All posts by diana

5 Principles to Ensure Safety While Using Anchors

5 Principles to Ensure Safety While Using Anchors

Topping out a climb can be exhilarating and fulfilling. However, it is very important to be aware of safety equipment and its proper usage to make your climb a safe one. The anchor is a very vital tool while climbing. It is made up of climbing gear that give support. To use it wisely, you will have to understand some of its basic principles. These principles are as follows:

Solid Anchors

 

Always use solid anchors. Your anchors should be strong enough to carry your full weight. It should have good bolts, round tree and immovable boulder. A solid anchor will give a firm grip. Check all the points of the anchor thoroughly before using it on a climb. Excess exposure to sun, wind, rain, snow, etc. and careless usage may spoil anchors. If you think any point of the anchor is rusty or suspicious, then do not use it. Besides, you may also keep a back-up of webbing with you.

Redundant

 

This principle states that your anchor should be properly backed up. You should have at least two connection points. This way, if one of the points fails, then the other will provide support. If any part is damaged or worn, then you should have another part ready in your kit that may play the former’s role. You may apply techniques like Sliding X, Overhand on a bight or Figure Eight on a Bight to keep your anchor redundant. Besides, twisting and clipping methods will also help you to make your anchor redundant. Whenever you climb, do make sure you have good quality climbing apparel to make your climb comfortable.

Equalized

 

This is an important principle stating that weight distribution should be equal for all the points on the anchor. This ensures a stronger grip and will prevent a fall. A greater pull on a single side may prove to be dangerous. You may equalize your rock climbing anchors by connecting them with cord or webbing.

 

No extension

The anchor you are using should have a slight or no extension. When you fix the anchor at a point, exert force over it and if there is an extension you will fall at a greater distance and may lose balance. Chances of injury increase when the distance is more. Sliding X method will help you to reduce the extension when you connect the anchor points with Figure 8 or Overhand on a Bight.

Small Angles

When you connect the points of your anchor using webbing, runner or cordelette, make small angles in your anchor. Smaller angles ensure that less force is being applied on the points. In most cases, you require a 20-degree angle which may be extended a little. Ensure that your angle never exceeds 60 degrees. As a thumb rule, stretch your index and middle finger apart. The widest angle made through this should be your maximum anchor limit.

Ensure you utilize your climbing anchor in the correct manner using these principles and make your belaying, rappelling or top roping experience fun and safe.

5 Climbing Handholds You Need to Know

5 Climbing Handholds You Need to Know

Holds are probably the most important aspect of rock-climbing. Proper techniques regarding this basic may make your climb a successful one, and decrease chances of falls and injuries as well.

Here are 5 basic handholds that you need to learn before setting out for rock climbing:

 

  • Edges 

While climbing on rocks, edges will be most widely used. It is a horizontal hold with a positive outside edge. Edges are mostly flat, but at times may be raised from the centre for a pull. The width of an edge may vary between 0.1 inches and 1.5 inches.

Two kinds of grips are used on an edge-crimp grip and open hand grip. Crimp grip requires your fingertips to be flat and your fingers slightly raised and rounded. This is a solid hand position. But it may cause strain to your finger tendons. Open hand grip works best on sloping edges, where there is a lot of friction between the skin and the rock.

  •   Slopers

 

Slopers mean sloping handholds. Slopers are rounded and have a positive edge on the fingers for a grip. They are usually seen while climbing slabs. When slopers are above you, then they become simple. You may keep your arms straight in this position and get a good hold. Slopers are preferred in cool and dry weather conditions and should be avoided during hot and sweaty weather. When you come across a sloper while climbing, try to find the best part for a good hold. A bump will give you a better climbing grip.

  •  Pinch

 

The pinch is a hold where you press your fingertips on one side and your thumb on the opposite side. Pinches are small dents formed on the rocks and you need to hold them just like you catch a ball while bowling. Pinches are generally small in size. This means that your fingers and thumbs need to be nearby and your thumb should be opposed by your index and middle finger. You get easier grips in larger pinches. For these, your thumb should be opposed by all your fingers.

