Broadly speaking, rock climbing is an act of ascending rock formations that are steep. Normally, gear and safety equipment especially designed for the climbers use this purpose. Mental control, strength and endurance are very essential in rock climbing, to cope with dangerous and tough physical challenges. It is also vital to have the required knowledge of climbing techniques and know the method of using essential equipment and gear. Although rock climbing is done outdoors, many cities are becoming home to indoor rock climbing gyms that can be used to match the skill level that is needed for outdoor climbing.
Rock climbing is a very exciting sport that involves challenge and a lot of physical exertion. However, it can be very dangerous if it is not done properly. Basically, there are two types of rock climbing:
. Aid climbing- In this type of climbing, gears such as ladders, ropes and bolts are used.
. Free climbing- In this type of climbing, no gear is used except for safety.
You need to use the right gear to make rock climbing easy and safe for you. Some of the basic equipment for rock climbing includes:
Rope, webbing and cord:
Ropes for climbing typically consist of a core of long and twisted fibers and an outer sheath of woven colored fibers. The core provides most of the tensile strength, while sheath acts as a durable layer, protecting the core. It also gives the rope some desirable handling characteristics. The two types of ropes are static and dynamic. Static ropes are not elastic and are usually used to carry or attach equipment. They reduce bounce and make it easy for the person to descend. Dynamic ropes have some elasticity and are used as belay ropes. Webbing is a flat rope without a core. It is made from exceptionally high strength material.
They are metal loops with spring loaded gates that are used as connectors. Carabiners meant for recreational climbing are made of aluminum alloy. You need to select the shape of carabiners and type of gate, based on your specific requirement. Locking and non-locking carabiners are the two varieties.
This equipment is used by the climbers to attach ropes to bolt anchors and allow the rope to run through with less friction. This gear usually consists of two non-locking carabiners that are connected by a pre-sewn, short, loop of webbing.
The equipment is used for attaching a rope to a person. Most of the harnesses that are used in climbing are worn around the waist, although other harnesses can be worn around the chest or full body. Sports climbers typically use minimalist harnesses, except with sewn gear loops. The Alpine climbers go in for lightweight harnesses with detachable leg loops.
Belay devices are mechanical friction brake devices used when you are belaying. Belay devices allow careful control of belay ropes. The purpose is to let the rope lock with minimal effort.
Rappel devices (descenders):
These are like friction brake devices designed especially for descending ropes. Some of the belay devices can also be used like descenders. Rappel devices can be used just for descending, since it is not easy to feed rope through to belay.