2010 SCS Divisionals

Congratulations to the Earth Treks Climbing Team for their fantastic performance at USA Climbing’s 2010 SCS Division 5 Championship!

Divisionals took place on June 12-13, 2010 at the Philadelphia Rock Gym-Valley. The climbing spanned over two days with some fierce competition from the Capital/New England Noth/New England South region’s best climbers. Proudly representing Earth Treks, our team turned out a great performance. We had 13 team members make it to finals and 11 qualify for Nationals in Atlanta!! For the full recap from Coach Mike, check out the Official Team Page.

How to Prevent Climbing Injuries with Stretches

How to Prevent Climbing Injuries with Stretches

Rock climbing or mountain climbing are without a doubt some of the most fun-filled and exciting activities. Ignoring the risks can, however, take all of the fun out of what should be a pleasurable experience. As is the case with any adventure sport, climbing does pose its fair share of risks. Very often, these injuries are caused due to a lack of flexibility in the body, which can occur as a result of muscle and ligament strain while climbing.

As with most physical activities, exercise can be of much help in reducing the risk of such injuries. A quick warm up before you begin your climb can go a long way in stimulating blood flow to the muscles. This not only energizes you for the activity, it improves your agility, which is crucial in rock climbing. Stretches are usually recommended as an essential exercise in a climbing warm up routine.

Scientific View

Although it is generally believed that stretching exercises can significantly lower the risk of climbing injuries, scientific studies have produced mixed results. It was observed during much of the research that stretching before climbing does not benefit the body during the activity. Yet, one must note that the experiments aimed to study the immediate effects of the activity. It would be premature to dismiss stretching exercises as ineffective when it comes to avoiding climbing injuries, however, as many other studies have shown positive results and to some extent the benefits will also be greater to an individual with higher fitness levels.

Enhance Flexibility with Stretching

Stretches as a part of your exercise routine or climbing warm up can greatly enhance the flexibility of body muscles over a period of time. So, although there are no immediate benefits, stretching is of much use in the long run. Rock climbing enthusiasts can participate in flexibility training programs that determine the imbalances or weaknesses in muscles and address them with stretching exercises.

Needless to say, a flexible and athletic body helps you perform better in activities like rock climbing. Your muscles and joints acquire increased mobility and you are able to climb with much greater ease.

Things to Consider

In order to gain the best results, it is important to establish a routine of rock climbing stretches that is best suited for your body. It is, therefore, crucial to assess specific muscles that may need stretching. It is equally important to choose the right type of stretches.

  • Begin by performing a stretch and hold it for a few seconds. If you experience tension or stiffness in certain muscles, those are the less flexible areas of your body. Focus your exercises on these parts to loosen them up.
  • While determining your rock climbing stretches it is important to focus on muscle areas that are strained during the activity. Opt for dynamic stretches that focus on the calves, thighs, lower back, and so on.
  • Be sure to exercise caution and seek professional aid or supervision. Determine your capabilities and do not exert yourself beyond these, as doing so can cause even more harm than good.

Include stretches in your exercise and climbing warm up routine to avoid injuries so that you can truly enjoy this thrilling activity.

Crack Climbing Techniques and Tips

Crack Climbing Techniques and Tips

Crack climbing is a sport that involves ascending along the various sized cracks in a rock. It is also known as jamming. It lets the climber place protection in between the crevices to aid the climb. There are a number of techniques involved in crack climbing which can be used for the different types of rocks as they each differ from each other.

Here are a few tips for mastering crack climbing techniques:

Understand the Type of Cracks 

 

Cracks can vary in size and shape and thus the techniques used to climb them are also different. One can categorize the cracks according to the way they can be used to climb. Hand cracks, fist cracks, and finger cracks are a few examples. Cracks large enough to fit a person in are known are chimneys while smaller ones ranging between 4-10 inches are called off-width tracks.  For beginners, it is best to try out a combination of cracks and practicing each crack climbing technique before moving on to the next level.

Learn the Technique of Jamming

 

Jamming is an important skill that all crack climbers should add to their repertoire. It takes practice to master it, but once you have learned the right technique, crack climbing becomes immensely easy and satisfying. Jamming involves wedging your body parts into the different types of cracks to aid in climbing. Combining this skill with the right climbing footwork can make one accomplished in this sport.

Focus on Foot Placement 

 

Crack climbing is not only about jamming and brute strength of your arms. It also involves your legs and the lower half of your body. Make sure you master climbing footwork for different types of cracks. Your legs have more strength than your arms and so it is important that you pay attention to using them well so as to avoid exhausting yourself soon.

Look for Constrictions in the Rocks 

 

Constrictions in the rock help in jamming and holding your body part in place. So while crack climbing, constantly look out for such constrictions to help you wedge your body parts in a more secure manner. Try to focus on your footwork here as feet are more secure in anchoring you to a surface as compared to fingers.

Follow these tips to help you climb cracks and master various climbing techniques.  Crack climbing requires a lot of patience and practice as it is a difficult sport. Make sure you train well in all aspects including endurance, flexibility, and strength to get the most out of this unusual and grueling sport.

