Intro to Rock Climbing, Part 2

There are many challenging extreme sports but nothing will challenge you physically and mentally as much as rock climbing. Rock climbing is a test of stamina, patience, skill, and willpower. Your hands will feel like giving up right into the middle of the climb on a vertical rock face but you can’t stop. You just have to get the strength from somewhere and move on. The moment you lose focus, it could very well mean the end of it all. This is how and when accidents happen.

Rock Climbing is a sport that entails climbing up a vertical rock face or a steep rock face. Most of the climbers generally use gear and safety equipment, which have been specifically designed to suit this purpose. You need to be physically and mentally in top condition and also have the necessary knowledge of different climbing techniques. This knowledge will be useful when you start the climb. There are some people who might not carry ropes with them but it is something you can’t try on your own especially if you are a beginner. You need to be a real pro to try it and sometimes even real pros have accidents.

Over the years, rock climbing has become a challenging extreme sport although it still is a niche area. A variety of grading systems have been introduced in the recent past to compare the various difficulty levels in climbs. The climbing techniques have improved considerably over the years and so has the equipment. Those who have a passion for rock climbing live it as a part of their lifestyle and not as a sport. The challenge of beating all the odds to reach the top is the prize itself.

In rock climbing most climbers go up in pairs. One of the climbers has to lead and the other follows and is known as the belayer. The belayer’s job is to feed the rope to the lead climber with the help of a belay device. Once the lead climber reaches a certain point in the climb, he/she places protection and climbs higher and again places protection all the way up to the top. if the leader falls, the belayer has the option of locking off the rope.

The lead climber and the belayer will have to attach rope to their climbing harness, and this is done by tying it in a double bowline knot or a figure-of-eight knot. The lead climber can place a permanent or a temporary protection on the rock. The protection uses spring-loaded camming devices, which can be set into the cracks visible in the rock face. In the case of sport climbing, protection used is in the form of a metal loop also known as a hanger. These hangers can be secured to the rock with the help of expanding masonry bolts or by using glue-in bolt systems.

The lead climber will connect the rope to the protection with the help of carabineers. Due to any reason if the leader falls, then he will fall twice the length of the rope from the last protection point. If the belayer is unable to lock the belay device immediately then the fall can be longer. During the fall, the belayer can arrest the rope because the rope has to run through sharp curves in the belay device that create enough friction to stop the rope.

There are basically two types of rock climbing – free climbing and aid climbing. In free climbing, you will have no support whatsoever like ropes, harnesses, belays etc. In aid climbing, which is considered safer than free climbing, you can use safety equipments to climb.