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Rock Climbing Basics With Few Pointers

Jun 27, 2008
Rock climbing is a very popular sport. It is challenging and requires stamina and experience. Rock climbers work in pairs, one climbing and one belaying. The belayer feeds to the rope to the climber through a belay device, which the climber ascends the rock. Sometimes rock climbers use bolted hangers or some kind of protection on their way up the rock. Belayers lock off the rope to make sure the climber doesn't fall.

The lead climber will either place his clips or protection devices into a permanent position. These are already attached to the rock in sport climbing. The protection is detachable in traditional climbing.

Spring-loading camming devices or nuts are placed in the cracks in the rock. Sometimes climbers use pitons instead. The bolts, which offer protection, are metal loops.

The word bolts in this context refers to expanding masonry bolts. These are secured to the rock. You can get expanding masonry bolts from construction stores or by putting glue in the bolt systems. If you are climbing on ice, you will need ice screws instead.

The lead climber normally attaches the rope to whichever protection he is using with quick draws or caribiners. If he falls while climbing, the fall will take him twice the length of the rope out from wherever his last protection point was. He also has slack and rope stretch. So, if a climber is 2 feet above his last protection, he will fall 2 feet to the protection, 2 feet beyond the protection and a little more because of rope stretch and slack. Because the distance you can fall is double the distance to your last protection, it is a good idea to use plenty of protection so you don't fall too far.

If the leader happens to fall, the belayer needs to stop the fall. To do this, the rope has to pass through a belay device which is fastened securely to the belayer's harness. This device goes through the rope and also throws a succession of sharp-edged curves. These curves stop the rope from running and increase the friction, if they are set up properly by the belayer.

If a multi-pitch route is used, the lead climber will set up an anchor system at the top of the pitch so he can watch his partner climb from that point. This system is also called a belay. The climber is protected from above when climbing but the lead climber is not. This is why the lead climber should be the more experienced of the two.

When both climbers have reached the top, they need to descent or rappel down again. When the belayer has completed one pitch route, he lowers the lead climber down.

The leader is almost a rope length above the second climber and will need to place varies ropes and protective hooks while climbing so the second climber's weight is balanced. This is important in case the leader happens to fall. If the second climber falls, the leader will also be pulled. This kind of rock climbing is for more experienced climbers, since it is riskier than other types.

Even though there is a fair amount to learn about rock climbing, it is a highly enjoyable hobby and builds up your strength and stamina.

Increasing Your Grip Strength

If you enjoy rock climbing and especially if you are new to the scene you will know that the first thing to go is your grip. All too often people will stop climbing for the day when they are still keen to climb but they just can't grip the holds anymore.

So how can you increase your grip strength and in turn your rock climbing abilities?

Your grip strength comes from two areas and these are your forearms and your fingers, we will need to look at both these aspects in order to build up improved grip strength for rock climbing.

We will start by looking at the forearms.

You can start by building up your strength and endurance in your forearms by hanging of a chin-up bar for as long as possible aiming for a minute when you either can't hold any longer or reach a minute shake your arms out and rest for3- 5 minutes and then hang again, try for three sets of one minute hangs (trust me when I say these will burn).

Once you can easily hang for one minute three times it's time to progress on and you can do this by starting of hanging by both hands then drop one arm down and shake it out for five seconds then grab the bar by both hands again and drop the other arm down and shake it out for five seconds. Try to do this for a minute and a half for three sets resting for five minutes between each set.

While the bar hangs are great for building up your grip endurance you might want to add in reverse curls. Reverse curls are performed by holding a barbell or dumbbells if you want with a overhand grip instead of the usual underhand grip and curl the bar up to just past ninety degrees, choose a weight that you can only do eight to ten reps with and perform three to four sets.

There are some great products out there for building up strength in your fingers, you can get hand grippers, specially designed rubber balls and rings and on the upper end of the scale there is a great device with which you can train each finger independently of the other (this device is also great for guitarists). All these are great and defiantly worth the investment but there are other ways of developing stronger hands and fingers without these devices.

The push-up can be used for strengthening the fingers by performing it on your finger tips, this can be painful at first but you fingers will soon adjust. At the start you will find you can't do nearly as many push-ups as you would do normal style but aim for three to four sets of ten to fifteen reps.

By picking up two weight plates and squeezing them together you can build up great grip strength, try to choose weights that you can only keep squeezing for thirty seconds and do three to four sets of these.

Finally for your fingers you can do finger rolls using a barbell. Sitting down resting your hands on your knees, palms facing up let the barbell roll down your fingers and then curl it back to the top using your fingers.

Using these exercises regularly will greatly improve your grip strength and endurance allowing you to spend more time on the wall to improve your skill. There are many other great exercises that will improve your climb but improving your grip is the most important.
About the Author
The author's web site Rock Climbing Gears dot com aims to teach people about the importance of rock climbing gear, like rock climbing shoes and be safety with rock climbing harness .
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