Climbing is an increasingly popular sport. Indoor climbing centres and walls are on the up and it seems as if more people are taking up the sport.
There are plenty of options for taking the sport outdoors, too. Climbing is also popular whatever your age, gender, fitness ability and skill level.
Getting into climbing
Most people in the UK start with indoor climbing. Indoor climbing walls and gyms allow you to learn the skills and techniques for climbing. You can see your progress as you rise up the different grades of walls.
Climbing indoors on a regular basis helps to improve your agility, flexibility and strength for this specific sport.
It can be a good idea to take a course led by an experienced instructor so that you progress quicker and learn all the relevant safety skills. It’s worth noting that climbing is helping the economy by producing rock climbing jobs and long-lasting careers.
Then many people take their climbing outdoors. This poses different requirements for skill, technique and safety so, again, it could be a god idea to join an outdoor climbing course led by and expert or join a group of friends who will show you what to do.
Of course, once you are hooked on climbing there is a host of specialised gear and clothing essentials that you will want to browse, buy and generally research. (I know all this because I have a husband who is a climber and they love their kit!)
- Bouldering: A rope or a harness is not necessary because bouldering is designed to be practised close to the ground. It’s a great way to build strength and flexibility and to learn technique and skills without need for a partner.
- Sport climbing: This can take place indoors and outdoors and means there are anchors in place so people to use to secure ropes. With sport climbing you will have a top rope, the one that is secured at the top of the climb. This is fed through a harness and belay system, used by one person in a climbing partnership. The other person is attached to the other end of the rope via their own harness. The belayer keeps the climber safe because if the climber falls of the crag or wall the belayer will break their fall with the rope.
- Lead climbing: This is where a climber clips in a rope to bolts already on a wall as they climb upwards. There is still the need for a partner to belay.
- Traditional climbing: Also known as rock climbing. This takes place outdoors and there will not be any anchors or bolts already in place. Climbers use a range of securing devices called “protection” that they fit into nooks and crannies in the natural rock.
- Mixed and ice climbing: This takes place in winter and usually involves a mix of rock and ice. A whole new set of gadgets and equipment is needed for winter climbing. Kit will include boot crampons, ice aces, ice screws etc.
Benefits of climbing
Rock climbing helps key athletes stay toned. It is part of the US astronauts’ two-year training because it helps to develop both mental and physical acuity. Benefits of climbing include:
- Cardio workout
- Muscle strength and toning
- Increased flexibility and range of motion in arms, legs,hips and shoulders
- Mental strength in problem-solving and conquering fears
- Reduced stress
- Calorie burner.
Benefits for the economy
The climbing industry affords unique and innovative opportunities for businesses and workers. These include:
- Builders for climbing gyms and centres, eg carpentry, installers and fabricators
- Vertical Solutions Designer – rock climbing gym designers
- Production Designer/Drafter – Structural engineering or construction management for design concepts
- Rock Climbing Instructor – expert and certified rock climbers
- Photographer – scout locations, organise rock climbing shoots and taking photos of the climb
- Climbing Environmentalists –climbers learn and bring back information about the ecosystem by studying lichen and other plants and animals on cliffs and slopes.
- Gear Rep – sales person for climbing gears, project sales, and analyse sales data.
Have you thought about giving climbing a go?