Learn Basic Climbing Techniques
Adventure activities are on the rise in various parts of the globe. This trend has made its mark in numerous countries and recently, it has touched Nepal too. These activities include bungee jumping, paragliding, and rock climbing. Upon further inspection, it is observed that rock climbing has been gaining steady attendance. More specifically in the countries where geography is rocky. Mostly seen as an outdoor activity, the orthodox thought is shattered through the construction of indoor climbing facilities. Regardless of the setting, it is crucial to learn proper climbing techniques if you are to successfully scale the terrain. This blog shall guide both expert and novice climbers as to the tools and basic climbing techniques that can be used to make your climbing journey less risky and more relishing.
Before we dive into the subject matter, let’s understand the evolution of this amazing outdoor sport. Our ancestors used to scale the rugged geography thousands of years ago but let’s not go that much back in time! We’ll head just a few hundred years back to the 1800s. 1880 AD to be precise. Rock climbing as a viable sport began in the Lake districts, Peak districts, and Wales of Great Britain. Walter Perry Haskett Smith is credited with the title of ‘Father of Rock Climbing’. He was originally from the United Kingdom. He mostly climbed the British Isles and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. The early days of the sport saw landscape traversing without proper equipment but strong climbing techniques.
Rock climbing is segregated into free climbing and aid climbing. In simple terms, aid climbing involves the use of equipment whereas free climbing keeps the usage of equipment to a minimum. Keep in mind that the scaling procedure is vital for both.
To an untrained eye, climbing is seen as a task for the strong ones. It is correct to some extent as climbing demands upper body strength and solid leg power. A seasoned individual perceives rock climbing as a thorough application of techniques and navigation. A good technique overcomes the shortcomings of strength and is the deciding factor between life and death. Mastering the techniques is like connecting the dots and as you proceed, one thing leads to another.
Climbing Techniques That you Need To Know
1. Proper use of feet
For any sort of climbing activity, feet are the foundation. Most people fall under the trap of using their hands to climb rather than their feet. As a result, fatigue kicks in quickly. Picture a scenario: If you have to climb a ladder, you use your legs to do the heavy work and hands do the balancing work. The common technique involving feet are edging and smearing. Edging is further classified into inner edging and outside edging.
Inner edging involves stepping on the foothold with the inside part of the shoe. Outside edging means to use the outside part of the shoe. Depending upon the foothold, you use the technique. Smearing is another technique that witnesses the usage of friction. It means to use the tip of your shoe to grind against the wall. The heel hook is used to maintain your stand and secure the footing. Before you set out, be sure to be on the lookout for foot placements!
2. Gripping techniques
Rock climbing increases your hand strength as you have to master a variety of gripping techniques. Most professionals cover their hands with chalk before they indulge in rock climbing. Crimp and Pinch is the most common technique. It places a lot of pressure on the fingers though. It is useful in places where there is sufficient place to grip. The two-finger pocket uses the middle finger and ring finger. Its usage is seen where there are small holes/openings in the rock. Hand jam can be used in cracks but it is best advised to avoid cracks.
3. Body positions
Balance is what rock climbing is all about. If you lose your composure, then you lose. Some of the basic body positions that are involved in climbing techniques are inscribed here. Stemming implies pushing against two opposite surfaces. It is mostly used in a corner or chimney surfaces. Flagging is another technique that includes maintaining balance through the use of limbs. It is done to prevent swinging from the rock. The mantle is a technique that involves bringing your feet up to meet your hands. It is done when there is a need to pull oneself on top of a ledge.
Rock Climbing Techniques
Another important aspect that needs to be learned (basic climbing techniques) while rock climbing is called belaying. Belaying refers to numerous techniques that climbers use on a climbing rope. In most cases, belaying is done by a skilled individual but if you want, you can learn from the experts.
There are numerous belay devices. Some of them are the HMS lock carabiner, gri-gri, ATC Guide, ATC tube, and the figure of 8. It is of utmost importance that before you proceed to belay, you need to recheck if you have locked the belay carabiner. You need to be sure that the device is compatible with the climbing rope and understand the basic communication protocol.
For instance, if the climber says “On belay?”, it means are you ready to belay me? When the belayer replies “belay on”, it means I’m ready. When the climber says “climbing”, it refers to that I’m going to climb now. The belayer replying “climb on” implies that the belayer is ready for the climber to climb. There are other commands too that the climber needs to be familiar with to master rock climbing techniques.
In a nutshell, rock climbing may seem a huge ordeal to the local people but it is just a blend of techniques and basic knowledge. Once you get used to the movements, it won’t be that daunting.