How Exiting and Thrilling is Rock Climbing?

by : Muna wa Wanjiru

Rock climbing is an exciting and thrilling sport. It is a highly challenging sport and requires a lot of experience and stamina.
Always climbers work in pairs, one climbing and the other belaying. In rock climbing, the belay climber feeds rope to the lead climber through a device called belay device. The leader climbs up the rock. Sometimes they may clip hangers which are already bolted or may even place protection on their way to the top. The belayer "locks off" the rope to make sure leader is safe and does not fall.

The leader either places his own type of protection or clips into permanent protection, which is already attached to the rock (Sport climbing). In traditional climbing, the protection is detachable.

Usually nuts or Spring-loaded camming device are set in cracks in the rock although the climbers also sometimes use pitons. In rock climbing the protection are the bolts that are loops made of metal.

Fixing the bolts to the rocks involve using the masonry bolts that can expand and are taken from the construction industry, or by placing glue-in the bolt systems. In ice, climbing the protection is made-up of devices called Ice Screws.

The lead climber usually attaches the rope to the protection with carabiners or the quick draws. If the lead climber falls under any circumstance, he will fall twice the length of the rope out from the last protection point, plus rope stretch, plus the slack.

Due to the gear not locked on to the rock securely, if it dislodges the fall will be long. For example if a climber is 2 meters above the last protection, he will fall 2 meters to the protection, 2 meters below the protection. The fall thus will be a four meter fall which includes the stretching of the rope.

If the leader falls, the belayer's duty is to arrest the rope to stop the fall. To achieve this rope is made to go through a belay device that is secured to the belay climber's harness. This belay device now runs the rope through a succession of sharp edged curves that, when operated properly by the belay climber, to a great extent increase the friction and stop the rope from running.

If the route being climbed by the climbers is, a multi-pitch route the leader sets up a secure anchor system at the top of the pitch, also called as a belay, from where he can belay as his partner climbs up.

Climbers have now reached the top. It has to be noted that the second is protected from above while climbing, where as the leader is not, so being the leader is more challenging experience.

After completing their rock climbing with both climbers at the top of the pitch, they must rappel or descend the climb in order to return to their starting point. After he/she has completed a single pitch route, the belayer is used to lower down the lead climber.

The leader, who is nearly a rope length above the second climber, usually places multiple pieces of protective hooks and ropes as he climbs so that the weight of the second climber may get balanced in case the leader falls down. If the second climber falls, the leader will also be pulled and will lead to escalating danger. This type of rock climbing is even more risky than the others.