Thursday, April 4, 2013

Climbing and Socializing

I read that climbing is a pretty social sport but I'm one of those shy guys who are usually afraid to talk to people. Most of the socializing in climbing occurs in the bouldering area but I'm usually top roping, since I prefer it more, so I mostly only talk to my belay partner. But another group of topropers has been talking to us recently. It's kind of nice to have other climbers to talk to. My belay partner jokes that they only started talking to us after we were lead certified because we weren't worthy before, but I think leading just gave them something to relate to us to start up conversation.

My local gym hosts a sort of bouldering competition every month for four months every year and I started participating in that. The reason it's a sort of competition is because it's based on an honor system and people track their own scores. But I'm starting to like bouldering more because of it. I do notice that there is more interaction in bouldering, with people helping each other out and giving tips. It seems like all the best climbers are always bouldering instead of toproping but it's a little intimidating hanging around great climbers. I like to call them the "cool kids" and I never feel "cool" enough to hang with them. But I was told, to get better at climbing I should be climbing with people who are better than me, so I should probably boulder more.

Another thing I've noticed is that the the climbers are usually grouped by age. You have the group that are mostly teens to early twenties and the older group, 40+. My belay partner and I are in between those two groups so it's harder to fit in. It seems like the older group likes to top rope more so we feel like we kind of fit in the older group more. I overheard one of the climbers talking about being a "nineties" kid once, which made me feel old so I think we are probably in the older category.

Climbing has been a great hobby and I'm starting to become pretty passionate about it so I want to get to know more climbers and learn from them. I just need to learn how to talk to people better and get over the fear of being judged.

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