Rock climbing can be a safe sport when you adhere to these climbing safety tips, and it can also be a risky one when you throw caution to the wind.
Newbies to rock climbing are often bombarded with the thrills and exhilaration rock climbing presents. But the risks of the sport aren’t emphasized as such.
This is understandable, as most climbers never intend to scare away potential climbers with rock climbing risks. However, sooner or later today, rock climbing newbies often learn of the enormous dangers that exist anytime they climb.
However, these measures do not get to be expatiated on because the focus of the training differs. Climbing Apex, thus, explains fully 10 of the various climbing safety measures to be undertaken by every climber.
Rock Climbing Safety Tips & Advice
Rock climbing risks can be intimidating, but thousands of rock climbers globally ascend rugged terrains with no casualty.
These climbers, each with various climbing experiences, spanning beginners to advanced climbers, climb challenging routes with zero death due to strict adherence to rock climbing safety measures.
In training to become seasoned rock climbers, rock climbers are often counseled briefly on these rock climbing safety measures.
1. Get your gears
Beginner climbers often begin becoming an advanced climber in a climbing gym, with no climbing gear. So, they opt to rent climbing gears, and that soon becomes the norm.
However, when it’s time to move outdoors, climbers would have to buy all the necessary equipment.
Climbers should do this with an experienced climber’s aid to ensure quality gears at affordable prices would be purchased.
Owning your gears is recommended in rock climbing, especially outdoor climbing, as it can be life-saving. When gears are shared, they tend to lose quality quickly.
Climbers who make use of such gears risks significant injuries from gear failure. Another thing to keep in mind regarding gears is that all gears should be accounted for and well packed before climbing.
Making use of a climbing gear checklist is a viable option.
2. Always check the harness
When engaging in top-rope climbing, lead climbing, and any other climbing discipline which requires a belay device and a harness, climbers must check the harness.
This is to ensure that the belay device and harness are well buckled with the carabiner’s aid. The harness check should be done at the base of the climbing route, before ascension.
This check can be life-saving, as it can reveal unbuckled carabiners, which will prevent the belay device from effectively arresting falls. Aside from the buckles, climbers ensured the adjustable leg loops on the carabiner are well snugged.
3. Always wear a helmet
A rule to every form of outdoor climbing is the use of helmets with strong shells. Helmets are life-saving to climbers, as they protect climbers’ heads from falling loose rocks of various sizes.
In the event of falls, the helmet protects a climber’s head from impact. The head injuries sustained from the lack of helmet use cannot just be fatal, but life-changing.
Helmets that give climbers a clear view when they look up are recommended.
4. Climb with the right partner
Specific forms of climbing require ascending with the right partners. The right partners, in this sense, meaning climbers with more experience.
When top-roping, using a beginner climber instead of an experienced climber as your belayer can be deadly. The belayer is the only obstacle between the climber and a fatal fall.
Surely, beginner climbers would want an advanced climber with experience to be in such a position. When lead climbing, it’s best for an advanced climber to take the lead.
5. Understand climbing lingos and command
Rock climbing is a broad discipline and had different lingos and commands. A beginner climber would be oblivious of these, but these climbers must understand the terminologies and commands before stepping out to climb.
Rock climbing lingos include the various climbing techniques and equipment, while commands have to do with words used to communicate between climbers.
A perfect example of a rock climbing command is the “On Belay” command. The climber often says the command to the belayer, who responds with the “Belay On” command.
The command helps both climbers understand that they are both set for belaying.
6. Always double-check
No matter how experienced a climber is, humans’ imperfect nature would poke up is its head. As a result of these, it’s best climbers double-check equipment when packing and when strapping to prevent deadly injuries from mistakes.
Climbers should not be limited to checking if gears are included in backpacks or well strapped. Also, ensure that you double-check the state of your equipment.
This would bring to light any faulty equipment. Double-checking should be done with another climber, as that would help climbers be thorough.
7. Ensure ropes stays over your leg
A common mistake made by beginner climbers is to place ropes behind or between the legs, not over the legs. Placing the rope in such a position can be disastrous as climbers may flip and sustain head injuries if they fall.
8. Use safe anchors and long ropes
Ideally, one anchor may be enough for ascending a route, but to be safe is better than to be sorry. In light of that, climbers should use as many as two or more anchors when climbing.
When climbing with ropes, ensure the ropes are long enough to reach a belay ledge.
9. Always check the weather forecast before climbing
Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather, especially in routes with a reputation for this, it’s advisable climbers review weather forecasts before climbing.
Weather forecast would help climbers decide on clothing’s nature to be adorned, gears to take, and precautions to follow.
The weather should be a priority of every climber, especially climbers planning on climbing for days. If weather conditions appear to be very challenging, it’s best to cancel climbing expeditions as casualties may occur.
There has been an instance where a climber was struck by lightning at the climbing route’s summit. So climbers may want to rethink climbing during storms.
10. Climb routes within skills level
While it’s a good idea to explore various routes with different difficulty levels, climbers should do so with caution. Climbers should not get ahead of themselves by trying out routes far from their skill level.
Rock climbers can drastically minimize risks with good communication skills. Communication is the key to lead climbing.
Please let us know your thoughts on these climbing safety tips in the comments section below.
See 5 Probable Rock Climbing Risks, 7 Ultimate Rock Climbing Equipment List: What Gear Do I Need? and 10 Best Rock Climbers in the World