When most people hear someone talk about rock climbing, they either feel a cringe in their spine or a rush of adrenaline throughout their entire body. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which of the two is the rock climber. Rock climbing is definitely a sport that isn’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the few sports where a bad performance could possibly mean death to the participant. So why do it?
There are several reasons that a person would consider rock climbing as the recreation activity of choice. Each individual will of course have their own version of why they decided to take on this physically and mentally challenging sport. This is an activity which is certainly not for the physically unfit, or those who could be described as timid.
Okay, so a rock climber has to be strong and outgoing, but there’s much more to it than just those two personality traits. Let’s take a look at what type of a person makes a good rock climber.
First, before anything else, they must have the desire to go rock climbing. This tells us the individual is an outgoing person who has no issues going toe to toe with incredibly difficult tasks. They must also have no problem taking a leadership role, as being the lead in rock climbing is a tremendous responsibility. The lead climber must make the decision on which route to take up the climb, as well as the placement of the safety devices into the rock for others to follow.
Secondly, rock climbing requires great strength and endurance. Sometimes the climber’s weight may be held entirely on just a few finger tips, and believe me this is no time to doubt the strength in your hands. Upper body strength is also crucial for scaling the vertical rock walls and overhangs. It’s for these reasons that a specialized physical training regimen is a must for rock climbing. This can include, but is not limited to aerobics, high repetition/low weight training and hand strengthening exercises.
Finally, rock climbing is a very mental sport. It’s a sport which takes patience. The climber can never get in a hurry to move up the precipice, for they can endanger their life, as well as any others who may be on the climb. One move at a time, slowly inching up the stony surface, stopping to place one anchor after another, such is the movement of the rock climber.
As patient as the climber is, he must also be persistent. When you’ve climbed 175 feet straight up, (sometimes inches at a time) you must be willing to go the extra distance to get to the top no matter how far it looms ahead. Just ask any seasoned rock climber and they’ll probably tell you, the only way down is up.
So there you have a glimpse of what type of individual makes a good rock climber. Did you see any traits that resembled you in any way? Rock climbing is a very arduous and sometimes downright dangerous activity, there’s no arguing the point. However, according to those who pursue this sport, there is nothing more empowering than conquering what most people cringe to even think about. So what about you, are you up to the challenge to not only conquer the rock, but maybe also a part of yourself?
Climbing rocks and cliffs take skill and endurance. In case you were thinking about taking up rock climbing, a listing of the necessary equipment is outlined below.
Shoes: You can’t wear your everyday hiking boots to climb a rock. Your shoe should be stiff and fit like a glove. Snug but not too tight. Because comfort is a concern, it’s best not to mail order shoes for rock climbing, you’ll definitely want to try them on first.
Harness: A harness is worn for safety and attaches to a rope so you won’t fall off the rock. Your sales associate will help you find a harness that fits properly, but you’ll want to be sure the harness fits comfortably around your thighs and waist.
Carbiners: These are actually hooks. You’ll use these to attach different items to your harness.
Helmet: This very important piece of rock climbing equipment will protect your head from falling debris. It will also guard you against bumps and bruises if you should happen to bang against a wall. This may in fact, be the most important piece of rock climbing equipment you own. Make sure you try on your helmet prior to purchasing and that it fits comfortably.
Chalk: Rubbed on your hands, chalk will help you grip rocks. Comes in powdered or ball form.
Chalk Bag: Holds chalk and attaches to your harness.
Rope: Rope should be 10 or 11 millimeters in diameter and 50 to 60 meters long and should be able to stretch a bit under tension to protect a climber in the event of a fall.
Belay Device: This is used to hold a climber’s rope. It helps the belayer protect the climber.