How to Outdoor Rock Climb (Bouldering)
Although rock climbing has pretty much been around since humans started exploring, the sport of rock climbing didn’t come about until the late 19th century in Europe -- where mountaineers would attempt to climb cliffs as fast as possible. The sport is now governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), with about 35 million climbers worldwide.
How to Outdoor Rock Climb?
There are a few different variations to rock climbing, each with their own specifications and levels of difficulty. Free climbing is the most common and uses top ropes, anchors, and protection for the climber. Other styles are bouldering, and the least common (and most dangerous) solo climbing.
Only daredevils will attempt solo climbing, as these climbers use no protection, ropes, or anchors. Quite literally, one mistake can be fatal. Regardless, to be an effective rock climber, one must be patient, have great awareness, a strong center of gravity, leg strength, and be a risk-taker.
Rules of Rock Climbing
- There are two types of competition settings for rock climbing: Speed run and distance. With speed runs, these courses are usually less complex but focus more on technical skills of a climber. Distance will focus more on endurance with a high level of difficulty.
- For free climbing, bouldering, and solo, all climbers must wear climbing shoes -- which have ridges on the bottom and friction-less rubber soles to give the climber extra “grip”.
- There are 5 different classifications when it comes to course difficulty -- with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the hardest. At 5, there are another 5 subcategories. At the highest level of difficulty, it is not recommended to do these courses solo; and the consequences of doing so are often fatal.
- On top of the technical classifications, there are course length grades 1 through 6. At 1, these courses can take a couple of hours, with 6 taking multiple days if not weeks.
- The usage of chalk is highly recommended when climbing -- especially at higher difficulties. Chalk will provide an even better grip for difficult slabs of rock.
- Because of the respect and love for Mother Nature that comes with rock climbing, climbers are encouraged to leave as little of a “footprint” as possible. This means cleaning up all harnesses, chalk points, anchors, or other items that could damage the environment.
Of course, the highest climb possible on Earth is Mount Everest. This expedition will take many weeks, and requires thorough preparation and years of experience. Only 4,000 people in history have been able to complete Mount Everest, with over 200 climbers gone missing or succumbed to the difficulty the behemoth mountain brings.
Written by: Devin Pickell