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when he was 12 years old exploring the granite slabs of North Cheyenne Canyon in Colorado Springs, Colo. Nearly 50 years later, he is an authority on the sport and the author of 19 books, most of them rock-climbing guides.

Green climbs around the world and loves to see new climbers develop their abilities. Just back from a climbing and photography trip to California, Green sat down with PopMech to offer these tips for getting vertical:

1. "Head for a climbing gym, " Green says. "Climbing indoors is easy and safe, and it's a great way to try the sport and see what it is about. You can rent equipment, get instruction, and learn basic climbing skills." When you get to an indoor climbing gym, watch the experienced climbers. Reach out to other climbers at the gym and learn from their experiences.

2. Learn the language: Rock shoes are shoes with smooth soles made of extremely sticky rubber. A harness is a belt that loops around a climber's legs and waist and has attachments that connect to a rope. A belay is a metal device used in belaying (one climber securing the rope for the other climber as he ascends) or in rappelling (a controlled slide down the rope to the ground). Locking carabiners are metal links that connect the climbing rope to the harness.

3. Perfect your moves and your rock-climbing skills before you head out to the real rock. Consider building your own climbing wall. That way, you can boulder, or climb to small heights, and practice your technique.

4. Once you feel ready to climb outdoors, recognize that climbing is a dangerous sport. The most advanced indoor skills don't necessarily prepare you for a safe outdoor experience.

5. To make an outdoor experience as safe as possible, go with experienced climbers. Hire a guide or take outdoor lessons from a guide service.

6. Even if you head out with a group of experienced climbers, don't rely on them for your safety. Be responsible for yourself. Learn to tie your knots, check your knots, tie them to the rope, and check your anchors.

7. Remember that climbing doesn't just involve the arms. "People often ask me, 'Am I strong enough to go climbing?'" Green says. "The answer is usually yes, because climbers use their legs and feet to push off, rather than their arms to pull themselves up."

8. Don't let a fear of heights prevent you from rock climbing. "Many people focus on their fear of heights and their fear of falling, " Green says. "I tell people those are two of our basic human fears, and they keep you alive."

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