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.

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.

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.

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.