by Jeff Thibeau
So you want to be a rock climber? Want to be the next Chris Sharma? Daniel Woods? Silvester Stallone? Well calm down because there is a lot to think about before you solo climb "Jumbo Love."
First, find a place to climb. Good resources for this include rockclimbing.com and using the route page to search your area or by using google. If you want to be serious about climbing it is a requirement that you have somewhere to climb at least once a week (in theory you don't have to go once a week but technique is half the battle and practice makes perfect). If you're not serious about this then put on your gym rented Black Diamond BOD, muscle your way up that 5.7 jug route and disregard everything I'm about to say.
As a new climber I would suggest climbing at a gym first to work on your technique and to make sure you even enjoy the activity. Gyms are more forgiving than rock (generally the crag does not have 5in thick padding covering the deck) and they will give you a good idea about your ability and limitations.
Next you will want to find a climbing partner. In my limited experiences it is a necessity that you have a partner that can go with you regularly to your preferred training venue. Not only do they provide motivation and company but you will always have someone who will belay you. Your partner will know your limits, abilities, strengths and you can trust each other with your lives.
After you have found your local stomping grounds and partner, just have fun! If you don't enjoy the sport don't invest in gear or training devices because it only gets more frustrating from here on out (sometimes). Get to know the people around you because they will be your greatest and best resource. Take advice and criticism and apply it to your climbs. And if you decide that this is the lifestyle for you then invest in some gear and keep on climbing.