Climbing in a Time of Coronavirus: Welcome to the (Virtual) Party

Oh, those were the days… Climbing outdoors. On rock. With other people. (photo by Deb Mohan)

Hello AMC friends:

Well, after a week spent cancelling climbing classes, cancelling outdoor climbs, cancelling climbing gym sessions, cancelling climbing clean-up, and cancelling socializing-with-other-climbers, some of us had the idea that maybe we could start something for a change, instead of just cancelling everything. (And by “some of us,” we mean Ann. It was Ann’s idea.)

Yes, this is a hard time and a challenging time, but climbers seek out hard spots and challenges on purpose, do we not? We also seek out other climbers, but that’s a bad idea right now. So we decided to make a virtual AMC community center, where we can all share beta on how to keep the climbing going during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So welcome to the virtual party!

We’ll post some fun things here every week and, in between, we’d love to hear what you’re doing and to see your suggestions. To start, we rounded up some links to keep the stoke — and the muscles — strong.

Let’s start with the obvious: Is it okay to go climbing? Here’s the take from

American Alpine Club also has an opinion about this topic.

As does the Access Fund.

TL;DR: This is not the best time to climb. We need to radically restrict contact with other people to reduce the spread of this virus. If you must climb, don’t travel far, avoid crowds, and climb super-conservatively to avoid any injury that might require medical services.

Okay, so heading to the Creek is a bad idea. But if you’re staying close to home—i.e.: staying IN your home—how are you going to stay in climbing shape? We’ve got ideas for you! Several are courtesy of Chris Adams, who is basically made of fitness tips. In fact, although he shared some great workout links here, he says his own current at-home training program is “eating cake.” Another great tip, Chris!

Lattice Training always has lots of great videos and has been busily adding more to help us all out. Check out their YouTube channel for the full roster, or just start with their tips on Adapting your climbing training for home and their Six-minute core workout for climbers.

REI offers a cross-training workout for climbers that requires nothing more than a resistance band and weights.

For a more advanced workout, Movement for Climbers has put together an at-home workout to build and preserve strength.

Uphill Athlete also wrote a guide to fitness and motivation during the Coronavirus crisis (with a downloadable Killer Core workout).

Training Beta has tips for climbing training during COVID-19 by Matt Pincus.

And if you have (or can make!) a hangboard, check out Training Beta’s finger training program from Dr. Tyler Nelson.

Speaking of hangboards, Power Company Climbing offers some hangboard tips for this housebound moment.

Or, if you have suspension straps (a.k.a. TRX), check out ‘s 15-minute training routine using suspension straps.

Training Beta also has a short-list of TRX exercises as well as Mark Campbell’s Core Workout for Climbers.

Okay, but what if you don’t have a hangboard or suspension straps? Well, the gear sales started this weekend, and home delivery is still an option. But you’re stuck at home and you need a project, so why not make your own?

Got some woodworking tools? Make your own hangboard!

No router? Here’s a simpler option.

Or order up some plastic holds and T-nuts and go to town! (We mean that figuratively. Don’t really go to town. Stay home.)

Make your own suspension trainers with just some webbing (and optional PVC pipe).

Or, hey, if you’ve got the space, time, and materials, why not build your own bouldering wall and social-distance in style?

Are you tired yet? If not, go back and try that Killer Core Workout. It’s almost as exhausting as eating cake. But when you’re ready for some down time, you can at least watch other people climbing. In the pre-COVID-19 days, of course.

If you’re missing the mountains, check out Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies. (Yes, this one’s from Ann.)

Speaking of Canada, the Banff Film Festival put several of the 2019/20 World Tour Films online for free.

And did you know that Reel Rock has several past season films available for free streaming?

If real-life climbing isn’t thrilling enough for you, you can trust Hollywood to turn things up to 11. And you can trust Alex Honnold to break it back down as he reviews some classic rock climbing scenes for GQ.

Or you can just do your own review of Gripped. So far it’s only a trailer, but that might be enough. The only way down…is up.

Lastly, even though this is not (repeat: NOT) the time to visit our National Parks, SubparParks continues to celebrate the, um, love that people have for America’s most iconic places by illustrating one-star park reviews.

Pandemic or no, we still have lots of love for you, our fellow climbers and AMC members. And we send five stars to those of you who are working on the front lines right now in healthcare, emergency services, law enforcement, support services, grocery stores and all of the other critical roles that are taking care of the rest of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And be safe.

So now it’s your turn. What you’re doing to take care of yourselves right now? And if you have ideas for resources to share, post them in the comments. We can’t wait to see what you’re up to.

Isolate on!
Ann and Andrea

Author: Andrea Galyean

11 thoughts on “Climbing in a Time of Coronavirus: Welcome to the (Virtual) Party

    1. Not to be too much the voice of reason, but you also need to get back down… Unless you’re planning to self-isolate in the wilderness for the remainder of this, which I don’t think is currently recommended.

  1. Love this! Great idea, Ann and terrific write-up, Andrea. 🙂 With the extra downtime, I’ve been dreaming about building my own rock climbing wall – an outlandish idea given that changing light bulbs and filters around the house is more my speed. Although I did do some work on the RO system once. It required some towels, yes, but it was still more technical than a light bulb replacement. And, I know YouTube must have countless tutorials on building rock walls, so, there is that.

    Or I could just dive into the links offered in this blog. Perhaps I’ll do that. 😉 Thanks again for providing everyone a space to “hang out”.

    1. Oooh! Good link. Thanks for that one. And get that core strong, Matt. We’re gonna have a climbing date again someday.

  2. As one who has been to many of the National Parks and Monuments, I loved the link to the “Subpar Parks”. Funny stuff that should be made into T-shirts!
    Great job by you gals, many thanks!

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