Partner Climbing Basics
The safest and most accepted way to climb is with a partner. Don't be a fool and try to climb on your own whether on an indoor or an outdoor wall. Even the most skilled climbers understand the enormous risks in choosing to free climb. Before you commit yourself to a climbing partner, think about what you will need from them. Below are listed some very important qualities a good and effective climbing partner must have.
When one partner is climbing, the other partner is belaying. This basic relationship can not exist without absolute trust. The belayer will be at the bottom of the wall holding to the rope and keeping the climber safe from falling. The belayer has to be someone who is not easily distracted and who has a decent amount of strength to control the rope's tension. You must trust your climbing partner with, simply put, your entire being. Your life rests in their grip.
Climbing partners must also be great communicators. Commands between climber and belayer must be short and clear. Some commands include: "on belay", "off belay", "climb on", "slack" and "on rappel". These commands are like morris code and should not be easily confused.
Climbing partners also need to be adapatable. If you are climbing a new wall, your climbing partner has to be ready to adjust to anything you encounter. Even if you are climbing in an area you know well, your climbing partner must always be alert and ready for the unexpected.
Climbing partners also make for good workout partners. When you can't make it to a wall or to your favorite outdoor climb spot, take your training indoors and workout at the gym. You and your climbing partner can try this simple Climbing Workout to get in shape and increase strength.
Top-rope climbing is one of the safest climbing forms and is one of the first rock climbing forms most new climbers experience. Done either on an inside wall or an outside rock formation, top-rope climbing can be very enjoyable and fun, as long as you are well informed and properly equipped.
In top-rope climbing, the climber typically scales from bottom to top. The rope runs from a belayer at the base of the route up and through carabiners connected to an anchor system then back down to the climber who is held by a harness system. The rope is always anchored above the climber to ensure safety and shorten the distance of any fall. Typically, top-roping is done on routes that cannot be climbed due to safety or environmental concerns because it doesn't involve the use of .
Alpine Climbing Basics
If you're an experienced rock climber and want to up the thrill quota, try alpine climbin. Alpine climbing involves technical rock, snow and glacier climbs. Typically, the climbs are done on mountains covered in frozen precipitation. Alpine climbing differs from water ice climbing in that it usually requires an approach to reach. Water ice climbing is typically found on a cliff where a waterfall or other form of traveling water has frozen. Alpine climbing involves more skills then basic rock climbing, so before you get the idea in your head that your going to be a burly, mountaineering snow-beast, do some research.
The best way to get informed about alpine climbing is to join an alpine climbing club. Most alpine climbing clubs will not allow you to go on a climb until you prove experience and fulfill requirements. Alpine climbing club requirements vary but usually include: experience in off-trail hiking and climbing, high levels of physical and mental fitness, certification in first aid, and basic rock climbing skills. Once you demonstrate or prove all of the above, the alpine climbing club will likely have you take an introductory course. During this course you'll be taught belaying, rope handling, rappelling, avalanche assessment, back-country camping, ice ax self arrest, and rock scrambling.
Alpine climbing equipment can be very expensive, but you should never be a stingy equipment buyer. Good equipment will ensure not only your safety, but the safety of the whole climbing team. Be sure to get thorough instructions about what to purchase from your alpine climb club leaders. It is also helpful to spend sometime reading mountaineering and climbing books or watching alpine climbing videos to get a complete overview.
What is Bouldering?
Children get excited at the site of a big rock in the middle of a park; why shouldn't you too? Bouldering is a rock climbing form that takes place on small cliffs and boulders sans ropes or protective gear. Some rock climbers suggest bouldering is the more fluid, artistic climbing form.
The boulders are usually shorter than 15 feet, so most climbers don't wear safety gear due to the small falling distance. However, falls do happen and many boulderers lay out crash pads at the boulder's base. Bouldering demands power, strength and focuses to perform a short sequence of moves. Unlike traditional climbing which emphasizes endurance over long stretches, bouldering routes require dynamic problem solving with short intervals. Because the route is shorter, climbers scale the boulder several times during a day, trying new sequences each time.
There are several reasons why climbers adore bouldering. For one, if you do not live near a mountain range, you can climb and practice your skills in city parks or along other flatter hiking trails for free. Also, bouldering requires little equipment. All you'll need for a bouldering trip is a pair of bouldering shoes, a chalk bag, some tape for covering blisters, and a small mat for wiping your feet. And of coarse, even though the fall distance is short, bouldering with a partner is the best option to ensure you make it back home safe and sound. Find or create a Bouldering Group today!