  • Sidepulls

A side pull climbing hold is an edge, which is present towards your side. You need to pull the edge sideways. For a side pull, you will be pulling in an outward direction with your foot in the opposite direction. The opposite forces are responsible for holding you in place. During a side-pull, your palm and fingers should be facing the hold while your thumb should be facing upwards.

  • Palming

 

When there are no climbing handholds, you will have to use your palms to get a grip. Place your open hand on the rock and use the hand and rock friction to hold. Push the rock with the heel of your palm so that your hand is able to hold the position. Palming requires less strength as you need to push with your palm instead of pulling with the hand and arm.

Learning about these basic climbing techniques will help you a lot in your rock climbing activity.

Ensure your Safety while Climbing

Ensure your Safety while Climbing

Climbing is a high-energy and rewarding activity. While climbing is lots of fun, it also serves a dual purpose, as it strengthens your mind and body. To truly enjoy this activity and reap all of its benefits however, you need to exercise some amount of caution. Climbing needs to be practiced with proper safety gear and adequate precautions. Check our  Gear & Apparel Shop for all your climbing needs.

Equipment Checks

If you have mastered the basics of  climbing outside you should be aware of the importance of a helmet and proper gear. Never venture out for a climb without adequate preparation. Always check the necessary equipment.

Check your rope before and after each use, making sure that it is free from any soft spots, stretches, fraying, or other deformities. Do not repair and reuse any broken gear and maintain consistent inspection of your gear.

While climbing, ensure that the harnesses are buckled and knots are tied properly. The rope should be correctly threaded through the belay device. Additionally, ensure that you clip the rope correctly through draws when sport climbing.

Things to Consider

Pay attention to the following to ensure the safety:

  • Planning: Plan your trip. Know where you are going, how long it will take, and as much about the route before you leave. Prepare your gear, food and layers appropriately for the time, climb and environment you will be in.
  • Techniques: Be comfortable with the necessary techniques you will utilizing.  gain proper physical and mental training.
  • Observe: Observe others and your surroundings. Learn from mistakes and seek advice from those that know the area.
  • Communication: This is one of the most important precautions while climbing. Always be alert and pay attention. Communicate clearly with your fellow climbers. Do not take unnecessary risks. Additionally, take adequate rest to maintain alertness  and physical strength.

Proper safety and precautions will ensure that your climbing activity is safe, exciting, and stress-free.

5 Reasons Why Climbers Should Meditate

5 Reasons Why Climbers Should Meditate

Meditation may not be the first activity that comes to mind when you think of a high intensity activity like rock or mountain climbing, but it’s a winning combination. On the face of it, the two activities seem to be at odds with each other, with one requiring you to remain still and calm, while the other gives you an adrenaline rush. Yet, these seemingly opposite activities have much more in common than you would think. While physical fitness and strength are often cited as crucial for rock climbing, we often forget the importance of a healthy mind.

Both your body and mind need to be in a healthy state before you begin climbing. Exercises can help you achieve the physical strength, but it is through meditation that you can acquire mental strength and balance. Although seemingly unconnected, meditation can be very beneficial to climbers.

Here are 5 ways in which meditation helps enhance your climbing fitness levels.

 

 

Better Breathing 

 

Most meditation techniques involve concentrating on your breath, thereby making you more aware of your breathing. With regular meditation, you can learn to breathe properly, so that it improves your blood circulation and keeps you healthy. This is highly beneficial, when climbing, especially at high altitudes.

 

Improved Thinking and Concentration 

 

There’s scarcely any activity as beneficial as meditation and yoga for climbers as it greatly enhances concentration levels. Naturally, rock climbing is a sport that requires immense concentration and focus, so as to avoid any accidents. Meditation also enhances your cognitive function and decision-making skills. This is critical for climbers, as they may have to take some quick, yet smart decisions, when maneuvering unexpected turns or unfamiliar situations.

