Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling. It is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber’s strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. Knowledge of proper climbing techniques and usage of climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. Dare you challenge on it??
Principle of Rock Climbing
1. DO NOT guide or attempt to teach other climbers when one is inexperience or without proper knowledge to do so as it might end up causing injuries to beginner climbers or worse, or provide inaccurate information or knowledge to other beginner climbers.
2. A responsible climbing instructor must be experienced, often carried out review on one’s skill to ensure the proper knowledge was being taught to fellow climbers and also have the no-nonsense attitude when it come to the rock climbing safety measures.
3. As a beginner rock climber, it is essential to acquire the basis skill as it is assurance to safe rock climbing. It will be advisable to fetch out money from your pocket to learn from the appropriate rock climbing classes or instructors as it is always too late to feel sorry when tragic accidents took place.
4. Be considerate while climbing as there might be someone waiting to climb the same route on the climbing wall. If realize the fact that it is too tough to continue then don’t feel shame to change to a suitable route that you are competent to climb and not change the existence route to accommodate your competency as this act not only deem as dangerous in term to others’ safety but also reveal your selfishness.
5. Climbers SHOULD NOT remove any climbing equipment from the climbing wall i.e. sling or carabiner.
6. Climbers should conserve the environment and do not litter around the climbing site as it will cause discomfort to others and most importantly, it will turn the climbing site to dumping site in future.
Rock Climbing Basics
Bouldering – The most basic of climbing where climbing a route with one’s own hands and feet and little more than a cushioned bouldering pad in the way of protection.
Top-roping – An anchor is set up at the summit of a route prior to the start of a climb. Rope is run through the anchor; one end attaches to the climber and the other to the belayer, who keeps the rope taut during the climb and prevents long falls. This type of climbing is widely regarded as the safest type of climbing, with the lowest chance of injury.
Lead Climbing – one person, called the “leader”, will climb from the ground up with rope directly attached to his or her harness (and not through a top anchor) while the other, called the “second”, “belays” the leader by feeding out enough rope to allow upward progression without undue slack
Styles of Rock Climbing
Outdoor Rock Climbing – Climbing natural rock formations with the proper climbing equipment. Climbs usually take place on sunny days when the holds are dry and provide the best grip.
Indoor Rock Climbing – Climbing artificial rock walls at indoor gym with the proper climbing equipment. It permits climbing in all types of weather and at all times of day. Used for improving climbing skills and techniques.
Bouldering – Climbing on short, low routes without the use of the safety rope that is typical of most other styles.
Ice Climbing – Climbing on icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water with the ice-climbing equipment such as ice climbing axe, crampon etc.
Basis Safety Requirement
- NEVER walk below when there is climber climbing especially children.
- NEVER climb or boulder below when climber climbing at the same route.
- NEVER step on the climbing rope.
- ALWAYS maintain the climbing equipment.
- NEVER talk or joke with belayer when he or she is belaying a climber.
- NEVER borrow climbing equipment i.e. climbing rope to others especially strangers.
- SAFETY i.e. belaying must be done especially climbing above 5 metres.
- MUST INFORM belayer to be aware of falling objects especially rock regardless of big or small rocks.
- ESSENTIAL to INFORM other climbers be aware of falling rope when you intend to remove the rope from the climbing wall.
Rock climbing Competition
Difficulty – competitors climb the same route(s) one after the other. Climbers must climb the route on-sight, they are not allowed to see other climbers on the route. Also, they given limited of time to visually inspect the route from ground level. The winner is the one who reaches the highest point on the climb; if several competitors reach the top (or the same high point) the time taken may be used to determine the winner.
Speed – On two identical routes, competitors race each other to the top. The first to reach the top wins the competition.
Bouldering – Competitors work through a series of boulder problems on either a time limit or an attempt limit for each problem. Points are awarded for completing each problem. In a tie-break situation or where limited attempts are allowed then points are awarded for the fewest number of attempts required completing the problem.
Basic Rock Climbing Equipment
Climbing shoe – Is a specialized type of footwear designed for rock climbing. Typical climbing shoes have a close fit, little padding, and a smooth, sticky rubber sole with an extended rubber rand. Unsuited to walking and hiking, climbing shoes are typically donned at the base of a climb.
Climbing rope – Ropes used for climbing can be divided into two classes: dynamic ropes and static ropes. Dynamic ropes are designed to absorb the energy of a falling climber, and are usually used as Belaying ropes. Low elongation ropes stretch much less, and are usually used in anchoring systems. They are also used for abseiling (rappelling) and as fixed ropes climbed with ascenders.
Harness – A harness is used to secure a person to a piece of rope or an anchor point. It is used for attaching a rope to a person and the majority of harnesses used in climbing are worn around the waist, although there are others such as chest and full body version. Sport climbers will typically use minimalist harnesses except with sewn gear loops. Big wall climbers prefer padded waist belts and leg loops
Belay device – Belay devices are mechanical friction brake devices used when belaying. It allows control of the belay rope while their main purpose is to allow locking off of the rope with minimal effort.
Carabiner – Carabiners are metal loops with spring-loaded gates (openings), used as connectors. Almost all carabiners for recreational climbing are made from aluminium alloy. There are two major varieties: locking, and non-locking carabiners. Locking carabiners offer a method of preventing the gate from opening when in use and normally used for important connections, such as at the anchor point or a belay device. Non-locking carabiners are commonly found as a component of quickdraws.
Chalk bag – A hand-sized fabric bags for holding climbers’ chalk and usually clipped or tied onto the climber’s harness for easy access during a climb. The chalk is not loose and usually in chalk socks or chalk ball. Chalk socks are made to allow some chalk dust to be excreted when squeezed or rubbed.
Helmet – A helmet is a tough item that primarily protects the skull against impacts that commonly caused by falling objects such as pebbles or climbing equipment. However, it is often a disregarded item of safety equipment that has saved many climbers from serious injury or death.
Crash pad – A thick mat used to soften landings or to minimize injuries caused by bouldering. They typically consist of a 2-6 inch thick foam section covered with a robust fabric covering.