Words by Brianne Schaer (Instagram: @brianneschaer)
Finding a climbing partner can be difficult. There are so many factors at play that it can seem impossible at times to find a match that’s going to work for you. After all, you are essentially trusting this person with your life! But don’t worry! It’s easier than it seems to find a good partner, and Sender One is here to help.
So what exactly should you look for in a climbing partner? Your partner should be able to offer a good belay, prioritize safety, be reliable, and contribute to the relationship. It is important to also take a moment to reflect on yourself to make sure you possess these qualities, so you can offer your partner as much as you’re asking of them.
Over time you’ll start to hone in on exactly what you’re looking for in a climbing partner, but for anyone just starting out or looking for their very first partner, here are a few questions to ask.
Can they offer a good belay?
This is possibly the most important question you should ask when looking for a new climbing partner. Make sure your potential partner knows how to use their preferred belay device properly (If you're top rope climbing at Sender One, you and your partner will need to be comfortable with a gri-gri belay device). Also note how attentive they are while belaying you. Safety and minimizing risk should be your main priority here. Don’t forget to always double checking each other before starting to climb. It is always a good idea to feel out a person’s belay skills at the gym before heading outside. This way, you can climb in a relatively controlled environment knowing that your partner has passed the gym’s belay certification test.
Do they prioritize safety?
Climbing is inherently dangerous and safety should always be the priority in any belaytionship. There are a lot of things that could go wrong while climbing, so it is critical to always consider the safety implications at stake. What started out as fun and games can quickly go south if you or your partner aren’t always working to minimize risk. Remember to always perform partner checks to ensure the climber is tied in correctly, all equipment is in good shape, and the belayer is using their equipment properly. If you will be climbing outdoors, it is worth considering taking a self-rescue course so you know what to do in case of an emergency. Whether climbing inside or outside, never leave the ground if you suspect there may be any issues with your system.
Are they reliable?
You can’t form any kind of relationship with someone who doesn’t show up. If the only thing your partner does consistently is show up late, then they may not be a good option as a reliable climbing partner. Look for someone who keeps dates and shows up on time. Unless you’re also a bit unpredictable. 😉
How to find a partner at Sender One
Now that you know what to look for in a partner, here are some tips on how to find a partner at Sender One. There are many ways you can find a partner, from attending meetups to joining a Facebook page. Take advantage of all of them to find more climbing friends!
Attend Monday Night Meetups
Our Monday Night Meetup on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at 7 PM! An end of event raffle grants free gear to those who participate and win. The event is free with a day pass or membership, and is a great opportunity to meet new climbing friends!
Join the Facebook Page
Can’t make it to Monday Night Meetup? Feel free to join the Sender One community Facebook pages! There is one for LAX and one for SNA. You’ll find posts requesting partners, offers on upcoming classes (LAX, SNA) and events (LAX, SNA), and, if you’re lucky, beta for the best post-climb meal.
Sign up on the belay finder sheet
If you find yourself at the gym without a partner you can always sign the belay finder sheet at the front desk. Make sure your request is noticed by asking the front desk staff to make a quick announcement that you’re looking for a partner!
Recruit a non-climber friend
If you're the only climber in your friend group, you can take advantage of Sender One's member guest passes to introduce a friend to the sport. Your membership includes several benefits:
- One guest pass per month for anyone (new to Sender One or not)
- Member Guest Day: bring a friend to Sender One Climbing on the third Friday of each month (must be new to Sender One)
- Every Day members can bring two first time rope climbers and sign them up for a free Intro to Climbing Class so they can learn how to properly belay, as well as tie the knots necessary for top rope climbing!
Just Come By the Gym!
The Sender One Climbing member community is full of friendly climbers welcome to lend a catch when needed! You can always meet partners the old fashioned way by simply coming to the gym and bouldering, attending yoga classes, or any gym event! Whether you're a new climber, or just new to the area, you will have new climbing friends at Sender One Climbing in no time!