All posts by chris

Essential Yoga Exercises for Climbers

The relation between spiritual practices and strenuous rock climbing may seem poles apart, but they actually do complement each other. During climbing, one uses his complete strength generated from the body. The muscles are under constant pressure, especially the traps, biceps, triceps and legs. After a day of climbing, all the muscles in your body start to stiffen and ache, resulting in weakness or discomfort while pursuing your next climb.

During these times the art of Yoga comes to the rescue. Yoga is renowned for its spiritual, mental and physical healing. A yoga session for a rock climber can soothe the physical stress and provides relief of any emotional stigma. Following are some exercises that a rock climber should perform frequently to attain relief from physical and mental stress.

Crescent Lunge: This exercise needs to be performed in order to strengthen your arms, legs and the core of your body. It stretches the groin, legs and hip, while also expanding the chest, torso and shoulders. The crescent lunge strengthens your upper and lower body and also escalates your balance and stability.

Warrior 2: The warrior 2 exercise is very essential for climbers as it increases the endurance in your legs. Practicing this exercise strengthens your hands and legs and is useful in preventing any injuries during your climb. Essential to strengthen upper and lower body, increases stamina, relieves backache.

Half Moon Pose: One more exercise that is crucial for climbers is the half-moon pose. This exercise strengthens your legs and tests your balancing power. A really essential aspect during climbing is to maintain balance and this pose provides the strength to do that.  The pose strengthens your thighs and calves, expands your shoulders and chest, and is also believed to aid in healing leg related wounds.

Chair Pose: A complete body workout is facilitated by practicing this exercise. This pose strengthens your legs, arms and shoulders. It also provides for better stability and enhances the strength of upper and lower body. Strengthens calf muscles, improves mobility of your ankles, expands chest and shoulders.

The above mentioned yoga poses are especially for climbers, these exercises strengthens all the muscles that are utilized during climbing. Performing these yoga poses will make climbing a much more relaxed and joyous experience. There are some yoga classes in Denver area that provide some really useful tips and pointers to climbers and also train them accordingly.

Caress the skies: Top Destinations for Rock Climbing

“Climbing is as close as we can come to flying.” – Margaret Young.

The thought of a million adrenaline junkies voiced in one sentence. Rock climbing isn’t meant for the fainthearted, climbing a vertical rock wall utilizing your own strength and pushing the extremities of your muscles and will power. The catch to that, you are tied only to a rope; this rope is your savior in case anything bad happens. All this may sound scary, but to climbers it’s a way of life, a stress buster or a hobby if one may say so.

People also call it death-defying, but for the climber, it’s the most independent he can ever get. Is it a reckless sport? Ask a climber about the rush they attain from doing this; the goose bumps, the cold wind caressing his body, and the sense of pride and satisfaction after conquering a top. While we appraise the rush, let’s check out some of the most popular sites for rock climbing:

Kalymnos Island, Greece

Kalymnos Island

A climbing venue inclusive of more the 2,000 routes, Kalymnos Island is a popular destination for  outdoor rock climbing. One of the most visited tourist attraction in Greece, this island is hospitable for all, teenage climbers, aged tourists and professionals. A prompt rescue service and properly laid climbable rocks, the Kalymnos Island is a must visit for aspiring climbers.

Agulha do Diabo (Devil’s Needle), Brazil

Agulha do Diabo

Rated by many climbers as the most beautiful and scenic spire, the Agulha do Diabo, aka Devil’s Needle, is a tricky 2050 meters of challenging climbing. It is located inside the Serra dos Orgaos National Park in Brazil. To conquer the peak of the Needle, a climber needs to acquire accurate knowledge about the weather, wind speed and route along with certain improvisations in his/her technique.

Matterhorn Pennine Alps, Switzerland

Matterhorn

The most prominent geographical milestone in the European skyline, the Matterhorn Alps in Switzerland is 4478 meters of a pleasurable yet tactical climb. An extremely testing climb that requires proper use of techniques and skills, only climbers with prior experience are permitted to ascend this mountain.

The above mentioned destinations are a must visit for any climber. Nature has so much to offer, especially its splendid creations and scenic beauty, but there are only a few brave hearts that end up experiencing this extravagant phenomenon.

Earth Treks’ 2014 Outdoor Classes Now Open for Registration!

