Rock Climbing- Beginner’s Guide

Written by Khubaib Balouch | Last modified on:

Biking, yes for sure and Hiking is also no big deal. But when we talk about rock climbing that is one of the great athletic adventures. Moreover, it has always looked slightly beyond our reach.

Moreover, Dangling 50 feet high in the sky only with one rope is a quite difficult task too. According to people, the power of Hercules is also essential in climbing a cliff. But according to me, this is only a thing of balancing yourself and techniques.

Rock climbing is an activity in which doer climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The ultimate goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing is a mentally and physically demanding sport too, one that often tests a climber’s endurance, agility, strength, and balance along with mind control. It could be a dangerous sport.

A Sport of Risk:

Rock Climbing is on the list of most dangerous sports in the world. It isn’t an ordinary sport. In mountaineering, you just need to be discrete and irrational from all others too.

Because it is not rational. Everyone doesn’t have guts to defeat the fears of height.

Climbing is a very welcoming and accessible sport for a beginner. “Alex Johnson,” a professional climber who is five times US National Champion said that

“The No. 1 most important thing for beginners to keep in mind is that, don’t feel intimidated. It’s easy to get discouraged and it happens to everyone—but the best way to improve is to keep trying,”

Furthermore, Rock climbing is perfect for fitness and strength.

Research says that climbing is very beneficial in an aerobic workout, maintainenace of cardiovascular fitness and provide upper body strength.

Alex Johnson: five times US National Champion

Types of Rock Climbing

Because of the wide range and variety of rock shape formations around the world,

Rock climbing has separated into several styles and sub-disciplines. There are two major types of mountaineering

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Indoor and Outdoor Rock Climbing?

Any type of mountaineering that occurs within the boundaries of a building or other structure refers to indoor rock climbing. This type of climbing allows climbers to climb at any time no matter what weather condition it is. Indoor mountaineering is usually used for improving skills and practicing techniques. It is also known as general exercise. Moreover, climbing which we practice outside the building known as Outdoor Climbing.

(1) Bouldering: 

There are only two types of climbing that involve no rope at all.

  • Bouldering
  • Free solo

Bouldering is safer and consequently more famous than the second one. With minimum gears, the route of this is more than 50feet high approximately. Moreover, it is also less expensive than other climbing because of minimal gears.

Again, Climbing is all about moves and techniques in which repeated falling is expected. If you are practicing Bouldering, you are only required to climbing shoes, athletic clothes, and a chalk bag. In outdoor climbing crash pads are also required. Bouldering has divided into different climbing sections according to difficulty levels.

Some route sections are V5, V3, V4, Vb, V2, and V14. The grading system of it varies from person to person too. VB to V2 routes is for beginners. Intermediate problems fall in V3 and V4 routes. Advanced problems are in V5 and above.

In addition to all these, each progressive route is significantly more difficult than its predecessor, and the more difficult the route, the longer it takes. Additionally, climbing on a rugged rock outside can make also a difficult route even more difficult because of the physical wear and tear it induces on your fingers.

Bouldering climbing that involve no rope
Climber hanging a hundred feet high

(2) Big Wall Climbing

The big wall isn’t the most common but the most notorious climbing with a height range of a minimum of 1500feets. Routes of big wall take several days to reach a summit.

In addition to this, Climbers have to spend nights hanging a hundred feet high too. In fact, Big wall mountaineering is not for those people who are weak hearted.

Moreover, proper precautions are also needed which can be done only with the investment in proper gear.

It is also a very expensive type of climbing and not a cup of tea.

(3) Lead/Sport Climbing

An extremely versatile style of climbing that offers a variety of routes length with several forms of difficulties. Sports climbers focus on moves and techniques eventually to get their destinations.

In such type of climbing, falling is expected and also planned accordingly. Climbers may fall too several times in accomplishing the goal of ending.

Furthermore, Use of ropes in lead and sport climbing is a little bit different than others climbing.

There are many bolted anchors in the wall. So, these bolted anchors also inform climbers about pre-planned routes. Moreover, It is also the responsibility of the climber to loop the rope through carabineer systems called quick-draws. These are also attached to each of the bolted anchors as climber sends the rock.

“Don’t forget – if you go lead or sport climbing, you’ll need a partner belaying you; meaning feed you rope, catch your fall, and lower you down”.

Top roping climbing always requires the assistance
Top roping climbing always requires the assistance

(4) Top-Roping

As its name shows that the use of rope is involved in this climbing whereas Ropes are also always there to catch (when your climbing partner properly handling it) you during slipping and falling. Moreover, falls are seldom serious.

Moreover, Top roping climbing always requires the assistance of an extra person this is the art of Belaying.

An extra man is responsible for assisting your rope and descending you as you lower your route. Friction devises such as Gri-Gri or an ATC use to do so.

Auto-Belay device is also present that acts as same as an anchor and serves to catch you too if you fall. In short, top-roping is the best way for beginners to get used to rock-climbing, Second, it can also be a preferred way for climbers to learn and practice a new route.

(5) Traditional Climbing

Traditional climbing is all about holistic experience and mental games that help in climbing.

