Basics of Rock Climbing

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Rock climbing is a sport that requires a little bit of concentration and a lot of energy. Indoor rock climbing offers climbers the chance to build their confidence and strength while steadily progressing in skill level. There are three types of climbing that can be found in almost every climbing gym: bouldering, top roping, and lead climbing.

Bouldering does not require any equipment besides the proper footwear, that means there’s no rope or harness. However, bouldering walls are usually no more than 20 feet tall and there’s always a mat to catch fallen climbers. To add, this type of climbing difficulty is graded on a V scale with V0 being the easiest and V16 being most advanced. If climbers wish to compete there is a whole season dedicated to bouldering.

Another common type of climbing is top roping. This is when the climber is secured via harness to a rope which is secured to another climber or auto belayed, which puts tension on the rope that slowly lowers the highest climber. Unlike bouldering, climbers must have a harness for safety as these routes much higher than those of bouldering. Furthermore, this type of climbing difficulty is graded on a Yosemite Decimal System with 5.0 being the easiest and 5.15 being the hardest. Similar to bouldering, top rope has a competition season separate to that of bouldering so athletes can compete in both or either if they wish. 

Finally, lead climbing is when a climber follows a route and clips rope into each quickdraw as they continue the route. Like top roping, lead climbing is graded on a Yosemite Decimal Scale ranging from 5.0 to 5.15. Overall, lead climbing can appear more daunting than bouldering or top roping because there is greater risk of a drastic fall, not reaching the ground but enough to startle a climber. 

Rock climbing builds muscle and agility skills developed through practice and dedication. Many consider climbing a sport for the young, however, someone of any age can enjoy rock climbing, just find a gym near you and find a program that fits your needs.