Rock Climbing is a sport in which climbers scale up natural rock formations to reach the summit. Or they climb man-made rock walls with a predetermined route. Rock Climbing is both physically and mentally demanding. Strength, agility, balance, and mental control are key assets for climbers. Climbing can be dangerous without proper knowledge of technique and usage of equipment. Due to the diverse rock formations in various parts of the world, Rock Climbing is divided into several different styles.
Why start Rock Climbing? There are many easier ways to workout. You will scrape up your hands and various other body parts, not to mention scaring yourself at some point in time. Climbing is not about strength alone. Very strong men have been outdone by women climbers. Climbing is a combination of balance, knowing your body, and being able to reposition it. Be creative! Learn how to adapt to the rock face. Climbing works your whole body. Although your upper body gets quite a work out, your legs and feet are critical for upward movement. Concentration is a must as well as overcoming your fears.
Who can climb? You do not have to be young or extremely fit to climb. Many people that start later in life become excellent climbers .. Starting as a child will give you a head start on the physical aspect of it and teach you discipline. You will discover many beautiful often out of the way places. You will have a new perspective of the world below you. Not only will you learn about yourself but also the people you climb with. When you are on the rock, you must rely on your skills and judgment to get to the top. You have to fully trust your partner-he has your life in his hands if you fail. This commitment makes strong bonds between partners. Learning to climb is similar to any other activity. You must conquer the basic skills then practice to perfect them.
Climbing styles come in many varieties. Some of the basics are: bouldering, indoor climbing, sport climbing, trad climbing, solo climbing, aid climbing, ice climbing and alpine climbing. Always have proper instructions, learning from experienced climbers or in a climbing school.
Boulder climbers take on short heaps of rock that are only a few feet high. Bouldering problems tend to be intense and very technical because hundreds of feet of difficulty are compressed into 5 to 10 moves. You will climb without a rope and close enough to the ground to jump off safely. Bouldering interest, especially in the nineties, have caused many new areas to become available worldwide.
Indoor climbing became very popular in the late eighties. Indoor gyms are perfect places to learn technique without battling the outdoor elements. Although you can practice year round, most die hard climbers prefer natural rock.
Free climbing is climbing without using your equipment to aid in movement. Your gear is for your protection only, The climber leads the climb for the first time without watching other climbers, making it to the end without falling or pulling on their gear. If you do you must start over from the ground.
Trad climbers use their own gear for protection whereas sport climbers use predrilled bolts that are clipped with carabiners. Trad climbers use cams, wedges, and nuts in different shapes and sizes. These can be put into the rock with out damaging it. This is referred to as clean climbing and is the only acceptable way of climbing in some areas. Because trad climbing is very technical it is recommended for advanced climbers.
Aid climbing has a different set of rules. This type of climbing requires staying on the rock for several days. Climbers must have an extreme level of technical expertise and sense of logistics. Climbers must haul all of their gear up the rock. They sleep in hammocks or portal edges. This type climbing is for the most adventurous climbers only!
Solo climbing is absolutely the most dangerous and should be reserved for skilled climbers only. You climb without any kind of protection. A good climber will know his own limits and trust his own jurisdiction. Ice climbing causes the use of axes to climb frozen waterfalls. Mixed climbing and dry tooling have gained popularity. You must excel in traditional climbing as well as technical ice climbing because you will be climbing faces of rock and ice.
Finally there is Alpine climbing. Climbers live on icy slopes for several days depending on the weather, avalanches and other natural elements. Knowledge of the environment is critical and technical skills are required, This is an extremely adventurous climbing style.
As with any type climbing, proper instruction is fundamental.