19 February 2012

Rock Climbing Addiction

There are only three real sports: bull-fighting, car racing and [rock] climbing. All the others are mere games.” -Ernest Hemingway

With the beautiful weather upon us this weekend, I thought getting out there before the snow or rain returns was a wise idea. Weird that I ended up being indoors most of Saturday morning to early afternoon. Not lounging might I add. If you hadn't figured out what I was doing from the title of this post, I had one of the best indoor climbing sessions yesterday.

I normally try to warm up with very easy routes but yesterday my climbing partner and I kept to the 5s and 5+ routes. This Saturday we embarked on a challenge of doing a variety of 5s on vertical, slabs and overhangs. The overhang route had an interesting start, and by interesting I really mean scary! It had a lot of funny turns but I was actually surprised at myself for doing it. I have looked at many times as if I was looking at my arch nemesis. Completing it was amazingly exhilarating. Climbing challenges your fears and requires determination and problem solving to overcome difficulties. With the mental and physical strength that it asks for, what you get back is the most amazing adrenaline. Its exciting when you complete a challenging route and you get this pleasurable effect produced when your body is pumped with a large dose of adrenaline. Your heart rate increases, pleasure-giving endorphins are released and breathing rate ramps up. The result of all this extra oxygen, energy and hormones is the adrenaline high, a euphoric feeling that lasts for hours. In my case it lasted until the following day.

Thank goodness the good weather continued into Sunday. With my hands still aching from Saturday's session I thought I would take advantage of the weather and take my bike out instead and explore the new area I will be moving to next week. These pictures are from my usual bike trail but slightly extending to Woolwich and Thames Barrier. This means that I will soon be even closer to the Reach Climbing centre!


If you haven't tried climbing then you seriously need to consider it. I promise you once you start there is no stopping. Even when you fall of the wall you immediately want to get back on it again. Already talking like an adrenaline junkie. There are different styles of climbing with the common ones being Trad(traditional) rock climbing and sport climbing.  I have tried Indoor, Bouldering and Trad and soon to be embarking on Mountaineering. See below for more info on what each entails.

Traditional Climbing: Traditional or Trad Climbing involves taking rock climbs in routes which do not have permanent anchors to help climbers when ascending.
Sporting Climbing: Unlike Traditional Rock Climbing, Sport Climbing involves the use of protection or permanent anchors which are attached to the rock walls.
Bouldering: This is a type of Climbing where you don’t need to leave more than twelve feet off the ground. Know the History of Bouldering, Art of Spotting, and the different Bouldering Competitions.
Solo Climbing: Solo Climbing is the freest and most dangerous type of Climbing. In a nutshell, this is climbing alone, without a partner and rope or protection.
Deep Water Climbing: There are a lot of climbing styles, and Deep Water Soloing (DWS) is one of them. Having to climb a rock and fall on deep water sets it apart from the other styles.
Ice Climbing: This Rock Climbing style involves cold and ice which climbers should deal with. Learn more about Ice Climbing and know if you have what it takes to conquer ic
Indoor Climbing: With indoor rock climbing, you can train all year round and improve your climbing skills and techniques. For beginners, this activity will give you an idea of what the actual Rock Climbing is.
Mountaineering: This challenging activity involves hiking or trekking in higher altitudes. It requires different skills in climbing and outdoor survival

If you have started climbing and are looking to improve then checkout the tips below:

Rock Climbing Technique, Performance and Climbing Tips (Courtesy of  indoorclimbing)

Understand the basic principals of good rock climbing technique. To improve your own climbing performance learn and practice good climbing technique. These 13 rock climbing tips will help you accelerate your climbing performance.
  1. Always Warm Up and Stretch before you start climbing. Tight muscles and ligaments don’t perform as well.
  2. Get in the habit of previewing and learning to read the route before you climb it. Developing this skill will help you get in the right position to make moves at the crux.
  3. Use only the degree of strength on you grip as necessary to steady your balance. Your grip is often the first to go, save forearm strength as much as possible.
  4. A finely developed sense of balance will help you make difficult static and dynamic moves.
  5. By keeping your body close to the wall you keep your center of balance over your center of mass and relieve pressure on your grip.
  6. Use your legs to hold your weight, not your arms. Your legs are much stronger and will carry you further.
  7. Use arms for balance and shifting weight, not holding weight. When doing moves and sequences that require a great deal of upper body strength, move quickly through the sequence.
  8. Developing the technique of dynamic movement is done by using momentum to peak at the dead point, which is the point at which you grip the hold.
  9. Combining both static and dynamic elements of climbing technique will determine your speed of climbing. Climbers who have mastered this seem to move smoothly and effortlessly.
  10. The right rock climbing techniques combined with building the right muscles give a climber a huge advantage.
  11. Muscles will perform longer with short rests. Develop a skill at finding rest opportunities while climbing to greatly extend your endurance.
  12. Push yourself and your ability with difficult routes. This means you will fall. Taking a fall correctly is one of the most important techniques to learn how to do safely, and will give you confidence to push yourself to your limit.
  13. Finally, watch and learn from other good climbers. Practice good rock climbing technique every time you climb and your climbing performance will measurably improve.

Happy Climbing!

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