Flo is a passionate climber and took the time to give us some insights into his experiences. He talks about how he got started, goes over the advantages of indoor vs. outdoor climbing and offers some valuable advice for getting started with the sport.
He also brought the CEECOACH PLUS with him on his climb and tells us why it can be very helpful to have a communication system with you, especially on the crag.
Flo, how long have you been climbing and how did you get started?
My parents planned by eighth birthday party at the Heavens Gate indoor climbing gym in Munich. That was my first encounter with the sport. I’ve been doing the sport more intensively for a few years now.
Which do you prefer: climbing or bouldering?
Definitely hard to say. There are so many types of climbing and mountaineering, and all of them have their own draw. I consider bouldering to be more of a social sport perfect for meeting up with friends at the gym after work. Sport climbing, on the other hand, is something I almost only do on the crag. When I go on long alpine tours or trad climbing trips, though, I tend to focus more on the overall mountain experience instead of just the climb. On trips like those, being able to master the grade is more of a prerequisite then the end goal. For me, each of the different disciplines has its own benefits. And I wouldn’t want to miss out on any of them.
Do you prefer climbing indoors or out? What are the benefits of each?
Definitely outdoors. But everyone needs to decide for themselves which one they like best. Climbing and bouldering at the gym definitely has its advantages! You have safe places to land, a coffee bar, you don’t have to hike to get there or pack in your equipment, the holds are conveniently spaced, it’s not as time consuming…
How often do you go climbing?
As often as I can and unfortunately not often enough. 😉 At the moment, of course, I can’t train at the gym in the evenings, which means I’ve upped my training on the hangboard.
How can you learn to climb and what equipment do you need?
In the beginning, you don’t need anything! Just go to your local bouldering center, rents some shoes and get started. Of course, you need to use your head. If you fall on the mat from a height of 4.50 meters with no control, you can really hurt yourself. If you want to try out rope climbing, you should definitely take a class first. Just ask someone at your local climbing association or ask at the gym. As climbing becomes more popular, the number of careless mistakes people make increases as well, from putting the rope through the belay backwards to getting the brake-hand position wrong. You need to always remember that you alone are responsible for the life of the other person on the rope.
What safety tips do you have for people just getting started?
Have fun and don’t stress out about the difficulty level! Your mind plays a huge role, especially when it comes to rope climbing, and getting nervous will make you lose your motivation fast. You’ll be tackling more difficult climbs faster than you think. 😉
What safety equipment would you recommend?
Safety equipment is only as effective as the person using it. The GriGri is one of the most commonly used safety devices in climbing. But, like everything, it has its weaknesses, too! I think that every climber should know how to use an HMS carabiner or tube belay device.
How was the communication with the CEECOACH PLUS on your climb? / What were your experiences using the CEECOACH PLUS?
Communication is a key part of climbing. There’s a reason why we use clear, short commands like climbing!, up rope! and slack! Clear communication can definitely be a problem, especially when the gym gets crowded. That’s where the CEECOACH PLUS comes in to prevent misunderstandings. The same goes if you’re climbing in the mountains. It’s pretty common to not be able to hear your partner and have to guess what you need to do next. Having a reliable way to communicate is not only important when it comes to safety but also to your own sense of wellbeing when you climb.
And if all of this has sparked your interest in climbing, keep reading here for more information and advice for beginners.