Do's and Don'ts of the Climbing Gym

Mar 21, 2012Brooklyn Boulders


6. Fuel up and Bring a Snack

Climbing really burns a lot of calories and climbing on an empty stomach isn’t going to do wonders for your performance, especially if you are planning to be there for a while. There are a few food places around the corner and some places near by even deliver. If you’re coming straight from work, throw some trail mix in your bag along with your gym clothes. Water is also awesome as are snack breaks.

5. Do Try a Yoga Class

Climbers tend to have tight shoulders and wrists. One of the best things about the amazing yoga classes offered at BKB is that the instructors get it, since many of them climb. You will spend class stretching out and strengthening the muscles you use while climbing. Especially for people who climb a few days a week and who are trying to get better, yoga will help. Trust me, your body will thank you for it.

4. Do Come Alone

The climbing gym can be a bit intimidating. For people who just started climbing,  want to start climbing more often, and even for those who have been climbing for a while, don’t be nervous about coming alone. The majority if people at BKB are really friendly and very willing to give you tips if you ask them. If you need someone to top rope with, most people are pretty willing to let you jump into their climbing rotation. Just ask.

3. High Five People

Recognize someone’s hard work. Okay, so not everyone will be into actually high fiving each other. I just started V4’s and the other day I was working on a 4 in the back while a few guys worked on some 5’s and 7’s. When I finally finished the V4 I was so excited! It was the 5th V4’s I’ve done so far, not that they knew that, but they saw me struggling with it. Getting high fives from random people was super rad! There is something nice about recognizing someone’s hard work and supporting each other. I give people high fives and props all time. BKB is a community so when you see someone working on a route regardless of the level and she/he is super excited about accomplishing her/his goal, high five them or something. I see it happen at the gym all the time and it’s part of why I love BKB. The best is when you are working on a route with a total group of strangers, everyone really wants the group to get it, and you all work it out together. Group High Five!

2. Invest in a Pair of Shoes

For those of you who climb more then once a week, I highly recommend you get your own pair of shoes. BKB sells a bunch as does REI and EMS. They range from the $60-$200 and are worth it. It’s the same thing for anyone that runs. You don’t run in just any random pair of sneakers. You get the sneakers that fit your feet, are the best for the terrain you cover, and your running style. The same thing goes for climbing shoes. There are different kinds based on what and how you climb and investing in a pair will make a massive difference in your climbing.

1. It’s All About Community

I think one of the best things about BKB is the community they’re trying to build and it’s members. BKB is really open to new and old climbers. I think it’s safe to say that most people who are at the gym love climbing, are super excited to be there, and are really friendly. If you come during the day Monday-Friday you don’t really have to wait as long to get on the wall and there are less people, but since most of you are not in grad school and have traditional jobs, you will have to brave the masses from about 5pm-9:30pm. I do both, and while there are different waves of people that come during different times of the day, the one thing they all have in common is that they are very supportive, share the wall, and are willing to help you out. BKB members are very diverse. There is no common background, pretty evenly split gender wise, and a wide range of physical capability. There is room for everyone.


6. Don’t Come if You are Sick

I saw  a lot of people with cold and flu like symptoms climbing in the past few months. Unlike traditional gyms where you are supposed to wipe down the machine when you are done, no one really wipes down the holds after they climb. Take a few days off. If not for you, then for the rest of us. Thanks.

5. BKB is not a Day Care Center.

Don’t leave your kids unsupervised. I’m  not referring to the kids who are part of the BKB Beasts team or to the parents who bring their kids hoping to get them excited about climbing, –that’s awesome and I wish I started at an early age. No, those kids are well behaved and supervised. Key words here: Supervised and well behaved. I’m referring to the parents who drop their kids off and just sit around chatting with each other while their kids run around in circles and beat each other up in the cave area. Your kids make me nervous. Why? Because I’m afraid that when I fall off the wall, I as a big person, will squish your little child. Also their screaming gives people a headache, but you know that.

4. Guys and Girls: Don’t Rock Short Shorts.

It’s a gym. Wear appropriate clothing. We don’t need to be flashed and climbing requires some stretching of the legs. Keep it contained people.

3. Appropriate Times to Take Your Next Facebook Photo.

I get it. Climbing is awesome and you want everyone in your online community to know you tried it. But climbing to the top, spreading yourself out so now you are taking up even more space, busting out your iPhone and taking multiple shots of yourself hanging from the wall while there are a line of people waiting to boulder at 7pm (also known as rush hour on a week night) is really not cool. Just ask a friend to take a picture of you while you are climbing or at least do it on the practice walls.

2. BKB: Not Always the Best Place to Get it On.

It’s great a lot of couples climb together and I can totally understand wanting a partner who has similar interests, but making out on the climbing mats while people are trying to climb around you, not so much. This is not directed towards people who hug and kiss their friends and significant others. I’m talking to the people who mount each other on the climbing mats that I have to walk around to get to the wall.

1. Don’t be That Guy

You know the guy who doesn’t share the wall and thinks he is entitled to it because he does V7’s and V8’s while you are still struggling with V2’s and V3’s and then expects you to get off for him even though you have been working on it all day and are one move away from finally finishing, don’t be that guy. I sadly see this happen too often. Everyone starts from the beginning and we all progress at different rates. I played a sport in college and there was this weird rule about how athletes had priority to use the machines over non-athlete students. BKB is not my college and in this space there is no hierarchy over who gets to climb first or who has priority on the wall. Wait your turn guy and be just as mindful as the rest of us who are sharing the wall. You don’t need to ascend that V8 five times in a row and if you don’t flash it the first time, it doesn’t mean you get to keep hogging the wall. Share the wall and drop the attitude toward beginners.

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