Robbie Phillips started climbing when he was 15 years old as a result of pursuing a Duke of Edinburgh Award like many youngsters, he went to the local indoor wall once week, then twice a week, then three and so on.
Images: Finalcrux Films
Since his introduction to the sport, Robbie has competed at international events, travelling the globe in the process and now cannot imagine having never discovered climbing in the first place.
In 2015, Robbie took on the Alps, competed at the Red Bull White Cliffs contest and conquered both the ‘New Statesman’ & ‘The Quarryman’ climbs.
He has also started a brand new mini series, called “Transcendence”, focussing on him climbing some of the world’s most iconic rock climbs with a build up to his climb of the Eiger, a 3,970-metre mountain in Switzerland.
Robbie is eager to spread the word and get as many people climbing as possible, so has taken the time to offer up some top advice for beginners and how you can get involved.
How Best To Start Out
- Indoor walls are definitely a good place to start; they are safe, fun and friendly
- Anyone whose got even the slightest intrigue as to what climbing may be like should go to their nearest indoor climbing wall and try it for themselves
- Book onto a taster course with an instructor
- Book onto an outdoor climbing course or even tag along with more experienced friends from the climbing wall
- Whether it is on a small sandstone outcrop in Northumbria, a colossal sea cliff on the Welsh coast or in and amongst the snowy mountains of Scotland; being outdoors is better than going to any climbing wall
Clothing For A Beginner
- You need a nice pair of climbing shoes, it is important to buy a pair that are comfortable for your feet and not too downturned
- Try on a pair and if possible, have a practice standing on an edge with them
- In time, as you break them in, you will get increased sensitivity through the toes as the rubber softens
- A chalkbag is always handy, buy a smaller chalk bag with a waist loop rather than the larger boulder buckets available
- A harness is super important if you want to do roped climbing, find a good fitting harness with padded waist and leg loops for added comfort
- Adjustable leg loops are good for beginner climbers as they are easier to get the fit right before you have the experience to judge for yourself what will be a comfy size
- Make sure you have a nice pair of climbing trousers with tough material and a diamond crotch to allow for more range of movement in the legs
What To Pack
- Do not forget your lunch! A variety of healthy snacks is essential to give you enough energy to climb and recover fastest
- Take a couple of bananas, as they are a fast release source of energy with natural sugars
- I also take some carbohydrate rich foods like sandwiches or pasta which I can graze on throughout the day
- Keeping a steady intake throughout the day helps to keep my energy reserves topped up. I do not like to eat it all at once otherwise I feel full and then struggle to climb
- As much as water is the best, I also bring a flask of tea, the little buzz of caffeine it offers is sometimes just the boost I need for climbing
- The foundation of climbing technique starts with the feet, learn to have good precise foot placements from the get go
- Good placements do not only help prevent your feet from slipping, but they also give your body a much greater range of movement by allowing your toe to pivot more easily on footholds
- When you first start climbing it is common to want to run up the wall as fast as you can. Instead, try and slow yourself down, look around for the hand and foot holds and make movement decisions based on your level of balance
Do or Do Not?
- I say “Do Look Down!” It can be scary when you first start climbing, but shutting your eyes when you are up high is only going to make you less aware of your current position and make the experience of being up high more alien too
- Embrace the fear, embrace the exhilaration of being up high on a wall and learn to love the feeling of having nothing but air below you
Climbing Is Fantastic Because…
- It is not just a sport, it is a way of life!
- Climbing is not just for the younger generation; it attracts every kind of person
- The climbing community is an intelligent, resourceful and down-to-earth group of people, diverse in age, culture and economy; making them a lot more socially aware and accepting
- Climbing takes you all over the globe
- I have been to so many places were only a handful have ever stood before
- For me, the best places to climb are the ones that push me the most, are surrounded by beautiful landscapes and where I can share the experiences with my best friends!
Robbie Phillips will be speaking at the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show at London ExCeL, which takes place from February 11-14 2016: www.telegraphoutdoorshow.co.uk