The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed for climbing and mountaineering. Climbing is growing in exposure as a hobby and at the elite level even though it’s been a sport since the early days of the post-World War II era and the Stonemasters of Yosemite in the 1970s.
Climbing will be in the Olympics for the first time in Tokyo 2020. What you won’t see on TV is the time these climbers spend working on their mobility and strength outside of the actual act of climbing.
If you are just getting into climbing I recommend taking a basic climbing class through the many great organizations in the Seattle area. Some people like to learn on their own through one on one feedback with climbing friends who they trust. Others like the structure of a climbing club or course of which Seattle has several. These include BoeAlps (the Boeing Alpine club), Washington Alpine Club (WAC), Kaf Adventures or the Mountaineers among many others. They also offer intermediate and advanced courses when the time comes and all of these organizations offer great student/instructor ratios.
You will find that the most successful climbers put time into cross-training to address the specific demands of climbing. It is important to have the core strength, flexibility and sport-specific joint muscle strength to reduce risk of injury, optimize performance and avoid repetitive load issues.
As a climber, I am passionate about helping climbers learn proper self-protection strategies by educating them on a proper warm-up, strength training that compliments their sport and rest management principles when needed. A biomechanics assessment can be helpful in determining whether a climber has certain patterns of movement that may put them at a higher risk for injury. This will include a movement screen which is important for athletes in any sport but especially key for climbers since they often access very end-range movements in their shoulder and hip joints. This is true for the beginner and the elite climber. Enjoy the plethora of goods we have in the mountains here and get the most out of your coveted time in the hills. On belay!