Rock Climbing Safety

Thursday June 19

Rock Climbing is a complex sport which requires mental discipline, agility, and several key pieces of some specialized equipment. When first beginning this sport, the practicioner may want to rent their supplies first before putting up the initial outlay for their own climbing gear. As with any outdoor sport, there are a few safety issues to consider when climbing.

The climbing helmet is an often-disregarded piece of safety equipment that primarily protects the skull against impact forces and/or falling debris. The primary concern for a helmet is, "whipping." If a lead climber allows the rope to wrap behind his/her ankle, a fall will flip the climber over and consequently, impact the back of the head. Helmets have saved many climbers from serious injury or death.

Based on a number of factors, climbers may or may not decide to wear a helmet. These include: the type of climb being attempted, concerns about weight, reductions in agility, added encumbrances, or simply vanity. There can be less incentive to wear a helmet in artificial climbing environments like indoor climbing walls where facilities are regularly maintained. However, it really is foolhardy to not wear one - no matter if you are inside or out of doors.

Shoes are another pivotal piece of equipment which will help climbers stay safe. The shoes for climbing are covered with a vulcanized rubber layer toincrease the grip of the foot on a climbing wall or rock face due to friction. Usually, shoes are only a few millimetres thick and fit very snuggly around the foot. Some have foam padding on the heel to make descents and rappels more comfortable. Climbing shoes can be re-soled which decreases the cost and environmental impact of purchasing new shoes. Being able to grip the rock wall with both hands and feet improves climbing safety phenomenally. Protecting your head, brain, and feet is one consideration of safety to address. After that has been taken care of, it is critically important to make sure that your core remains safe and sturdy during a climb. The way to do this is to make sure you have a safety certified harness to wear on you trip.

A harness is a system used for connecting the rope to the climber. Most harnesses used in climbing are preconstructed and are worn around the pelvis and hips --- your core; although other types are used occasionally. Different types of climbing warrant particular features for harnesses. Sport climbers will use minimalistic harnesses, some with sewn-on gear loops. Alpine climbers often choose lightweight harnesses, perhaps with detachable leg loops. Big Wall climbers generally prefer padded waist belts and leg loops. There are also full body harnesses for children, whose pelvises may be too narrow to support a standard harness safely.

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