 

Calm Under Stress 

 

Climbing is an intense activity, but it wouldn’t be half as thrilling if it didn’t have so many scares. Climbers are often presented with terrifying situations that can even unnerve experienced mountaineers, but the key to a successful climb is keeping calm. If you panic at every situation fraught with risk, climbing would be a stressful activity. With meditation, you are can battle your emotions and stress and more effectively. This is extremely helpful as it allows you to think clearly during crisis situations. It is for this reason that many seasoned climbers recommend meditation for climbing to high-risk or unknown terrains.

 

Improved Memory 

 

The aforementioned stress of climbing can often cloud your judgment or impair your memory. This can be dangerous while climbing as it can cause you to forget crucial instructions and make poor choices. The memory boosting effect is just one of the many other benefits of meditative yoga for climbers. This helps you easily recall the particular approach or action that is required in a difficult situation.

Injury Prevention and Recovery 

 

Another use of meditation for climbing is that helps to increase self-awareness, not just in terms of your mind, but also in terms of your physical abilities. This helps in avoiding injuries, as you are better aware of your limitations and are less likely to yourself too hard. On the other hand, in the event that you do suffer an injury or accident during a climb, meditation can help you battle depression and fear, improving your chances of survival.

Meditating regularly makes you confident and allows you to conquer your fears. So the next time you plan a climbing fitness routine, don’t forget to include meditation in your practice.

How to Pick the Perfect Climbing Shoe!

How to Pick the Perfect Climbing Shoe for the Winter!

 If you’ve decided to go climbing this winter, there are a lot of things that you will have to prepare for before you actually head out for climbing. One important decision will be to pick the right shoes. Your climbing shoes are the most important accessory for the climb and the wrong fit or style can limit your abilities while climbing. In the process of selecting the perfect shoe, it’s best to research well. Here’s a checklist to help you.

Know the Styles and Types of Climbing Shoes 

 

There are varieties of shoes available in the market and your choice should depend on the climbing types. The broad categories are as follows:

 

  • Beginner Climbing Shoes  

 

These are all-round shoes used for basic climbing, and are typically flat, stiff and roomy near the toes.

 

  • Bouldering and Sport Climbing Shoes 

 

These shoes are snug to slightly curled toe fit with soft sensitive midsoles and a thin rubber sole. They are less stiff.

 

  • Trad and Crack Climbing 

 

These shoes are flat-toed fit with a narrow toe profile and a durable upper and stiff midsole.  A good trad-climbing shoe is fairly stiff and does not cram the toes.

All shoes come with rubber stickiness. Choose one that is slightly harder as that is more durable, while a stickier rubber is softer and less durable. While choosing your winter climbing shoes, select the mode of tightening – laces, Velcro and slip-ons. Laces are the most adjustable and give you a customized fit. Velcro is easy to put on and off while slip-ons are usually the most sensitive and comfortable. Pick up your pair based on the performance you are expecting.

  • Don’t compromise on the fit

There is nothing more important than the fit while ok choosing the right climbing shoe. Always try them on, check different models and different companies. The size should be snug: not too tight, but with no room to wiggle your toes. While trying them on, ensure that there is no gap below the heel. Since you are going climbing in the winter, make sure your shoe allows you to wear a pair of thin socks. While trying on the shoes, walk around for at least five minutes; this will help you verify the comfort level. If at any point you think the fit is amiss, look for another option. Do not compromise on the fit.

 

  • Pick the correct upper material 

In terms of upper materials, synthetic leather and plastic are most commonly used. Since you are going climbing in the winter, choose the ones with the plastic upper as they tend to keep you warm, are waterproof and protect your foot from snowmelt.

Now that you know how to choose your climbing shoes, get out on the rock!