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July 3, 2019 Comments (1) Events, Rock Climbing

Boost Your Outdoor Climbing Skills: Gym to Craggin’ Event at Earth Treks Rockville | July 12-13

Isn’t it time to boost your outdoor climbing skills?

If you’re like me, the hours you’ve spent climbing indoors far surpass your outdoor climbing time.

It’s easy to get lulled into a cozy sense of security (and invincibility) when climbing indoors. The pre-set ropes and bolts. The soft, cushy floor. Often, it’s not until those weekend trips that we realize “Oh, yea. My life (and that of my partner’s) is literally in my hands.”

The fact that you totally sent that 10d in the gym isn’t going to help when your rope gets jammed or you’re on a sketchy multi-pitch and the rock is crumbling.

Or, maybe you find that while a 10a in the gym is doable, you can’t even come close to that level on real rock.

If we want to triumph (and survive) outdoors, we need to prepare ourselves for the distinct challenges of outdoor climbing. This two-day, affordable Gym to Craggin’ event will allow you to hone crucial outdoor skills in the gym and outside, under the expert instruction of AMGA-certified guides.

Gym to Craggin’ Series | Earth Treks Rockville | July 12-13, 2019

The American Alpine Club (AAC) and Earth Treks – Rockville are rolling out a series of training clinics, presentations, and an outdoor trek designed to help you transition from gym to crag.

The two-day event includes:

John Cardwell, pro climber. Photo: Adidas
  • AAC OUTDOOR CLIMBING CLINICS: Learn and practice the skills you need to succeed outside– including multi-pitch basics, self-rescue, and top rope and sport anchoring– in affordable 1 or 2 hour clinics taught by AMGA certified guides.

  • PRESENTATION FROM JON CARDWELL: Hear from Adidas athlete, professional climber, and climbing coach Jon Cardwell on the importance of mentorship in climbing and his journey from early (nervous) outdoor leads to eventually sending 5.15 (multiple times!)
  • SATURDAY OUTDOOR CLIMBING + STEWARDSHIP: Hone your outdoor climbing skills under the guidance of expert AMGA certified guides, and give back to your local climbing community (and win prizes!) through a stewardship clean-up project.

Bonus: An AAC rep told me there will be FREE climbing swag at the event!

Sign up for the Gym to Craggin’ Series training clinics and outdoor outing here. Space is limited, especially for those evening clinics. (For what it’s worth, I’m taking a day off work to really dive into the clinics. Sorry, boss.)

Read on to learn more about the training clinics and outdoor adventure.

FRIDAY, JULY 12 – Training Clinics at Earth Treks Rockville

Photo: Earth Treks

Learn and practice the skills you need to succeed outside- including multi-pitch basics, self-rescue, and top rope and sport anchoring- in affordable 1 or 2 hour clinics taught by AMGA certified guides.

The clinics are accessible to all climbing levels, from beginner to advanced. Whether you’ve yet to climb outside or you’re looking to become more confident and self-sufficient outdoors, there’s a clinic worth your time.

The event starts at 12 pm, with clinics running til 6 pm. Around 7, pro climber and Adidas athlete Jon Cardwell gives a talk on the importance of mentorship in climbing and his journey from early (nervous) outdoor leads to eventually sending 5.15 (multiple times!) He’ll be hanging around after the presentation to chat and sign posters.

Pro climber Jon Cardwell will speak at the Earth Treks Rockville event. Photo: Adidas

There will also be tables from various local climbing groups, some of them offering FREE climbing swag. The American Alpine Club will be giving away free Adidas Five Ten shoes to anyone signing or renewing an AAC membership. (Learn more about the AAC and the benefits of membership.)

Here are the clinics being offered. Most are offered more than once– check the sign-up page for the schedule.

Multi-Pitch Basics

Multipitch climbing is enormously rewarding, but it’s also a high stakes endeavor. The climbing team goes into a place where assistance and intervention are difficult, so it’s important to have solid skills in a multipitch environment. This clinic will demonstrate the basic array of skills an aspiring multipitch climber will need to learn, and offer a ground school format for practicing. An actual multipitch climb is a tough time to learn multipitch skills, but a ground school setting lets the team learn in an environment where their mistakes won’t be too costly.

Top Rope Anchors

Top rope climbing can be an accessible way to experience outdoor climbing, but it does have some critical technical elements that differentiate outdoors from indoors. In this clinic, we’ll explore some simple techniques for anchoring, and practice anchor cleaning in a ground school setting. We’ll practice an array of anchoring scenarios so that participants are prepared to deal with the different kinds of anchor setups they are likely to find on their first outdoor outing.

Likely Self-Rescuer

Self rescue courses around the country have historically focused on skills that are only relevant to multipitch climbing parties, and they focus on complex scenarios that don’t occur that often. The Likely Self Rescuer clinic focuses on scenarios that all climbers will likely experience if they spend enough time outdoors like: jammed ropes, rope drag, improvised rappel methods.

Sport Anchors

Top rope climbing can be an accessible way to experience outdoor climbing, but it does have some critical technical elements that differentiate outdoors from indoors. In this clinic, we’ll explore some simple techniques for anchoring, and practice anchor cleaning in a ground school setting. We’ll practice an array of anchoring scenarios so that participants are prepared to deal with the different kinds of anchor setups they are likely to find on their first outdoor outing.

Sign up for the Gym to Craggin’ Series training clinics and outdoor outing here. Space is limited!

SATURDAY, JULY 13 – Guided Outdoor Climbing + Stewardship at Carderock, Maryland

Whether or not you can make the Friday clinics, you should definitely get in on the Saturday outing on July 13. This is your chance to hone your outdoor climbing skills under the expert eye of AMGA-certified guides.

The $20 ticket price includes:

  • Bus transportation between Earth Treks – Rockville and Carderock, Maryland
  • A half-day of facilitated climbing with AMGA-certified guides and pro climber Jon Cardwell at Carderock
  • The chance to give back to the climbing community AND WIN CLIMBING SWAG through a stewardship clean-up project.

Carderock, Maryland is about a half hour drive from Earth Treks Rockville. Routes range from 5.3 up to 5.11 – great for a variety of climbing levels. Here’s how the Mountain Project describes the spot:

“A cliff band on the east side of the Potomac River just northwest of Washington DC. The rock is hard with quartz crystals and about 40 feet high. The area is top roped using trees and there are lots of hard foot work challenges. It’s a beautiful area in the hardwood forest that is peaceful, but very popular.”

Mountain Project

The guides will offer a variety of climbing clinics, including intro to outdoor climbing, climbing movement, self rescue, and top rope and sport lead anchors.

Sign up for the Gym to Craggin’ Series training clinics and outdoor outing here. Space is limited!

Connect with your climbing community

Another reason to hit up the Gym to Craggin’ Series? The opportunity to connect with a whole new group of local climbers.

We all know how important relationships are in the climbing community. Beyond having a phone full of belay partners, the mentorship and guidance provided by those you climb with makes all the difference in terms of motivation, skill level, and how much you actually enjoy the sport (see: Jon Cardwell’s presentation on Friday!)

Whether you join the Gym to Craggin’ Series for a Friday clinic, the Saturday outing, or both, you are bound to pick up new skills and connections that can catapult your climbing to the next level.

Sign up for the Gym to Craggin’ Series training clinics and outdoor outing here. Space is limited!

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