Tahoe/Truckee rock climbing: Don’t waste the opportunity | SierraSun.com

Tahoe/Truckee rock climbing: Don’t waste the opportunity

Parker Dial
Lake Tahoe Action
Sun File Photo
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LAKE TAHOE and#8212; What kind of life is it to ignore what you have right in front of you?

The opportunities for fun in the sun are here all summer long, and to walk right by them without a second glance is not the way to live in Tahoe. Being in the area offers you with world-class opportunities. You can do everything or nothing at all here and still be perfectly content, but the easily contented are not the ones taking advantage of the best Tahoe offers. Exploring the area you can’t help but recognize the chances for outdoor fun, but if you’re the person who looks at something and asks why, start asking why not?

This summer do something you’ll remember. Join those who look upon a granite crag and see the opportunity for a challenge and some fun, not just a big chunk of rock. That is what the sport of rock climbing is all about anyways. It’s about personal growth. It’s about those scenic views available nowhere else but from the top, but mostly the sport is about telling that voice inside of you that screams at you, and#8220;Impossible!and#8221; that anything is possible once you are set against it. It is a sport that embodies the essence of challenging you to prove yourself wrong, and that you can overcome anything.

Contrary to popular belief, climbing is not a sport that takes a lifetime to master. It is not like conventional sports that take years of training to become skilled.

Absolutely, there are the elite who spend their lives searching for the thrill and that can hang upside down like a spider and crawl up a rock as if it were nothing, but there doesn’t need be to be competition in this sport except that of you against yourself.

Take a class. Learn something before you get started. It is a dangerous sport to just jump into, but with a little training you can easily learn how to limit danger to a minimum and start enjoying what is around you. If you are local to the area, Lake Tahoe Community College offers classes nearly year round that range from beginning to classes that are aimed at the more advanced climbers that wish to learn how to tackle big climbs safely.

and#8220;Tahoe offers an incredible opportunity for people to start climbing,and#8221; said Jim Bittner, the head of the college’s Wildlife Education Program. and#8220;We offer low-cost quality instruction through the college and the opportunity for people to network who don’t know other climbers.and#8221;

Getting into the sport is easy. To begin bouldering, which is climbing the relatively small rocks strewn about the area, all you really need is a pair of climbing shoes, a partner and a pad. All except the partner can be purchased for about $200 at many local resources. If you are in the South Shore area, Sports ltd, located next to the Raley’s in the Heavenly Village area, has an ample selection of climbing gear. The Incline Fitness Center is more convenient if you’re on the North Shore.

Someone to climb with isn’t always easy to find. The rock climbing community is a small one and finding a suitable partner can sometimes be tricky.

This is where the classes at the college come in handy. Taking a class can put you among many like-minded people who are at the same level as you are. This can be your chance to find someone on your level that may also be looking for a partner.

and#8220;Once you have the equipment and a partner, the world opens up to you.and#8221; Bittner said.

Rock climbing is a social sport, you need friends in order to keep yourself safe out there, and also you simply cannot do many things without someone else there.

and#8220;I hate to say it, but it can be hard to find someone to climb with on your own,and#8221; Bittner admits. and#8220;These classes can eliminate this problem by introducing you to others in the area that wouldn’t be there otherwise.and#8221;

Once you have the basic skills, and someone to climb with, you are only limited by what you can do safely. It is not smart to run out and try something dangerous, even if you have the confidence that you’ll probably be all right. In this sport, minor injuries include scraped knees and fingertips, but can be written off as battle scars and worn proudly. The real injuries here can take your life.

There isn’t much in between when talking about the injuries that can happen while climbing. There are really not minor things that can happen to you if you take a fall from somewhere you don’t want to.

and#8220;Apprenticeship is a huge part,and#8221; said Lynette Mulvihill, who is a private guide who also teaches at the college. and#8220;Once you are confident in your skills and want to progress, you need a guide to safely do it.and#8221;

Books can teach you many things about the sport, and there are many available that offer the skills in theory, but nothing substitutes the practical knowledge and experience of someone who knows the sport inside and out.

The problem with this is that not everyone who knows wants to share this knowledge with just anyone that asks for it.

Mulvihill suggests once you reach this point to hire a guide. They can be expensive, running into the hundreds of dollars for a day trip, but the knowledge learned can prepare you for many of your own adventures.

and#8220;This is a sport you don’t need a lift ticket for; once the initial investment is made, you can do whatever you want.and#8221; Mulvihill said. and#8220;But unless you are lucky enough to find someone experienced enough to make it safe, hire a guide if you want to pull off the big multi-pitch climbs.and#8221;

and#8220;Climbing isn’t about conquering nature, it’s about adapting yourself to nature and overcoming what challenges are in front of you,and#8221; Bittner insists.

Climbing just offers you another excuse to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer. The views from the top of something you push yourself to finish are better than the ones offered up so easily and taken in by everyone.

This sport offers you the chance to get off the beaten path a bit to explore places inaccessible to others. It is you and nature and the beauty that nature provides. You get to enjoy a place you have made open by your own efforts. Sharing these views and relishing in a sense of accomplishment combines in a feeling that you won’t find anywhere else.

Opportunity

This is where Tahoe shines in the world of climbing, pretty much if you throw a stone here you’re going to hit another one.

Pick up a guidebook if you can’t find a place to go, the places within driving distance of the Tahoe area are so many that you can drive less than an hour and find a place to climb.

You want to use the resources locally available to you when planning your climbs. Talk to other climbers about where they’ve been, find out what you need to climb the crags that you want; having that simple knowledge beforehand will save you many headaches of trying to figure out what is best suited for your skill level.

and#8220;It’s all here and available to all of us,and#8221; Bittner said. and#8220;The opportunities to learn about yourself, to learn about nature and to appreciate its beauty shouldn’t be left alone.and#8221;

Get outside and do something that you shouldn’t be able to. Don’t let what Tahoe is giving you be wasted. Get outside and take advantage of the gifts that nature offers up for free.

Do yourself a favor. Go climb.