for them to function to their best during the climb, you need to make sure that they are prepared for what you are asking of them!

Think about what you plan to eat and drink before a big climb as well. You want to stick with items that won’t upset your stomach and will still help you feel full for a long time, such as protein.

4. Plan for the Worst

No matter what, you always want the climb to go perfectly. The truth is that this is not always what ends up happening and that’s usually going to be okay.

The best idea is to have a backup plan or even a backup for the backup plan. This way, you will know what to do and how to handle the situation even if things go awry.

Bringing some extra climbing gear and supplies that you aren’t sure you will need, but doesn’t take up much space, can be a great idea.

It is always better to be proactive rather than reactive.

5. Pack Layers

Some people find that when they start to exercise, the thick clothing they brought with them is just too hot. It is easy to do this when it’s really cold outside, but we haven’t been moving much.

A good idea is to wear or pack layers that you can easily remove and add during the climb. This will help keep your body at an optimal temperature and allow you to move more comfortably during the winter climb.

Always pack the right climbing apparel. When it’s cold outside, it is a little more difficult to do this, but try to plan ahead.

Ready to Start the Climb?

After reading these tips about cold weather climbing, do you feel ready to get out there and test them for yourself?

Remember to always be cautious and pay attention to your surroundings while climbing. Don’t forget important gear and supplies!

If you’d like to learn some more about how some famous rock climbers handle their climbs, check out our blog post to see what you can find.