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The elements of climbing

Rock climbing is probably the most popular type of climbing. It can be learned in a day, done indoors or outdoors, and uses a relatively small amount of equipment. If you've always wondered what exactly is involved in rock climbing, here's a general overview. Types of Rock Climbing: Trad (traditional): WIth this type of climbing, the climber does not rely on following routes with pre-drilled holes that hold quickdraws to hook carabiners into...rather, he creates his own route up the rock, utilizing mental and physical skill.

The climber uses gear, such as nuts and camming devices, that will not be left permanently in the rock.

Sport: This type of climbing involves the use of ropes for safety only and clipping into bolts that are placed permanently in the rock. The climber is belayed by someone below. This is popular in climbing gyms, as well as outdoors.

Big Wall: The ultimate rock climbing adventure! This type of climbing includes multiple pitches. Climbs like these are done on such routes such as El Capitan in Yosemite and can take several days.

Bouldering: This type of free climbing is done close to the ground (usually no higher than six feet) without ropes. A crash pad is used below the climber to protect him in case of falls. To me, this is the essence of climbing. Many indoor rock climbing gyms have bouldering areas, which is a good place to practice before heading outdoors. The good thing about this is you don't have to have a climbing partner, it can be done alone. Although, it is a good idea to have "spotters" to help the climber fall on the crash pad.

Aid: This type of climbing uses equipment to aid the climber in his effort to scale the rock. Things such as pre-drilled holes with bolts that can be clipped into, jumars, and daisy chains. Indoor: This is the best way to get your feet wet when learning how to climb. It can be done safely with little experience. There are several indoor rock climbing gyms located throughout the country. Lessons and gear rental are usually inexpensive. It's a good way to "try before you buy." If you get the buy, then you can go out and buy your own equipment. Plus, you can still climbing while it's raining outside. Speed: WIth this type of climbing, getting to the top the fastest is the object. It is a popular type of competitive climbing. Buildering: Although not recommended, this type of climbing can be seen occasionally, and usually illegally. This is where a climber ascends a building, without the use of safety ropes.

Types of Rock: Normally, you'll be scaling granite, sandstone or volcanic. Types of Equipment: Shoes: Make sure they fit properly and feel comfortable. The type of climbing you'll be doing will determine how stiff of a shoe you want. Beginners want a relatively stiff shoe. Harness: A harness is worn for safety. It is attached to a rope to protect you from falling. You want to make sure that it fits comfortably around your waist and thighs.

Carabiners: These handy gadgets are used to hook things together. You'll only need one to start out with. It'll be used to attach your belay device to your harness. You'll want to get a locking carabiner for safety. More advanced climbers, especially those climbing outdoors, will use carabiners for hooking additional gear onto their harness.

Chalk and Chalk Bag: Chalk is used on climbers' hands to give them a better grip on the rock. You can buy either raw chalk, which is a powder, or a chalk ball (less messy). The bag holds the chalk in place on your harness.

Rope: UIAA suggests using a rope that is 10.5 to 11 mm in diameter and 50 to 60 meters long for outdoor rock climbing. Helmet: Protect your brain from falling rocks! A helmet is an essential safety measure.

Belay Device: A metal device that a rope hooks through to belay a climber.

Crash Pad: This large foam pad is placed beneath a boulderer. It protects the climber from a fall.

Matresses have been used also.

Posted on: 24/01/2011