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Rock Climbing Basics

Rock climbing is a fun and challenging sport that can help you to experience some amazing views, get you in excellent health, and get you some very cool photographs. When I was at university I joined the mountaineering club and learned the ropes (literally), if you池e considering taking it up as a hobby here痴 what to expect.

Before you begin rock climbing you値l need to know some rock climbing basics and make a few purchases. The first and most important are climbing shoes which you値l need for any kind of climbing. While it痴 probably possible to climb in trainers (and incredibly painful in bare feet) you値l be surprised at what a difference the proper shoes make, enabling you to wedge your feet into tiny cracks and balance all your weight on one toes. Their rubbery surface means they stick to the walls and you値l instantly be transformed into Spider-man. Secondly you値l need a chalk bag and some chalk, this enables you to improve your grip on tough climbs stopping your hands from slipping through sweat. You値l quickly find chalking up becomes second nature. The other things you値l need to get started on proper climbing are a harness which will hold you in and stop you falling off the rope (make sure you get a comfortable and well fitted one), and a belay device with carribena which enables you to control the rope while others climb (no one will help you otherwise).

Firstly a fear of heights as you can imagine can be quite a problem to start with in climbing. This isn稚 too much of a problem however once you learn to trust the rope and the person 礎elaying bellow you. Just expect some embarrassing moments early on as you find yourself clinging onto the climbing wall/cliff face for dear life.

To begin with you can try your hand (again, literally) at some bouldering. Here you climb a much smaller 祖rag (the technical term for a climeable bit of rock) or indoor section over a crash mat and simply jump down once your done/stuck. Bouldering routes are known as bouldering 叢roblems as finding and performing a route is often more like a logic puzzle than something that requires more strength.

Another way to practice climbing at a lower height is known as 奏raversing. Here, rather than climbing upwards, your objective is to climb along the wall sideways, as though you were crossing a drop or pit. Practicing this will greatly improve your climbing skill as it takes a fierce amount of grip and forearm strength to hold onto the wall for that long.

Once you feel ready to start climbing properly you値l be introduced to your first route. This will be an easy one to begin with, as the routes are graded for difficulty. One wall can contain several different routes, particularly in climbing centres where you can pick to use handholds of only a certain colour for example. You will be instructed to put on your harness and tighten it up and then tie into the rope using a figure of eight knot (learning a variety of knots is another bonus of learning to climb). This rope will be a 奏op rope meaning that it goes through a loop at the top of the wall and is then help by the belayer at the other end. As belayer your job will be to feed the rope through the belay device on your harness and to take the rope in as they climb and to stop it passing back through if they fall. It痴 incredibly hard to get this wrong so don稚 worry you池e safe. When you eventually come to abseiling back down you can lean back safe in the knowledge that you won稚 fall (unless you致e recently insulted the guy on the end of your rope).

As you climb you値l notice how much it taxes your muscles, particularly your legs, lats and forearms. Holding on to a hold for a long time while you plan your move is incredibly difficult and so a good climber will plot their route before they begin climbing. You can also use a variety of established moves to take some of the weight off of some limbs. For example 禅he Egyptian describes a move where you stand sideways with your feet facing forward and one behind you. It sounds complicated, but twisting into this position can often be all you need to shift your weight and enable you to free an arm to make the next move. You may be surprised at how satisfying it is overcoming these kinds of problems and it痴 almost like playing chess against a wall (far more fruitful than playing tennis against a wall).

As you get more advanced you値l get the opportunity to 鼠ead. This enables you to climb places that don稚 have facilities for a top rope meaning you can discover new routes. Here you take the rope up with you and either loop it through preset holes as you go (壮port climbing) or through devices from your rack that you place yourself (奏rad climbing). To do trad climbing you will need many more pieces of equipment on top of your own rope and will have to have faith that the equipment you place in the wall will take your weight if you fall. So long as one does you値l fine

Some people take this one step further doing 素ree soloing which means you simply climb the wall with no safety equipment, relying on your own ability to stop you from dying. It look amazing and is a fantastic adrenaline rush but there痴 really no reason to risk your life in this way (particularly as you may also have to climb back down after). One safer way to do this is to climb a cliff over water, as long as you don稚 go too high and you致e checked for rocks below the surface. Several people have died from free soloing and there痴 no need to increase that number.





Mack LeMouse

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