Finding the perfect rock-gym community can feel like the quest for the Holy Grail. Conflicting schedules, lack of climbing compatibility, personality differences and shyness are all issues I have had to rise above to find my own climbing crew. Are you on the hunt? Don’t despair. With these easy tips, you’ll find your group in no time.
1. Community Events
It’s easiest to meet your people if you go where people go. (I know, I’m an introvert too.) Climbing gyms have a wide variety of events regularly. Find a few that work for you. Do you like climbing films? Trip reports? Happy hours? Make sure you’re getting to a few of these events a month, and you’ll find your tribe.
2. Gym Classes
Are you a beginner, just learning to lead or wanting to upgrade your technique? Classes are one of the best ways to discover like-minded belay partners and friends, all while learning some skills. Many gyms even have specialized classes—like women’s classes—that make it even easier to find your crew.
Do good and make good friends. Find your local climbing advocacy organization and get involved. You can help grapple with access issues, be a steward of your local crags, build relationships with land managers and even educate your community. I found my stride with a local climbing nonprofit that gets kids to rocks for their first time. It was a blast!
It’s your friend. Join groups on Facebook, try out your local Meetup events and post on forums. We are more connected than ever, and with the minimal amount of effort it takes to come up with a post, you’re sure to find some like-minded climbers. Just remember to be honest and to ask a lot of questions before you climb with strangers you meet online. Use common sense, and let technology work for you.
5. Bulletin Boards
Take it offline too. Those bulletin boards you see up by the lockers really do work. If you’re looking for a climbing partner, mentor or even a ride to your gym, post a note. While you’re at it, peruse the rest of the board and respond to some other requests. Build your community yourself.
6. Start a Group
Build it and they will come. Haven’t found anything that meets your needs? Do you want a group of cyclist-climbers-who-love-micro-brews? What about unicorn-enthusiasts-who-wear-tutus-to-climb? If you can’t find it, make it. Create your event, class, volunteer day, online group and post flyers on that bulletin board. I can’t wait to join you!
So it’s that easy. Go where people are, use the power of the interwebs and be your own community organizer. Happy climbing!