Rock climbing is a sport that has gained popularity among people of all ages. There are many routes and difficulty levels, which allow pretty much anyone who’s in good shape to have some fun and exercise, at the same time.
Whether you choose to go to a rock climbing gym or in the mountains, this activity a fun way to spend some time with the family or close friends.
Even if they are generically called “rock climbing,” there are significant differences between indoor and outdoor climbing. Each of them comes with its own perks and flaws, but both are just as challenging and fun.
Advantages of Indoor Climbing
1. You Can Work on Your Weaknesses
Do you have a hard time holding your balance? Or foothold is one of your weaknesses? Indoor climbing gyms are the best environment to get a better grip on these skills.
Moreover, you can work on more physical skills at the same time. For instance, strength and balance are continuously improved as you’re reaching the top, but at the same time, you can work on specific points like those mentioned above. This is the time and place to test your rock climbing abilities.
2. The Environmental and Weather Conditions Are Human-Controlled
This is, probably, one of the biggest advantages of indoor climbing. There are no risks, you can choose which difficulty you tackle each time, and you know what to expect from the route. Moreover, when you get tired or bored, you can quit and leave the rope at the front desk. It’s not recommended you did that, but you do have this possibility.
You don’t have to worry about rain or sleet covering the anchors or the boulders you need to grip, so there’s no need to worry about falling and hurting yourself as you’d normally do outside.
3. The Path is Already Known
Imagine standing in front of a giant wall. There are boulders and holes which you could use to climb, but it’s hard to create a route that won’t get you to a dead end before reaching the top of the mountain wall. You need to consider paths and check if you could cross them, there are some calculations you need to make there.
Now imagine the same wall, having a map overlayered, with the useful bulges and holes that will get you on top. You already know the path and you just have to follow it.
Advantages of Outdoor Climbing
1. The Movement is Natural
Unlike a fake wall, the mountain you’re climbing was shaped as a result of various weather conditions over a long time. There are no predefined movements that will get you from point A to point B. It’s all up to you to be creative and find the route that you can manage.
2. Many Climbers Reported It’s Easier than Indoor Climbing
Cragmama’s Erica Lineberry is one of the climbers who find it easier to perform real rock climbing than indoor climbing. This happens precisely because the movement is natural, and you get to choose the ideal movements combination that suits your physical abilities.
Oppositely, in the rock climbing gym, there are routes you must follow, and there’s little room for improvisation or diversity. Even if there are different levels of difficulty, you can find it hard to reach a specific bulge if you’re short. At the same time, if you’re one of the tall guys, some of the routes might not challenge you at all.
3. It’s a More Intense Workout than Indoors
Outdoor workouts are considerably more challenging than those performed indoors. You get more fresh air in your lungs, which helps pump the blood throughout the body quicker than if you were breathing indoor air. For this reason, you might feel like you got tired faster, but considering all the adrenaline, it’s hard to believe you’ll feel tired at all.
Where Can I Go Indoor Climbing?
If the climbing bug bit you, a climbing gym is the perfect solution for you. Because they’re quite popular, all you have to do is a quick Google search with “rock climbing near me,” and you’ll find a variety of gyms and spaces that encourage you to take up this activity.
Which One Should I Choose?
With rock climbing, there is no “one-size fits all.” You can be a pro indoor climber and have difficulties when approaching the most accessible routes outdoors, or vice versa.
If you’re interested in an active way to spend your weekends, then probably it’s better to try indoor climbing. Alternatively, if it’s the feeling of achievement when you conquered a mountaintop that fires you up, it’s better to go outdoors.
All you have to do is start with the most comfortable routes for each, and decide for yourself which suits you best.