Knowing how to cope with missing climbing during COVID-19, can both get you ready for future adventures and keep you sane. Consider also supporting your local gym during this time.
Written By Callie Bisset
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantines have caused emotional and financial distress for many individuals. Many of us are missing our daily routines. For those in the climbing community, this includes outdoor bouldering and near-daily trips to the indoor climbing gym.
Climbing gyms, on the other hand, were one of the first businesses to close due to the clear possibility of transmission through close contact with others the cross-contamination of the facilities. Closing has been a strain for all businesses, but especially burdensome for small businesses like locally owned climbing gyms. We’re missing our daily fix of climbing while businesses are struggling to stay afloat with no clear reopening dates. Since we are all in this together, here are some ideas on ways to cope with missing your climbing fix during this pandemic.
Don’t Cancel Your Gym Membership
Since most climbing gyms have frozen automatic payments on monthly memberships, there is no need to cancel your membership. Not canceling, means you can get back to your routine climbs as soon as this is all over.
Support Your Local Climbing Gym
If you can afford to, and your gym allows it, you might even consider paying ahead on your membership. Paying ahead offers the gym an influx of money right now when they need it, and it saves you the trouble of paying for it later. If you don’t have a regular membership to your gym, consider prebuying a climbing pack or even a gift card to redeem later.
You can also consider gifting a membership or a climbing pack to a friend that you’re missing as a guarantee to hangout post-quarantine. Maybe this is the push that your friend needs to finally try climbing.
Check Out What Gear Your Gym Offers
Local gyms may still be selling merchandise and gear for curbside pickup or online orders. You might finally pick up that new harness you’ve been eyeing or upgrade your old climbing shoes. Yes, you might not need new gear right now, but supporting your local gym ensures that they will have the funds needed to reopen. You may even grab a shirt so that you can rep your local gym on all those work-from-home Zoom calls, given office attire isn’t mandatory.
Check out any companies your gym may have affiliate codes with. For example, my gym partnered with So iLL to offer a discount code that saves climbers money and brings in a bit of commission for the gym. Our gyms do need us to keep supporting them through this time so that, when this is all over, we can all go back to climbing as soon.
Engage With the Climbing Community on Social Media
If you’re missing climbing, you’re not alone. Stay engaged by following fellow climbers on social media and seeing how they’re coping with staying home. Some gyms and influencers are even offering live-streamed workouts to ensure you’re ready to tackle new climbs post-quarantine.
The community is the place where we turn to lift each other up during these tough times. We’re all struggling with adjusting, so don’t be afraid to initiate these conversations. Post that throwback photo of you hanging on the top of that V8, and tag all your climbing buddies to do the same. Start, or participate in, an Instagram story challenge showing off your favorite route.
Build an At-Home Workout Space
If you have space to build a climbing wall in your backyard or garage, do it. Find a tutorial on Pinterest or YouTube to help you along. But, if you’re dealing with limited space, there are still so many ways you can construct a small workout area to train for climbing. Invest in a hangboard and holds to practice core exercises, strengthen your grip, and train for bouldering. Even without any gear, it’s important to keep up with some sort of strength training.
If you want to climb ASAP when quarantine is over, you’ll struggle if your muscles haven’t been worked out in weeks. Try to develop an at-home fitness routine including planks, pushups, and tricep dips, which can all be done with no equipment and serve as a combination of strength and core training to keep your body in shape and ready to climb. You might also want to consider taking up yoga to help with strength, flexibility, and balance.
Clean Your Gear
This pandemic has us all a bit more germ conscious than usual. When was the last time you wiped down your harness? Our gear gets sweaty and smelly, which is normal, but it’s important to take steps to prevent the spread of bacteria. Most gear can be wiped down after climbing with a mild soap or dish cleanser. I always use hot water and Dr. Bronner’s.
As far as your shoes, you really should only be wearing them during your climb. Wearing them when you’re not climbing puts unnecessary wear on them, plus they’re truly not that comfortable. Even with proper wear, depending on how often you climb, you may have to replace your climbing shoes every few years. Dirt and stains can be washed off with warm water and mild soap, and a deodorizing powder can help with the smell.
But if you notice rips in the seams or the rubber beginning to come apart, it may be time to replace them. Remember, it’s much easier to replace your shoes now then have to struggle with them falling apart mid-route.
Keep your gear organized and itemized, its one of the things you can do during self-isolation to keep yourself busy.
Creat Post-Quarantine Climbing Goals
Make a pact with yourself and your climbing buddies to appreciate climbing more once this is all over. How many times did you skip a climb because you were feeling weak or just didn’t want to be bothered? Let this time be a reminder of just how valuable your relationship with the sport is.
Make legitimate plans to tackle the climbs on your bucket list, or simply challenge yourself to climb more often. Invite your friends to do the same, and hold each other accountable. Remember how lucky you are to be healthy and able-bodied to tackle these adventures. We should all be planning what we’re going to do first when self-isolation is over.
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Though some outdoor recreation sites may still be open, it is recommended that we refrain from potentially dangerous activities such as climbing in spaces where social distancing might prove difficult. Temporary abstinence from climbing also helps to lower the risk of potential injury, which could lead to more strain on our already struggling healthcare systems, especially in the US.