Dealing with Self-Isolation as a Climber

© Alice Omrod

Recent estimates suggest that up to 80% of the British population will become infected with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and suffer from COVID-19 at some point. A lot of climbers may find themselves in the frustrating predicament of trying to prevent boredom while trapped indoors. We've compiled a list of activities that will help you keep your sanity and hopefully prepare better you for any adventures you plan to go on once normality resumes.

  1. Update your logs

    Make sure all your latest ascents are in your logbook, and check out your partner's ascents at UKC Logbooks.

  2. Clean your rope

    A somewhat tedious task, that is often put off. But a quick wash in the bath will get your rope sparkling. Take a look at our advice in this article.

  3. Re-proof your layers

    It can be hard to find the time to do this normally, as it means taking the layer out of action while you clean it, re-proof it, and dry it, so now is the perfect time! (Some useful advice in the forums).

  4. Practise some Yoga

    Return to climbing stronger and more flexible by making some time to focus on your body and mind doing some yoga.

DIY Hangboard  © Alice Omrod
DIY Hangboard
© Alice Omrod

  1. Create a DIY hangboard

    Even a DIY novice can have a pretty good go at making their own hangboard. With lots of guides online, it could be the perfect project to sink your teeth into.

  2. Have a virtual hangboard/board climbing competition with friends

    Link up with your mates via Skype/a streaming app and hold a virtual hangboard competition or game of add-on. If you don't care about competition, do it for the social and training benefits!

  3. Sell your unused gear

    Clear out the cupboard (and make space for shiny new gear) by working out what you no longer need. Unwanted gear can find many a new home, from charity shops, to people just starting out looking for a good deal.

  1. ... Or re-purpose your old gear

    From rope mats to dog leads, to chairs and more, you may find your retired gear still has a lot of life in a new reincarnation.

  2. While you're at it, label the gear you are keeping

    There's nothing more frustrating than losing gear, or getting confused at the crag as to what gear belongs to whom. A monotonous task, but it could pay dividends in the future.

  3. Improve your editing skills

    With two weeks off, you can achieve 3% of the 10,000 hours until perfection rule to become a master of photo/video editing!

Extreme plank – high undercuts, gastons.  © Nick Brown
Extreme plank – high undercuts, gastons.
© Nick Brown

  1. Build your core

    Unless you have your own in-house bouldering wall, it can be hard to maintain your climbing strength while in isolation. However, most core workouts can be done even in quite limited space.

  2. Binge on some amazing climbing films

    If you're not feeling well enough to leave the couch, enjoy the wealth of climbing films that YouTube and Vimeo (and others!) have to offer.

  1. ... Or watch some climbing competitions

    With CWIF on this weekend, plus a plethora of past competitions on YouTube (check out IFSC's channel), you can be kept busy for many hours.

  2. Add climbs to your Wishlist and find some inspiring Ticklists

    Browse through UKC logbooks to find climbs you'd love to do and add them to your wishlist. While you're at it, find some ticklists you hepe to complete one day here.

  3. Practise your knots and rescue techniques

    As you may already be rusty from winter, now's a great time to remind yourself of some of the lesser-used knots, along with hauling systems etc. for self-rescue.

  4. Weigh your rack

    Find out what is dragging you down, and maybe see if you can strip out certain pieces.

  1. Indulge in some fantastic reads

    From inspiring new guides, both rock and hill, to biography, fiction and poetry, there is bound to be a book you can thoroughly enjoy while battling the virus.

  2. Shop for new gear

    Hopefully you can still rely on the postal service working to get new gear delivered straight to your door. Check out our latest reviews for some inspiration.

  3. Do the physio you've been putting off

    We always find an excuse to not do quite as much physio as we could, so while you're self-isolating, try strengthening your rotator cuff, or improving the range of your injured ankle.

The owner of this gear cupboard wished to remain anonymous...  © UKC Articles
The owner of this gear cupboard wished to remain anonymous...

  1. Organise your gear

    There are some beautiful ways to organise your gear, and it can really save time when packing for trips etc., so why not take some time now to make a system that works for you, be that a cupboard or a pegboard!

  2. Clean your cams

    A toothbrush, some warm soapy water, and maybe some WD-40 and lube, and you can make your sticky cams feel as smooth as the day they came out of the factory.

  3. Browse through the entire Rockfax collection in the app

    With a subscription for just £4 a month, you can spend countless hours planning your future trips on the Rockfax app. Find out more here.

  4. Enjoy the ever growing number of podcasts

    If you want to give your eyes a rest, and enjoy some peaceful chatter, explore a number of climbing-related podcasts. From Mina and Hazel to Niall Grimes, Epic TV to UKC, a quick google search will keep you engaged for hours.

  5. Search through UKC photos

    With over 180,100 photos in our galleries, you can have your say on your favourite pics, as well as upload your own to try and reach the Weekly Top 10.

Got any other suggestions? Comment them and we'll keep this list updated!

13 Mar, 2020


Can I suggest UKC commission Mr Gresham, Mr Randall, or some other such training guru, to offer up a Self-Isolation Training Programme?

I know I can do finger strength, aero cap and even aero power on the beastmaker - but what about an cap and an power?! We await instruction!

13 Mar, 2020

And, after years of hanging onto it, I gave away of door frame training station only about 2 months ago. Why keep it when I'm so close to the climbing centre?

13 Mar, 2020

Or, just head out into the hills and doing some climbing, miles away from anyone except your climbing partner...

13 Mar, 2020

or go on your own.

or maybe even do something completely non-climbing related (yes they do exist).

13 Mar, 2020

Or go running, cycling, walking etc. Why sit inside doing crap stuff when you can be out on the hills and infecting/ being infected by nobody? I feel people have a funny idea about self isolation. It doesn't mean do nothing, it means don't infect anyone. For those who don't live alone, being outside might actually be better.

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