We know it’s hard to think about rock climbing outside when there is a foot of snow on the ground, but in two short months the outdoor rock season will start in earnest.  Earth Treks offers outdoor rock climbing classes in MD and VA for all abilities and interests, including those who are brand new to climbing and those who have already gotten started with indoor climbing.  If you already know how to belay and have been climbing in the gym, you’ll want to check out the Gym 2 Crag Package.  The Gym 2 Crag Package will prepare you to head to any crag with the knowledge and confidence to set up your own top rope system and climb outdoors with technique and finesse, and includes Intermediate Rock Climbing and Top Rope Systems 1.  If you’re looking for a weekend adventure, check out the West Virginia Road Trip.  This is a another option for indoor climbers looking to climb outdoors and includes two days of climbing and top rope anchoring instruction at beautiful Coopers Rock, WV.

You’ll be surprised how many great outdoor climbing areas you’ll find in Maryland and Virginia and Earth Treks’ classes visit many of them, including Carderock, Annapolis Rocks, and Rocks State Park, MD and Great Falls, VA.  These sites are easily accessible from the Baltimore – Washington region.

For those who already got started climbing outdoors last year, it’s time to push your skills to the next level with classes like Top Rope Systems 2 and Intro to Trad Climbing.

Your Choice in Climbing Equipment Could Save your Life

There is a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment when you pull yourself over the edge of a summit you have been climbing. Whether this is at a training centre, or on an actual climbing spot, nothing is more important than the integrity of your climbing and safety equipment.

There must be no compromise on the equipment you carry, in terms of necessity and quality. Take a look at some of the important gear you should have:

Climbing Helmet: You should choose a helmet that provides protection and comfort. Rock climbing enthusiasts like you need to protect your heads if you lose grip and bang into a rock face, or end up tilted at odd angles. Select one that you will be comfortable in for long hours.

Climbing Harness: There are different kinds of harnesses available such as:

  • Gym harnesses: These are available in a range of simple as well as high-end versions. The most basic is suitable for indoor rock climbing. Others such as the double back waist belt buckle or the thin belay harnesses are great when you want to get in and out of them quickly and carry minimum weight on you.
  • Traditional Harnesses: These are generally light and comfortable, but need more gear than required by gym harnesses. They come with features such as adjustable leg loops, gear loops, durable padding for lumbar, etc. Ice and mixed harnesses are available to deal with extreme climes.
  • Alpine harnesses: These may be used in most seasons and are flexible.
  • Specialized harnesses: These are created for unique climbing styles such as competitive climbing, canyoneering, big wall climbing or rescues.

Belay Device: This is a device that grabs hold of you if you slip and fall, preventing a fatal accident. It is also used to give you a breather when climbing. These devices come in three forms:

  • Tube, usually used by novice climbers.
  • Auto-blocking, a slightly advanced version of the tube.
  • Assisted braking which is popular among climbers because it has a mechanism that grabs a rope if a climber slips.

Climbing Ropes: These are ropes that help you gain leverage as you move up a rock face. Dynamic ropes are most preferred as they stretch, which is good if you fall, as it reduces the shock on your body.

Knowing what you need and getting comfortable with your climbing equipment before you use it in the field is a good idea.

How Rock Climbing can Help You Boost Your Mental Capabilities

Rock wall climbing is turning out to become one of the world’s fastest growing mainstream indoor sporting activities. Conventionally perceived to be a sport only for the adrenaline junkies; reliable instructions, training and modern day safety equipment has made the sport of enjoyable for people of all ages.
Depending on your personal comfort and level of ability, anyone can pursue this sport and reap its benefits. The advantages of climbing are summarized in three main areas:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Social

Let’s take a look at the mental benefits offered with rock wall climbing:

Decision-Making and Goal-Setting
Each indoor rock climbing route is like a puzzle in its own self. This takes significant patience and strategy. While climbing, you will be expected to set your goal and make spot decisions as in your path. Furthermore, you will be expected to commit to your decisions and follow through. This activity helps you in nurturing your ability to assess a problem, identify a viable solution and execute as the situation demands.

Planning
While beginners may choose to decide their route hold by hold, over a period of time, you will be able to look at the larger picture in front of you. Soon, the climber is able to visualize the entire route even before he or she grabs the first hold. With practice, you will able to build your planning and problem solving abilities.

Concentration
Once the climber has established his or her abilities to strategize and set goals, the power of concentration and determination is naturally inculcated. With each decision that you make having an overall impact on your climb, you are forced to develop certain levels of concentration that eventually translate into your approach in the real world.

Self-Confidence
Finally, the mere knowledge of having accomplished something that seemed so impossible in the beginning is a great way to develop self-confidence. In addition to this, buildingself-awarenesswithin oneself adds to the confidence levels of a climber.
A great way to pursue comprehensive physical, mental and social development is by signing up with a climbing gym that allows you to pursue this sport all year round.