tv controls
tv logo
tv power
tv channel
tv brightness
tv color
tv top
blog logo
tv shell top
tv black screen

A Christmas Wishlist For Your Rock Climbing Friend

You can rock climb right now; I’m serious. Though rock climbing is considered a high-risk sport, the truth is, as far as extreme sports are considered, rock climbing is a pussycat. Hitting the cliffs is not just for the adrenaline enthused hard-core thrill seeker. Anyone can get into the sport on a modest budget and with minimal experience.

You can rock climb right now; I’m serious. Though rock climbing is considered a high-risk sport, the truth is, as far as extreme sports are considered, rock climbing is a pussycat. Hitting the cliffs is not just for the adrenaline enthused hard-core thrill seeker. Anyone can get into the sport on a modest budget and with minimal experience.

Sport climbing, on the other hand, involves climbing routs that have been permanently set into the rock.

Experienced climbers find fun routs and drill bolts into the rock in a line along the from the bottom of the rout to the top. Each rout, or pitch, can have as few as 0 or as many as 15 bolts for sport climbers to clip into as they ascend. Bolts are typically quite safe. They are drilled and blued into the rock for extra protection against a fall.

So how do you get started? The best way is to find an experienced climber and have him or her take you out. The simplest and safest type of climbing is called top-roping. This is done by routing a rope, usually from the ground, up through a double set of chains at the top of the climb, and back down to the ground. The climber hooks into one end of the rope, the belayer hooks into the other. As the climber ascends, the belayer takes up the slack. Should the climber fall as he or she ascends, he or she will only come off the rock, but remain safe, suspended by the rope. Once the climber has finished the rout, the belayer slowly lets the climber down, releasing the rope in a slow manner through gear clipped to his or her harness.

What equipment do you need to get started and how much does it cost? This is a good question. A friend took me climbing back in the early 90’s and the next day I blew $700.00 on brand new gear. The truth is, if you can find someone who already climbs, you can build your gear list or “rack” slowly. Start with a good pair of climbing shoes. These will cost anywhere from $70 to $200. Don’t worry about buying an expensive pair if you are a beginner. Comfort is key. As you gain more experience, you will purchase multiple pairs of shoes for different climbing challenges. Pick up a harness and a chalk bag. With shoes, harness, and chalk, you can easily join up with a climbing group and be a non-obtrusive participant. Some climbers do not let anyone use their shoes. It can also be burdensome if you have to keep changing harnesses every time you climb.

Once you have a harness, shoes, and a chalk bag, its time to add a few new items to your list. Pick up a rope, I would recommend a 10mm. Buy about four 4′ slings, two 6 to 8′ slings and plenty of webbing so you can make your own slings. Pick up a locking carabineer for your harness and at least 4 smaller locking carabineer to clip into chains at the top of sport routs. While you are at it, get 10 quick drawsthese are made up of 2 carabineers with a short length of sewn webbing between them. You will also need a belaying device like an ATC or a figure eight. This is all you will need to get started.

Next you must bone up on the theory. Many books have been written to this end, but the bible of rock climbing books is HOW TO ROCK CLIMB by climbing legend, John Long. Pick this book up first. You will find all the information you need to get started.

Last, where do you go? Climbing guidebooks are an excellent resource for this. You can pick up guidebooks for literally any mountain range in the world. You can purchase them online or at climbing and mountaineering shops. They can be expensive. Another alternative is to use www.mountainproject.com. This site rocks. You just fill in search criteria like geographical location, climb rating, and whether you want bolted or trad climbs and the system serves up as many climbs as you like.

Rock climbing is an exciting sport. It is fun and doesn’t have to be dangerous. If you feel you want to try it, don’t be intimidated. It is a sport that is not complicated for beginners but that can challenge you at any skill level.

2 Comments

  1. avatar Ben
    Posted December 17, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it is best to get started into rock climbing with a buddy. Go a few times to get a feel for it. While living in Utah, there were literally a ton of great climbing sites. Now I’m in Washington and don’t have quite as many places for rock climbing, but I’ve started to get into tree climbing.

  2. avatar Aldo Camolez
    Posted December 21, 2010 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    When I am in Utah I definitely gotta try it, meanwhile I will take Ben’s advice. Trees are still plenty around here in Brazil.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

tv copy bottom
SEARCH
spacer
AUTHORS
tv shell bottom
tv people
tv shell bottom