Yelp Affinity Groups are one of the unique ways that we make sure we’re fostering a happy and healthy workplace for people with a wide range of interests. We have numerous affinity groups that range from music enthusiasts to cooking clubs. In honor of National Parks and Recreation Month, we sat down with Brian Low, Yelp Reservations Account Manager and founder of the Yelp Rock Climbing group.
Being an avid rock climber for over 10 years and wanting to share that passion with others, Brian started the Yelp Rock Climbing group in 2015 with the hopes of planning fun trips with his friends and colleagues. Almost two years later, the group has grown to about 90 members and has successfully hosted dozens of trips to date.
How did you get into climbing?
I was bored and looking for something to do, so I signed up at my local climbing gym. I started in the gym and tried to make as many friends as possible that could teach me about outdoor climbing. Pulling on plastic is great, but being outside is even better! Before my first experience climbing outdoors, I sought advice from more experienced climber friends on how to stay safe. There are few things more rewarding than topping out on a route where you’ve climbed over 1000 feet. I decided to pay it back, give advice to others, and now I love teaching new climbers how to make the transition from climbing indoors to outdoors.
What’s the most memorable climbing experience you’ve ever had?
My most memorable experience was leading a group to do some trad multi-pitch climbing in Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows. This type of climbing isn’t something that many climbers have experienced because it’s very gear intensive and definitely not for beginners without training. On this trip, I led a group of Yelpers up “Holdless Horror,” which is a moderate route in Tuolumne that ascends 500+ feet of easy climbing with amazing views. This trip was the first time to Yosemite for some of the group, so it was really rewarding for me to share this experience with them.
What are your tips for climbing?
Safety is paramount! You won’t believe how many times I’ve been outside and seen something that could have had potentially deadly consequences. Bad anchors are the most common problem with improper use of gear being the second most common. It all starts with wearing a helmet. Someone climbing above might break a hold and send it hurtling down at your noggin. You won’t be on belay anymore if your partner is knocked out by rock fall.
Start with going to your local climbing gym. If you want to start climbing outside, I highly recommend taking a climbing anchors class and finding a good anchors book. Both of these are cheap ways to ensure your safety. Always refer back to my first tip.
Climbing can be very social. Get outside. Meet new friends.
Contrary to popular belief, climbing is not all upper body strength. Think about climbing a ladder. Do you do a pullup and then move your legs and feet? Move your feet, stand up, and then move your hands.
How has being a part of the Rock Climbing Group impacted your experience working at Yelp?
Yelp promotes a work life balance and the rock climbing group is evidence of that. This group has introduced me to folks across the company that I would have never met otherwise. I’ve made some great friends and climbing partners through it. I don’t like talking about work outside of work, especially with coworkers. However, I love talking about climbing. Once you get me started, good luck getting me to stop.