3 Excuses Not to Climb in the Summer and the Reasons You Should

Let’s not kid ourselves, Arkansas climbing can be brutal in the summer. There are plenty of excuses not to climb during the hottest months of the year:

Jungles – Once a year a nightmarish transformation occurs in the Ozarks. The seemingly friendly greenery laps up spring rain, eats sunshine, and then explodes into a daunting jungle of poison ivy and thorns. All the usual paths to crags and boulders suddenly require machetes and emergency blankets. They look like those scenes from movies that focus on a really menacing forest, and you know that no one should go in there but somebody always does.

The Gruesome Twosome – Heat and humidity. You always hear people saying, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Well oftentimes it’s both. Whichever one’s the culprit, it’s hard to get psyched when you break a sweat putting on your climbing shoes. But you’re not the only one sweating from the temperatures. The internal temperature of the rock you’re climbing is much cooler than the outside temperature in the summer. The rock actually builds up condensation which reduces friction and makes it more difficult to climb. It’s a herculean task to hang from a sloper on dog days. You might as well be climbing on bars of wet soap.

Creatures – During fall and winter you don’t have to worry about snakes, but in the summer that super cool walking stick you find could end up wriggling out of your hand. Every hold is prime real estate for spiders. While you see a perfect two-finger pocket they see a deluxe apartment in the sky. And let’s not forget wasps. Wasps don’t care if you’ve just stuck the crux on your project. All they see is an exposed armpit that would just be so perfect for a sting.

If you go climbing in Arkansas during the summer, you might not come back at all.

climb-300x225Obviously that’s a little extreme. It’s true that summertime in Arkansas is not ideal for rock climbing, but you can still have a great time doing it.

Learn to identify poisonous plants and wear the proper clothing for walking through think underbrush. You want clothes that cover you well, but are light and breathable.

Arkansas summers are hot but their not unbearable. Be sure to bring lots of water and climb routes based on the time of day that they are in the shade . Carry a brush with you so that you can clean your projects of moisture and oils from your hands.

As for snakes and insects, it’s never a bad idea to be aware of your surroundings and to check holds before climbing. Routes that see a lot of traffic have holds that can break due to constant use. Holds on seldom climbed routes can be brittle or weak just waiting to be broken by the next climber.

Plus if you don’t climb in the summer, you’re basically hitting restart on your climbing strength when the fall season rolls around. Climbing gyms are a good option for folks who don’t want to brave the summer but still want to climb. This summer you should make a point to hang up your excuses and pick up your climbing shoes!

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