SAVE MONEY WHEN YOU'RE LEARNING
Participating in a guided climb is the safest and most cost-effective way to get your feet wet. Each of the schools has highly trained, professional guides who ensure a safe, fun and smooth progression through rock climbing.
"You want to hire a guide for your first lesson if you're climbing real rocks, and the reason for that is there's a lot of equipment involved," said Jenny Fellows, who founded NASTC in 1994 with her husband, Chris Fellows.
"Before deciding to dive into the sport you can test it out with a guide school, rent the harness, slippers, chalk bag, group gear and helmet and the school provides all of the ropes, hardware and everything else needed."
NASTC brings climbers to Donner Summit, one of the world's top rock climbing areas featuring beautiful granite rock faces. Fellows emphasized the importance of safety when learning to climb.
"I'd say a step-by-step progression is important when learning; we firmly believe the progression plants the seed for safe and fun rock climbing," she said.
Fellows said kids naturally make fantastic climbers and NASTC recommends climbing for kids starting with a half-day adventure. Guided climbing activities allow people to enjoy the outdoors while motivating and supporting family and friends.
ASI brings climbers to local climbing zones as well as rocks all over the world. They believe that though accidents can happen they are completely preventable and echoed the same safety and cost saving perks, "I think people should be introduced to it correctly with a guide or an instructor because it can be a dangerous sport," said Mimi Valdasz, owner of ASI since 1979.
"Once you're outside and don't have someone who knows how good an anchor is you're trusting someone who doesn't have that knowledge and anything can happen; but if you're trained properly you'll safely be able to have fun and keep others safe," she said.
Another important component of learning any new sport is building confidence through doing. Guided tours offer people the chance to slowly attempt new challenges.
"It's a supportive environment," Valdasz said. "You can see if climbing is something you like, rather than scaring someone away. Saying 'let's just go hang off a rope' is like saying, 'let's just go hike up the Palisades, you can do it!' …No, you need to build up to it and gain confidence, you get better, feel better and look at life differently."