Reinvent the wheel - make it rounder! :: /climbing.php :: last change: 11.05.08
Ola on a hanging belay
Climbing - The art of slowly moving vertically on a rock wall, with the use of very much, very expensive and even heavy equipment, in an as difficult manner as possible, risking life and limb in the process. If it isn't obvious by now why someone would voluntarily do this, it probably never will be. ;)
Climbing is the one of the sports I participate in that can scare me the most, and provide the most intense experiences, I think. I remember one day after a climb we retreated on, I thought to myself "Why the hell am I even doing this? I was scared shitless back there. It was NOT fun, it was closer to horrible!". At the same time, I knew we would return eventually, and give it another shot. That has not yet happened, but will for sure within a few months of writing this. I don't know if I can explain the fascination I have for rock climbing properly. Overcoming ones fears, making possible what looks impossible, improving oneself mentally and physically, is part it. And then, to top out on that route, will be quite a personal achievement.
Rock climbing has a dimension that skydiving for instance does not have. That is the feeling of being 100% in charge of ones own safety. There are no rules or regulations, no certifications, or riggers who makes sure your gear is in working order. You're basically on your own. The climb consist of a long series of decisions, assessments of rock quality, protection placement, probability of a fall, consequence of a fall, and much more. This in possibly very exposed vertical terrain.
Me leading an easy pitch.
Photo by Ola
There are several "flavours" of rock climbing. When I use the words climbing or rock climbing, I refer to what is known as "traditional climbing", or just trad, for short. That is typically done on routes higher than 50 meters, where you place your own protection as you climb. One normally climbs as a pair, taking turns leading. The leader climbs first, placing protection, while the other one belays.
Technical climbing is done on walls which are too hard to climb "normally", or free, as it's called. When climbing technically, you use climbinggear to support your weight most of the time, instead of just relying on it to catch a fall. This requires very much gear and patience. One must have adequate experience with traditional climbing before attempting this. Some of the specialized technical gear includes "protection" that will hold body-weight only.
Sport climbing is done on routes which are generally lower than 50 meters, typically 10-30 meters, prebolted. While sport climbing, you don't place protection yourself, you just clip onto solid bolts. This allows harder climbs, much because you don't have to carry much equipment, and spend time placing it, but also because you can to a greater extent allow yourself to fall, without risking life and limbs.
Then you have bouldering, which is a peculiar mutant form of climbing. Boulderers climb without any safety except for a so called crashpad (they hate it when you call it a pillow), and at heights no more than about 4-5 meters. The entire route, or problem as it's called, may consist of only a few, hard moves.
Me and alot of gear.
Photo by Ola
Indoor climbing, also known as plastic climbing or gym climbing, is admittedly a great way to spend the winter season, if you're not an ice climber, and also a good way for beginners to get into climbing. But for all other purposes, outdoor climbing is the thing to do!
Free soloing, kind of a combination between trad climbing and bouldering - high climbs, no safety. Participants needs to be in extraordinarily good shape, physically and mentally. Google Dan Osman speed climbing...