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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.



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.



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.

Wall Stripping and Re-Setting Schedule

Over the next two weeks, the Columbia and Timonium facilities will undergo re-surfacing and re-setting to the walls in preparation for the Roc Comp on April 23 & 24. Columbia – Bouldering area will be stripped on Sunday 4-18-10, the outer TR wall on Tuesday 4-20-10. 2 sections on the pump wall, 1 section on the slab (expansion side) and 1 section on the alcove wall (expansion side) will be stripped sometime during the week before the event. Several large sections on the inner walls will be untouched and available for climbing, leading up to the event.

Timonium – The lead wall was stripped Sunday 4-11-10 and will be resurfaced/repainted over the next week. It will be reset after the comp. The parts of the cave that have already been resurfaced will be stripped/reset on Sunday 4-18-10. The other sections of the cave that have not been resurfaced were stripped 4-11-10 and will be resurfaced/repainted along with the lead wall this week.

We know that with every event we host, it puts a strain on our faithful members and we appreciate all of your patience and understanding. On the bright side, think of all the amazing post-comp problems set by the most talented setters around and a herd of rock-stars hanging out in YOUR home gym!!

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.