Getting Your Outdoor Climbing Date Right on the First Try
I’m not here to judge you because I know climbing is a powerful dating weapon to defeat your non-climbing adversaries (use your power responsibly, though). The dating game can be brutal, but if you’re dating non-climbers even basic outdoor climbing skills can give you a leg up and make you look a little extra edgy/cool. Being the strong rock climber can make you rather appealing to the opposite sex (for obvious reasons).
To the untrained eye, a slabby 5.4 makes you look as fearless and agile as Spiderman or Spiderwoman, as you daringly ascend your way to the top of the local single pitch crag.
You might be an avid outdoor climber that lives out of a van and breathes chalk, or you might be a casual recreational climber that only goes out on the weekends. Regardless of which category you fit into, we know that you’ve felt the temptation to drag your newest love interest out to a nearby crag so you can flex your forearms.
I’ve provided some tips below for taking a novice climber outside. Climbing dates have the potential to go terribly wrong, so plan accordingly. Further, be sure to thoroughly vet your potential climbing date before dragging them out to the nearest rock. Climbing is not for everyone and trying to force it could end in disaster.
It’s probably best to do a date climb in the gym first, but if you’re really eager to go outside you’re definitely going to need the following five tips:
Don’t Make it a First Date
This is an over-eager climber’s rookie mistake. As someone that has a long history of tricking girls into joining me for climbing dates, I can say that outdoor climbing is a horrible first date idea.
Outdoor climbing as a first date always seems like a good idea because you want to establish yourself as adventurous and cool. But a lot can go wrong, even on single pitch climbs, and you want to make sure your love interest is prepped on a couple of dates before offering to be their sexy climbing guide.
Save climbing for the 3rd or 4th date, at the very least hold off until the 2nd date. It is not the time or place to entice your Tinder date into an outdoor adventure.
Pick an Extremely Boring and Easy Climb
People who have been climbing for a while tend to overestimate the ability of new climbers. I’m warning you right now: If you bring that newbie on a 5.8 climbing date, you’re in for a horrible time.
Find a route in the 5.4-5.5 range. If there are no other options, you can venture out to a 5.6. Resist the temptation to pick a more difficult climb, even if the view is cool/romantic.
I once made the mistake of a bringing a girl to a 5.7 climb for our first date, she couldn’t even get off the ground to start the climb, and it was pretty much all down-hill from there. Don’t be that date.
Single Pitch Climbs Only
It doesn’t matter how fit or outdoorsy your new crush is, if you’re not a qualified guide and they don’t have experience with rock climbing, a multi-pitch climb is not a good idea. We have been tempted by the rock sirens call before to bring a new climber on a multi-pitch date, but you must ignore this temptation at all costs.
Attempting to impress your new girl/guy with an exhilarating multi-pitch climb can be appealing (I have found that the adrenaline released during a long climb can lead women to believe they are in love), but there’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of a long climb with a date who is frozen with fear. Save multi-pitch dates for individuals with real climbing experience. You won’t regret it.
Triple Check all Knots and Gear
Volunteering to take a new climber on an outdoor climbing date is volunteering to be a guide. You get to show off your fitness and expertise, but you need to make sure you have the skills to pull this off safely.
The safety of that human rests entirely in your hands, so you need to be completely honest with yourself and decide if you have the skills to keep that person safe—especially if something goes wrong. If you’re not willing to triple check knots and do not want to play safe, you should pick a different type of location.
Additionally, you’re probably going to have to provide them with all the gear they’ll need. So be prepared for that as well.
Have a Backup Plan
Truthfully, this is solid dating advice for all dates. A backup plan can get you out of a pinch if the original plan falls apart quickly. The weather might turn bad, your partner could have a panic attack at the bottom of the climb, or he/she might not be strong enough to make it off the ground. You definitely can’t put all your eggs into the climbing date basket, so have some things to fall back on nearby.
Hiking or other outdoor activities can still make for great dates, without the added stress and preparation necessary for climbing. If you discover that your date doesn’t like the outdoors, you should swiftly dump them—life is too short to waste time being inside. Kidding, of course.
Rock Your Date’s World
Dating someone new is always a nerve-wracking situation. Doing what you already know what to do is the natural route (pun intended) and a great idea. Nevertheless, getting to know that special someone and making sure he or she will want to hang around relies on how you can make him or her feel comfortable, have fun, and be relaxed on your date. If climbing doesn’t seal the deal, you might reconsider your options.