The Dos and Don'ts of Climbing for Couples
Dating a climber can be super awesome, especially if they’re your climbing partner. You can plan ad hoc climbing trips and vacations together. You can have ugly feet together without anyone minding. Being outside together will rejuvenate your bodies, minds, and relationship.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably all too aware that there are downsides also. This article is here to help you get over those downsides by giving our list of the dos and don'ts of climbing for couples a read.
- Do be mindful of your partner’s abilities and mental limits. All too often, when we’re in a couple, we project our desires and insecurities on our partner. Being part of a climbing couple can heighten that tendency because of the intensity of the sport and because everyone’s watching. Maybe we want our partner to try harder because we know they can do it, so we’ll pressure them to stay up on the wall until they pull through. Or maybe we want our better halves to be just as strong as we are, so we’ll set a grueling training schedule. No matter what the intentions, be mindful that “no means no.” Respect that and stop nagging them to try harder.
- Don’t ever say, “just make X move, already!” or some iteration thereof. Our bodies are all different, especially between a couple that’s a girl and a guy. Flexibility, the center of gravity, skill level, and the reach of arms and legs will differ. Because beta depends on body type, someone that’s not your body type getting exasperated that you’re not trying out their beta can get super frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when that someone is your intimate partner. Either way, don’t take it personally if your partner doesn’t want to do your beta. Keep your cool and just be proud of your partner for trying to climb hard.
- Do spend quality time away from the crag. We get it. You want to climb hard, and you’ve both got projects. But overtraining is counterproductive. The physical and mental fatigue can lead you to hit a plateau, or even worse, cause injury. Professional sports coaches and doctors recommend taking off a good two to three months per year to prevent injury or burnout. If you can’t bear the thought of taking time off, take off one week per month at the very least. Maybe just climbing one day that week. During that break, you’ll have plenty of time to explore other things with your partner like finding a new swimming hole in the woods, socializing with non-climbers, or just getting to know each other more.
- Don’t be the jealous couple at the crag. Climbers have great physiques that can do amazing things. There’s nothing wrong with admiring someone else’s skills. On that same token, don’t be jealous of your significant other’s skills either. So what if you’re a guy and your girlfriend can climb better than you? No one cares about anything other than you having fun.
- Do be respectful by not sleeping around, especially with other climbers. Maybe this is just common sense. But climbing circles are tiny, and it really, especially sucks when you’ve been cheated on by someone and with someone you’ll have to see at the gym and crag all the time.
- Don’t be that couple that drags everyone else down with your issues. Climbing should be fun for everyone involved, including the friends stuck in the backseat of the car on the drive and hike to the crag. You’re outside, and the weather’s nice. Just enjoy it and leave that bickering for later.
- Do share funny stories about each other to your friends on the drive or hike to the crag. Some deep bonding can happen on climbing trips. What better way to bond than to share (and vent) about the less-serious details of your relationship?
- Don’t be that couple that exclusively climbs with each other. In addition to burning out on each other, you’d close yourselves off to learning techniques and having fun with other climbers.
We, at Butora, are always looking to better the sport, whether that be to give climbers silly (but helpful) tips like these, or providing climbers with great gear and safety advice.