Whereas other climbing also requires physical strength. First, Routes set traditionally, nothing is pre-planned. Further, The climber is responsible for inserting protection bolts into the wall.

This means that traditional climbing is hard because climber has to pick all gears along him/her.

Just as top-roping and sport climbing, though, traditional climbers need a belay partner to feed them a rope and lower them back down too.

Traditional Climbing

Techniques of Mountain Climbing

However, Mountaineering isn’t only about grabbing and holding of mountain’s edges to climb the summit. It requires quite efficient and proper skills and techniques to avoid any misfortune accident. As well as, Knowledge of proper climbing techniques and usage of specialized climbing equipment is also crucial for the safe completion of routes or completing a goal.

Some basic techniques are listed below:

  • Hooking
  • Smearing
  • Jugs
  • Crimpers
  • Pockets
  • Pinches
  • Slopers
  • Under clings and side pulls
  • Manteling
  • Slabs
  • Overhangs
  • Stemming
  • Layback
  • Drop knee
  • Kneebar
  • Dyno/Deadpoint
  • Backstepping
  • Flagging

Terms of Climbing

  1. Aid Climbing (climbing while adding devices to a rock face in order to assist a climber in her ascent)
  2. Anchor
  3. Belay (a rope setup worked by a climber’s partner to catch the climber when he falls or lower him down after he finishes his ascent)
  4. Beta
  5. Bolt
  6. Bump (quickly moving a hand or foot from one temporarily useful hold to another)
  7. Carabiner ((Biner) a metal coupling link with a safety closure that can open and close, used to hold gear or as anchors for belaying)
  8. Campus (climbing without using your legs or feet)
  9. Crimp (a tech in which a climber presses her fingertips flat on the small surface of a hold and raises her knuckles, often also placing her thumb over the top of his/her index finger and partially over her middle finger)
  10. Dyno (jumping from one hold to the next, losing all contact with the rock while in mid-jump)
  11. Figure 8 (a knot used to secure a climber’s harness to the belay rope)
  12. Flag (holding the leg out to the side in order to maintain balance in a certain position on the wall)
  13. Flash (successfully send a route on the first attempt after having received some kind of beta)
  14. Jug (a big, easy-to-grab hold)
  15. Match
  16. On-Sight (to successfully send a route on the first attempt without having received any prior advice)
  17. Red-Point (complete while placing protection a route after many unsuccessful attempts)
  18. Send (completing route with safety)
  19. Sit-Start (to start a climb while sitting on the ground)
  20. Spot (waiting in preparedness beneath a boulderer to ease his fall)
  21. Top-Out (Help in completing a route by ascending over the top of the structure)
  22. Traverse

Mountain Equipment | Climbing Gear, Hiking,

What Gears do you need in Climbing? 

First, It normally depends on the type of climbing but general gears are listed below:

  1. Harness
  2. Rope(s)
  3. Belay System
  4. Helmet
  5. Chalk
  6. Climbing Shoes
  7. Slings
  8. Quick Draws
  9. Nuts and Camping Devices
  10. Ice Axes
  11. Crampons
  12. Climbing Shoes
  13. Rock climbing pants

Every climbing trip is different and certain climbing gadgets are required in each route.

What is the best time for going on Rock Mountaineering?

A neutral climate is also essential for Outdoor Climbing. Because extreme weather makes it difficult for accomplishing the route with safety. Spring, summer, and fall offer the best weather. And in the height of summer, surfaces retain heat and make it difficult too to climb on, while in winter the cold can hinder a climber´s ability to proceed up or across a surface.

But for enthusiast climbers, every time is perfect to mountaineering.

Why you should hire a Guide?

It is a great way to progress your climbing skill with little help of a guide. However, Hiring a guide gives you a chance for taking a more challenging route and enhances your experience on rocks too.

Guide’s expertise can be very beneficial in local areas. Moreover, they can also help in getting access. And also insight into a specific region. A guide enhances your overall safety.

10 best Spots of the World to Practice Climbing

  1. Chamonix – Mont-Blanc (France): The tallest mountain in Western Europe.
  2. Yosemite National Park (USA): Renowned destination in the United States with impeccable granite.
  3. Catalonia / Catalan Pyrenees (Spain): “Birthplace” of Spanish rock climbers. Great arrays of climb lie in Catalonia.
  4. Cochamo Valley (Chile): Incredible South American destination for Big Wall Climbing.
  5. Paklenica National Park (Croatia): An intriguing and satisfying spot with several days of routes.
  6. Kalymnos (Greece): Climbing destination for rock lovers.
  7. Krabi (Thailand): Thai culture brings this climbing “Mecca” to life, and having a guide take you across the unique limestone is truly incredible.
  8. British Columbia (Canada): Fully loaded with igneous surfaces and wilderness locations, the climbs in western Canada are unlike any other.
  9. Verdon Gorges (France): This spot is an absolute view for climbing with pillars and long walls.
  10. Sardinia (Italy): This Island is packed with beautiful climbing punches.

Top 10 Rock Climbers

  • Chris Sharma
  • Steph Davis
  • Catherine Destivelle
  • Dean Potter
  • Alex Honnold
  • Lynn Hill
  • Tommy Caldwell
  • Beth Rodden
  • John Long
  • Dave Graham

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