Well, it’s the weekend again, and that means, climbing!! I’m kinda disappointed that I didn’t head down there early this morning, but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me 🙁 What made it even worse, people were going to Upper Limits today instead of heading down South. Crazy people. However, I’m heading down tonight with a 4 other people, so we’ll be climbing hard all tomorrow.
Now, I’ve been hearing from some of you, Nick, that when I talk about climbing I leave some of you in the dust; especially with some of the terms I use. Well, this next section is for you! I’m going to go through some of the terms I’ve been using so there won’t be as much confusion. If there’s something else you want me to explain better, feel free to shout out in the comments.
- Bouldering is the most basic of climbing. It is when you find a rock, slap on your shoes, and just start climbing on it. Normally you don’t climb high, instead you traverse (climb horizontally) or do specific routes. Bouldering is a great way to learn technique and work on endurance. It is also the most simple form.
- Sport climbing is what I do when I’m climbing vertically. Sport climbing is based on permantent bolts on the rock or wall. Now depending on the length of the route, there are around 8 bolts going up the route, and then at the top there are usually 2 bolts at the top of the route so you can create an anchor. Now, there are two ways to do sport climbing, leading and top roping.
- Top roping is where a rope is already on the route, and is run through an anchor at the top of the route. When you go to a climbing gym, this is what you see. Both ends of the rope are at the bottom of the route, and the middle of it is at the top. On one end of the rope is the climber, on the other end is the belayer. The belayer is the one who prevents the climber from falling by using a belay device. As you can see from the article, there are many types of belay devices, and since rei did such a good job of going through the different types, I’m not going to 🙂 The climber then climbs to the top of the route and the the belayer takes rope in as the climber climbs higher so the fall isn’t as bad. Then, once the climber reaches the top the belayer slowly lowers the climber down. Very easy, and is what beginners do all the time in the gym.
- However, if you go outside, there aren’t ropes just hanging on the rock (unless someone was really dumb). If your party has some beginners in it, you want to setup some top ropes so that they can climb some routes. Now, climbing a route so you can setup a top rope, is called leading. With leading, both ends of the rope are again at the bottom and the climber ties into one end, but the belayer ties in right behind the climber. Now, instead of taking rope in the belayer feeds rope out as the climber climbs. As the climber climbs, he uses quickdraws and clips one end of the quickdraw (the non-bent gate end) onto the bolt, and the other end onto the rope. This prevents the climber from taking huge falls by not clipping in at all. However, falls taken while leading (sometimes called whippers) are always going to be further than if you were top roping, unless your belayer while top roping is doing something wrong. When the climber reaches the top of the route, he can either create an anchor and setup a top rope, have the belayer lower him down and clean the route (remove the quickdraws) on the way down, or rappell down and clean the route.
- Traditional (trad) climbing is our 3rd and final type of climbing. Trad climbing is similar to lead climbing, however there are no permanent bolts to clip into. Instead, you essentially put your own bolts in as you climb. This is done by using active and passive protection. Active protection is made up of cams, which are active, in that they move mechanically. And passive protection is made up of nuts and other things that have no mechanical movement. Basically what you do with active and passive protection, is you wedge and work them into gaps in the rock to create your anchor. you then clip into the webbing connected to the protection. I personally haven’t done any trad climbing, nor have I seen anyone do any. However, I should this weekend, so if there’s anything I’m missing, I’ll update this area.
I hope that clears things up for you guys, and like I said earlier, if there’s something I haven’t mentioned or talked about that you want more info about, let me know in the comments section.