photo by Will4Adventure
It all began here in the Lake District in June 1886… WP Haskett Smith, inspired by the Napes Needle on Great Gable climbed this famous pinnacle: and so the latest sport for gentlemen of that century was begun!
And now thousands of aspiring adventurers come to the Lake District each year for the many world class routes it has to offer. And the Lake District really has it all – from the road side crags of Shepards Crag in Borrowdale and Gimmer Crag in the Langdales to the classics on Dow Crag, Eagle Crag and Pavey Ark to name just a few.
I’ve never done this before: can anyone do this?
Yes anyone can have a go at rock climbing – but it is not something you can just launch yourself into without doing some Climbing Courses first. This sport requires a great deal of technical knowledge combined with the ability to move efficiently up steep rock. An awareness of your centre of gravity and balance is far more beneficial than say upper body strength alone.
Different Climbing Styles
The sport of rock climbing has evolved over the years and now many people will know of a local indoor climbing wall to visit. Often this is where people begin.
Traditionally, rock climbers outdoors take turns to lead and second routes up single or multi-pitch routes. The lead climber will protect themselves by placing specialist equipment into the wall as s/he ascends the route. Once the lead climber has established a safe stance, the “second” will climb the face and strip it of all the lead climber’s protection, with a rope securing him/her from above. This is called “trad climbing”.
Since the 1980’s a culture of sport climbing has evolved – particularly on the continent and overseas in general. This is where rock climbing routes have been pre-bolted for the lead climber to clip into as s/he ascends the route.
More recently the practise of bouldering has developed as sport in its own right. This is where you will see climbers on low level rocks practising moves and series of moves, but since they remain low they climb without any ropes or protection.
Novices who join rock climbing courses will have ropes pre-rigged above them – this is commonly called top-rope climbing, enabling people to learn the skills in absolute safety.
Last of all – there are those purists who wish just to get out there and climb. Without the use of any equipment or ropes, climbing long and high routes, this style is by far the most dangerous way to enjoy the sport!
Where to go from here?
If you’re looking to learn more, Will4Adventure are a reputable company using qualified and experienced leaders to teach the skills for all, from complete novices to budding mountaineers. Also you can learn more and follow up to date discussion with UKClimbing or with the British Mountaineering Council.
Finally you should note that:
Rock climbing is exciting, intoxicating and liberating. But it should also be noted that rock climbing as with all outdoor pursuits, carries an inherent risk of injury and death, which cannot be eliminated.