Trust, communication, mental and physical strength are all tested in this fantastic sport. There is nothing like defying gravity and facing fears to bind teams together. Here are seven reasons why you should take your team rock climbing.
There is a chance that not everyone in your team feels comfortable dangling off a rope secured in place by another colleague several metres off the floor. In fact we can almost guarantee it! But that’s part of why rock climbing is a great and rewarding team building activity. This very clear graphic explains the reasoning behind doing things outside your comfort zone… it’s where the magic happens! Fear of falling is like fear of failure, it is inevitable but ultimately you have to acknowledge it and continue in spite of it. That is how greatness is achieved both in your corporate career and life in general. And like fear of failure, fear of falling in rock climbing is quite irrational. You will discover when you are secured in a harness climbing up a wall with your belayer watching your every move from below that you are completely safe and secure.
You can tailor rock-climbing activities to your team. You can set a goal of how many metres you all want to collectively climb and encourage everyone to climb further in order to reach it by the end of the day. Similarly if people give climbing a go and decide they dislike it or feel physically incapable of doing it they can help with belaying or recording distance. However, not every team will be suited to rock climbing. If you have people in your team who are very overweight or have disabilities or long-term injuries then perhaps chose a less physically demanding activity.
Despite what you might think, the guy in the office who deadlifts everyday is probably at a disadvantage to the petite older lady. Rock climbing is rarely about pulling yourself up the wall in exhausting chin-ups, it is about pushing yourself up with your legs; a technique that will come naturally to those who cannot pull up their own weight. This means that the women and slighter men tend to do a little better than the muscular men. It is always good to challenge people’s egos in light-hearted ways, and rock climbing is the perfect environment to challenge your team’s perceptions of strength and their capability to adapt to challenges.
Do you trust your belayer? Clearly the facilitating staff believe they are adequate to hold you up on the wall as they have to pass a test before they can belay on their own. Still it is understandable to be fearful of entrusting your life to a colleague, but as Ernest Hemingway once said “The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them”. Your rope should never feel too slack, if it is stop climbing and check that your belayer is watching you, if not give them a friendly reminder to pull the rope tighter and to stay focused. Indoor rock climbing is a very safe activity but it will still build trust and good communication skills between climber and belayer.
Struggling your way up a challenging wall is very emblematic of your struggle to achieve your corporate goals (and maybe your personal goals too). Good things don’t come easily and only with the support of your teammates both belaying you and encouraging you on the ground can you make it to the top. Often things look a lot easier from the ground than they do when you are in the midst of it. A friendly piece of advice from below “theres a hold just above your right foot” can make all the difference.
Rock climbing isn’t easy! At the end of the day your forearms will be aching and your fingers will feel shaky and red. This is a good thing! It wouldn’t feel half as fulfilling or half as exhilarating if you weren’t mustering every last ounce of your strength to push your way up to that last hold on your final climb. The best part is that everyone is feeling the same way too. Teams bond over shared experiences, particularly those that are challenging but ultimately successful.
There is something very special about rock climbing that can be a little addictive! Once you get a taste for it and overcome some of the nerves, climbing from hold to hold, solving real life problems in real time becomes highly enjoyable. Some workplaces continue rock climbing past their team building activity and do it one night a week at their local climbing gym. Not only is it fun and interactive it’s fantastic exercise. So what are you waiting for? At Team Building Made Easy we have a few different rock climbing options including abseil/Rock Climb. Book in your team for a rock climbing team building session and see where it takes you!