Thursday, March 29, 2007

Styles of Rock climbing. which one do you like?

Rock Climbing Styles

There are many types of climbing, namely: trad rock climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, sport climbing and solo climbing.

Traditional Rock Climbing

Traditional climbing, or Trad climbing, is a style of climbing that emphasizes the skills necessary for establishing routes in an exploratory fashion. Before the introduction of sport climbing, the normal style of unaided rock climbing was what is now referred to as "traditional". A traditional rock climber, often called a “trad climber,” is a roped climber who climbs placing protection, like nuts and hexes, to ensure his safety. Trad climbing usually involves the leader ascending a section of rock while placing their own protective devices such as helmets as he/she climbs. Route finding, effective gear placements, self control, and good down-climbing skills are essential.

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing is a style of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, especially bolts, for protection. Sport climbing places an emphasis on gymnastic ability, strength and endurance. And safety is not compromised. In short sport climbing is very similar to traditional rock climbing, except for the difference in the gear. Instead of using "nuts" and "friends", you have quickdraws which is a short sling with a carabiner on each end.

Sport Climbing Sport climbing is any indoor or outdoor climbing using quickdraws and a rope on bolt protected routes. Indoor sport climbing was borne out of the desire of climbers to train year round, even during adverse weather conditions. Climbers wear a male harness/(female harness) and use a belayer to control the rope. This is known as Top roping which involves any indoor or outdoor climbing that uses a fixed anchor for the rope at the top of a climbing route. Top roping can be done on sport routes once a climber ‘leads’ the route and establishes an anchor at the top of the route for other climbers. Climbers clip quickdraws into bolts that are fixed to the rock and then clip the rope to the other end of quickdraws as they ascend the rock.

Next my favourite will be lead climbing which refers to climbing a sport route, without a fixed anchor at the top of a route for the rope. Also now climbing competitions are done on indoor climbing walls or even the walls are even sometimes moved outside. It provides a great opportunity to learn to climb in a very controlled environment. Perhaps this is where any climber can start to develop your own climbing style and philosophy.

Bouldering ( My Favourite of All)

This is my personal favourite. Bouldering is a very explosive type of climbing.

Bouldering is climbing performed with no rope or belay at the base of a cliff, on large rocks at a boulder field, or in a climbing gym. I love it since it is hassle-free. And when bouldering, climbers usually never get more than a few feet off the ground. A mix of spotters and crash pads are used to ensure safe landings.

This style requires the least amount of gear – you only need your shoes (my favourite), chalk bag, and crash pad. Problems known as ‘routes’ are series of moves, which you can do over and over again until you master them. Addition of moves will increase the challenge. Lastly you shouldn’t try this type of climbing at a high height.

*Remember Every Climb Matters and please take note your safety*

Ice Climbing

Ice Climbing, as the term indicates, is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Climber will use ice tools efficiently; a climber will be able to climb vertical ice, such as frozen waterfalls. Ice axes and crampons are the main tools the ice climber uses. Usually, though, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. However disadvantage of ice climbing is that the ice is incredibly variable under different conditions. The ice can be soft, hard, brittle or tough.

Solo Climbing

Solo climbing or soloing is a style of climbing in which the climber climbs alone, without somebody belaying him.

Soloing is the freest form of climbing. Falling and getting up againg is hardly possible...

Instead of focusing on your moves, the solo climber is totally committed to reach the summit. You don’t have any protection gear. This is a very high level of climbing and involves great risk. If you are a beginner, this is highly discouraged.

Phew guess it is a long now. In the next post I will share basics equipments involved in the climbing.

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