Common Climbing Mistakes and How to Avert Them

Common Climbing Mistakes and How to Avert Them

Not all errors in climbing are life threatening — some may just spoil the entire climbing experience. It’s important that you learn from your mistakes. In climbing, futile experiences can be the foundation of good judgment. With this in mind, we’ve put together some of the most common climbing mistakes and ways to avoid them—in hopes of accelerating your journey toward being a safer, smarter climber.

Too Much Weight on Arms

Beginners usually rely on their arms too much while rock climbing. They do not realize that arms can pull the body up while legs continue to remain a dead weight. This eventually leaves your arms feeling exhausted which can be dangerous. Hence, always try and keep most of your weight concentrated on your legs.

Double-Checking Your Belay and Knots

Respect your gear. Getting the most suitable repairs and maintenance for your equipment is a must. For those who are belaying, the rope needs to be threaded perfectly through the belay device. Also, make sure that the carabiners in the system are locked. Double-check your knot, it needs to be fastened in an accurate manner.

Without a Head Gear

Helmets are a must for outdoor rock climbing! Traditional climbers wear helmets more often as compared to the beginners. Rock climbing can always be a risk. A climber can suffer severe head injuries and skull fracture in case of an accident. If a helmet can safeguard and mitigate a head injury, then why should not a climber always wear a helmet during his expedition! Consider all the risks before you make a fashion-centric decision of not wearing a helmet.

Ill-fitting Shoes

Beginners usually go for shoes that are slightly bigger. One of the most important things to remember while climbing is that climbing shoes shouldn’t have dead space. They need to be tight. In case they are not, you’ll keep moving your foot within the shoe which could make climbing uncomfortable and, sometimes, dangerous.

Imbalance

Maintaining a calculated balance is utmost important while climbing. An incorrectly balanced body tends to turn away from the rock, resulting in a dangerous hang or a possible fall.

Over Confidence

You arrive at the rock spot and intend to be on top of it in no time. When you start climbing immediately, especially beginners, you start searching for the best moves to get ahead. This could drain your energy not allowing you to complete the task the way you wanted to. Do not race ahead. Be patient. It important for you to first become a better climber, and understand the risks. Only then, you will be able to evaluate your ability to mitigate the dangers.

Climbing Over Your Limit

Many new climbers will face the urge to climb beyond their limit considering that they’re proficient in roped climbing or have boulder at an indoor climbing gym. This could be due to pressure from fellow climbers or a novice who wants to show off their skills. But outdoor rock climbing is a lot different from indoor climbing walls. Such a scenario could lead to undesired aftermaths.

Dropping Gear

Do not try to clean the anchors while climbing when you have other climbers following you. You could injure the people behind you. Similarly, try and avoid following other climbers when they’re cleaning their route for safety reasons.

With the right equipment and lots of practice, you can have a wonderful climbing experience. By avoiding some of these mistakes, any climber, be it a professional or a beginner, could be prepared for a safe and stimulating climbing experience. To enjoy a climbing experience, please visit an Earth Treks Climbing Center.

 

3 Climbing Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Climbing Mistakes You Need to Avoid 

Climbing is an activity that requires a combination of skills and strengthBefore you begin rock climbing you need to do some serious planning and you should make sure that you have all the information you needLearn about the different techniques and how to execute them correctlyAlways be prepared and carry the necessary supplies with you, to avoid any problem while climbing 

In their enthusiasm to begin climbing, most first-timers and amateur climbers forget to take certain precautions, often making mistakes that complicate what could be a pretty simple task. 

Some of the mistakes that new climbers make are: 

Not carrying enough food and water: 

Always make sure you’re well-stocked when venturing out on a climb. The rigorous physical activity will increase your thirst and hunger and although carrying water will weigh you down considerably, it is your most essential supply. You should carry water for a minimum of two days. This will spare you a great deal of discomfort in various situations that could arise, such as from accidentally spilling water, losing or breaking a bottle, or moving very slowly.  

 In addition to water, make it a point to carry extra food provisions. You require calorie-dense and nutritious foods to keep your body energized for climbingTo keep your body’s supply of energy replenished, carry oatmeal and have it with peanut butter. Fill your bag with chocolate bars, candy, and salt pills ayou require energy-dense foods while climbing. 

 Wearing the wrong apparel: 

Wearing denim pants while climbing is one of the most common climbing mistakes. While you may be part of the ‘selfiegeneration’, exercise some restraint when out on a climb! Besides, you don’t always have to look your best, so avoid turning up for a climb all decked up. No matter how fashionable they might be or comfortable at other times, clothing that isn’t suitable for a climb can greatly impede your abilities. Wear clothes made from synthetic fabrics, with a rain and insulation layer, to enhance comfort. 

 Not rappelling safely: 

Rappelling is the most dangerous activity when climbing. Ensuring proper safety while rappelling is very important. Your life quite literally depends on the quality of your gear and how you use it. You should thread the rope with a rappelling device and join it with the harness. Tie big knots at the end of each rope to stop the rappel when you reach the end. You also need to ensure that the lock is properly fixed with your harness. Always check to make sure that your hair or any piece of clothing is tangled in the rappel system.  Lastly, make slow movements while rappelling.    

 

If you haven’t done it before, there’s no shame in learning. Sign up for rock climbing instruction sessions to learn the basics thoroughly, so you can avoid such common mistakes.