Rock Climbing Are You Up For It

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When most people hear someone talk about rock climbing, they either feel a cringe in their spine or a rush of adrenaline throughout their entire body. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which of the two is the rock climber. Rock climbing is definitely a sport that isn’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the few sports where a bad performance could possibly mean death to the participant. So why do it?

Climbers on
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There are several reasons that a person would consider rock climbing as the recreation activity of choice. Each individual will of course have their own version of why they decided to take on this physically and mentally challenging sport. This is an activity which is certainly not for the physically unfit, or those who could be described as timid.

Okay, so a rock climber has to be strong and outgoing, but there’s much more to it than just those two personality traits. Let’s take a look at what type of a person makes a good rock climber.

First, before anything else, they must have the desire to go rock climbing. This tells us the individual is an outgoing person who has no issues going toe to toe with incredibly difficult tasks. They must also have no problem taking a leadership role, as being the lead in rock climbing is a tremendous responsibility. The lead climber must make the decision on which route to take up the climb, as well as the placement of the safety devices into the rock for others to follow.

Secondly, rock climbing requires great strength and endurance. Sometimes the climber’s weight may be held entirely on just a few finger tips, and believe me this is no time to doubt the strength in your hands. Upper body strength is also crucial for scaling the vertical rock walls and overhangs. It’s for these reasons that a specialized physical training regimen is a must for rock climbing. This can include, but is not limited to aerobics, high repetition/low weight training and hand strengthening exercises.

Finally, rock climbing is a very mental sport. It’s a sport which takes patience. The climber can never get in a hurry to move up the precipice, for they can endanger their life, as well as any others who may be on the climb. One move at a time, slowly inching up the stony surface, stopping to place one anchor after another, such is the movement of the rock climber.

As patient as the climber is, he must also be persistent. When you’ve climbed 175 feet straight up, (sometimes inches at a time) you must be willing to go the extra distance to get to the top no matter how far it looms ahead. Just ask any seasoned rock climber and they’ll probably tell you, the only way down is up.

So there you have a glimpse of what type of individual makes a good rock climber. Did you see any traits that resembled you in any way? Rock climbing is a very arduous and sometimes downright dangerous activity, there’s no arguing the point. However, according to those who pursue this sport, there is nothing more empowering than conquering what most people cringe to even think about. So what about you, are you up to the challenge to not only conquer the rock, but maybe also a part of yourself?

About the Author
John Taylor is an Outdoor Instructor and Mountain Leader. Get more Rock Climbing Answers from:

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Rock Climbing Are You Up For It

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Comments (0) Dec 04 2009

Tips For Rock Climbing

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Climbing is rarely about actual strength. Of course strength helps but the better and more experienced you get you’ll find that balance and technique are FAR more important. Climbing well does not always mean getting to the top. Climbing is about being in control, moving decisively and fluidly up the rock and not thrashing and scrambling.

Climbing the back side of Muldoon, at Mount Arapiles, in western Victoria, AustraliaWork on balance and overall strength and not on building large muscle groups. Build your heart rate and work on finger strength.

There are three types of climbing. Trad (traditional) climbing is identified as routes where you must place you own safety gear. You are free climbing and using combinations of stoppers, cams, hexes and even pitons as protection. Sport climbing is usually short face climbs (though they can be milti pitch) using all bolts. Bouldering is done without ropes and done on free standing boulders. These routes are between 3 and maybe 20 moves; they are practice for sport climbing and often involve gymnastic or dynamic moves. The rating system in the US is called the Yosemite System and goes from 5.0 to 5.14. Ratings at 5.10 and above also include letters 5.10a, 5.10b, 5.10c, 5.10d, and 5.11. Boulders are rated with V1-5 based on difficulty.

Question on leading a trad route – say you start a route placing gear as you go. You get halfway up and can’t get past a crux, so you drop down. Now, how would you get the gear out that on the in the wall? (i.e. the top piece that you came down on.)? You don’t. Unless, you can walk to the top and rappel down to retrieve your gear. Be careful when lowering off climbs on one piece of equipment, that fails, you die! Better to lead trad routes several grades below your ability level.

Why does most mountaineering guides require you to have plastic boots instead of leather? Simply, the warmth, plastic boots have several layers and are quite a bit warmer. Most guide services do not want to deal with any frostbite problems while guiding. As a beginner/recreational climber…find a size that is snug…but comfortable. If you could not wear the shoes for one hour without discomfort….then the shoes are too tight.

I have been climbing 5.10/11 since 1977. In my experience, a little bit of tightness may give you a slight advantage….you get up a 5.11a when normallly your limit is 5.10d…but I would much rather enjoy my recreation than climb at my ultimate limit.

RP’s are a brand name for artificial chock stones. Like Stoppers, Rocks, Walnuts, Offsets, etc, it is the name given by the manufacturer; Pacific Crossing. Typically RP’s were small to micro sized brass alloy nuts, similar to the Black Diamond copper/steel nut made today.

RP’s were used, almost to the exclusion of any other micro nut, in Yosemite to push the frontier of what was possible with clean aid climbing in the late ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s. With the huge growth of the sport of climbing in the 1990′s, many other companies began producing micro nuts similar to the RP.

About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for carries the best selection of combat clothing, gear, and accessories on the market.

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Tips For Rock Climbing

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Comments (0) Dec 03 2009