The first question new climbers ask when they arrive at Planet Granite is how to find someone to climb with. Some people are introduced to climbing by a close friend or significant other who provides a convenient first partner. Many people who are new to the climbing gym, however, don’t have the luxury of a built-in partner. For these individuals, the realization that they need a climbing partner can be daunting. Even if you have a regular partner, it is nice to mix things up and climb with someone new once in a while. Climbing with new folks will speed up the process of learning the subtle techniques that are crucial in order to become a competent climber and belayer. What follows are a few ways to meet new potential climbing partners and hopefully make the process a lot faster and more enjoyable.
Longtime PG member, Javier, and his friends became climbing partners through a mutual love of crack climbing and sense of humor. Left to right: Javier, Christiano, Kaylena, and Guillermo.
If you are excited to try climbing but don’t have a partner yet, the bouldering wall is the perfect place to start. The routes are shorter, allowing you to concentrate on a smaller number of moves. Bouldering quickly introduces you to scores of like-minded climbers and lends itself to interacting with larger groups of people. These types of interactions often lead to climbing partnerships. If you are unsure how to approach a group of boulderers, try getting in line to start working a popular problem. Usually, other climbers are happy to share what they may have figured out about a particular problem and help you solve the puzzle.
“On a great day, climbing is an opportunity for us to be challenged and have fun, and our relationship as climbing partners I think helps to put those two pieces together,” says Josh, Planet Granite member
Curt and Andy have been fixtures at PG Sunnyvale as climbing partners for the past two years. They enjoy pushing their limits together both inside and outside the gym.
LOOK FOR A GROUP OF THREE
If the greater height of the rope walls is more your style, look for a group with an odd number of climbers. Ask if they would like another belayer. There is always a chance that the odd man out would be happy to get climbing sooner. It helps if you offer to belay rather than asking them to belay you. It’s all in the approach.
Javier gives climbing partner Guillermo an attentive belay right off the deck.)
BE AN AWESOME BELAYER
Chance opportunities to climb with new partners are more likely to turn into long-term partnerships if your belay technique is solid. Be positive and encouraging to the climber; you want your new potential partner to feel comfortable climbing with you. Watch the climber while belaying, and be conscious of the amount of slack in the rope. A good belay is the basis for a likely belay in the future.
“The goal is to feel confident when climbing with someone. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a fall or coming off the wall with your partner then they aren’t really a good partner for you,” says Zack, Planet Granite member
PG IS HERE TO HELP!
PG staff members Karen and Rolando man the Singles and Swingers table on Hawaiian night. Karen is known for her creative themes each month.
Singles and Swingers: At this event, we will match you up with as many different climbing partners as possible. It’s a great way to meet and climb with partners of all levels.
“I often see climbers who have participated in the event climbing together and becoming more and more confident,” says Karen, Single and Swingers host for PG Sunnyvale
According to Karen, one of the best aspects of the event is that newer people get a chance to climb with partners of all experience levels. Look for the Singles and Swingers table at your local PG every second Thursday evening of the month.
Partner Shout-Outs: You can always stop by the front desk to ask if anybody is looking for a partner. The staff will make an announcement, and anyone else who is interested can come find you at the front desk. This strategy works best in the evening when they gym is at its busiest, but give it a try anytime.
The master’s class crew. Left to right: Isaac, Linda, Andrew, Joshua, Eric, Steve.
“We met through the Masters class! Once the class finished, many of us were inspired to keep up the momentum and kept climbing together,” says Linda, Planet Granite member
Climbing Classes: Taking one of PG’s climbing classes is a great way to meet other climbers who are eager to learn and have a similar skill level and goals. Often, the other students in the class are as motivated to find partners as you are, and you can make plans to meet up later in the week and practice the techniques you learned in class. In fact, students who climb together outside of class, tend to progress faster and benefit the most. I hope you are inspired to get out of your comfort zone and ask other climbers to team up and exchange belays. Don’t be afraid to join in on the bouldering walls and meet some new friends. You will all benefit from sharing information on belaying technique and climbing strategy. The social aspect of climbing is one of the strongest bonds you can build in today’s sports. You will find great joy in pushing each other to succeed to new heights you never thought possible.
These are just a few of our favorite ways to meet people, but we have other programs and events too! Check out Beta Babes, our for women by women meet-up group, Bouldering League, an all levels friendly competition and any of our game nights like Trivia Night or Golf Night!
Amy Verret is a multi-faceted member of the Planet Granite community, doing everything from teaching classes to working behind the scenes while dreaming up her next big climbing adventure. On the weekends, she can be found scaling the grand walls of local climbing areas such as Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. She’s always ready to talk about long routes and gear. Follow Amy on her adventures on Instagram!