Rock Climbing Resource Guide


Physical activity is an important part of our lives. It not only ensures the maintenance of good health, but in many cases, can also serve as a method of relaxation and even mental stimulation. While there are a number of different forms of physical activity currently in existence, rock climbing may be one of the most popular. Individuals who are interested in learning more about rock climbing should first understand some basics of the activity, along with its history and commonly-used terms. In addition, those who are interested in starting rock climbing should identify the different environments in which the activity can be performed, the needed climbing gear, and appropriate tips for the maintenance of safety.

What is Rock Climbing?

As suggested by the name, rock climbing is an activity in which climbers climb down, up, or over natural and man-made rock formations. In most cases, the goal of a rock-climbing expedition is to reach the top—or summit—of a pre-assigned point. In addition to being quite physically demanding, rock climbing is considered by many experts to be an exceptionally taxing sport in regards to mental concentration. Recently, the International Olympics Committee has recognized the activity of rock climbing as an official sport.

History of Rock Climbing

Despite popular belief, rock climbing is not a new sport—in fact; most experts agree that the activity has been practiced for over 100 years by individuals living in several mountain ranges around the world. It was not until the late 19th century, however, that the sport of rock climbing began being practiced by outdoor enthusiasts. The style of rock climbing has evolved significantly over the past several decades. Though originally performed with the use of artificial hand and foot-holds, modern rock climbers often avoid the use of man-made assistive devices.

Rock Climbing Basics and Techniques

Individuals who are interested in the sport of rock climbing are often encouraged to master some basic techniques before setting out on their own. For example, bouldering, top roping, and lead climbing are all important techniques that may be beneficial for beginning rock climbers. Individuals who are unfamiliar with these different practices may want to consider consultation with an expert in the field of rock climbing. Failing to master these basics can result in severe personal injury—and in some cases, even possible death.

Rock Climbing Terms

Understanding commonly-used terms is also important for individuals who are interested in participating in or learning more about the sport of rock climbing. While there are a number of terms that can be useful to understand, those that relate to footing and hand techniques may be especially crucial. Similarly, rock climbing terms that reflect motions and movements are also important for individuals who are interested in learning more about rock climbing. Edging, backstepping, pinching, and crossing are just a few of the rock climbing terms that beginning participants must understand.

Climbing Environments

There are a number of different environments in which individuals who are interested in the sport of rock climbing can perform. In most cases, rock climbing is performed in outdoor parks, though indoor climbing walls have been growing in popularity. Individuals who participate in outdoor climbs must be aware of environmental conditions to ensure optimal results. Temperature, humidity, and cloud cover can also have an impact on safety and performance when it comes to outdoor rock climbing.

Styles of Rock Climbing

Just as there are a number of environments in which individuals can participate in rock climbing, so are there different styles of the past time. Some of the most popular styles of rock climbing include free, aid, and traditional climbing. Similarly, sport, simul, and deep-water climbing are all different styles of rock climbing that have grown in popularity over the past several years. Before participating in more advanced styles of rock climbing, participants should be sure to master the basics of the activity.

Rock Climbing Gear

To ensure optimal results when it comes to rock climbing, it is essential that participants rely on the appropriate types of gear. Rope, cord, and webbing are perhaps the most important pieces of gear that a rock climber can have. Carabiners, harnesses, helmets, gloves, goggles, and sturdy shoes are also essential for safety when rock climbing. Depending on the skill and ability level of the participant, additional types of rock climbing gear may be needed.

Safety Tips

Finally, following some basic safety tips is crucial for individuals who hope to achieve optimal results when it comes to rock climbing. Double-checking the quality and durability of the equipment planned for the climb is the most important thing that a rock climber can do. Similarly, bringing enough of the right types of gear is essential for the maintenance of safety when rock climbing. Finally, to avoid injury or even possible death, rock climbers should always think carefully about the specific climb—paying attention at all times and avoiding areas that are too challenging is important in the maintenance of safety.