Is there anything more invigorating and empowering than imagining scaling a steep rock wall in the wilderness?
There are usually only two responses to this question, and neither of them are,”Eh, it’s okay.” While outdoorsy daredevil adventurer types will reply, “When are we going?!” the safety-conscious city dwellers will shutter in dismay.
Of course, these days you don’t have to be a nature lover to reap the benefits of a brutally steep climb, thanks to innovations in gym wall climbing.
Whether the thought of climbing a boulder gives you an adrenaline rush or inspires a panic attack, you’ve got to admit this bodyweight resistance exercise provides a fabulous total body workout.
History of climbing
As you can probably guess, humans have been climbing mountains since nearly the dawn of humanity, so it can be hard to pinpoint a specific moment in history. Of course, it’s gotten a lot more technical and a lot safer in the last 200 years as we develop new knowledge and capabilities.
The first documented depiction of rock climbing comes to us in the form of a watercolor dating back to 400 BC.
From the 10th to 12th centuries Colorado Pueblo natives build cliff dwellings that required carved mountain steps and drilled posts fittings.
The first known “grimpeur” or “climbing specialist” was a French military engineer and King Charles VIII’s chamberlain Antoine de Ville. De Ville climbed Mont Aiguille in 1942 with ten companions, utilizing ropes and ladders.
The 20th century saw many new improvements in both gear and technical knowledge and skills. Climbs that took more than a month, such as the 3,000 foot climb up the sheet wall of El Capitan in 1958 now take expert-level climbers less than three hours.
How to Perform Essential Rock Climbing Skills
Rock Climbing, by its very nature, is an impromptu skill-based activity where you must assess your surroundings and decide how to proceed. However, its best to have basic skills in place before scaling a rocky cliffside.
Rappelling, setting anchors, and belaying ensure you remain safe on your journey while practicing body lifts and maneuvers and learning different finger grips help you climb faster.
Here is some basic rock climbing knowledge:
- Learning the Jargon. Basic climbing voice commands are verbal directions used by climbers to communicate during the climb. Knowing what “watch me,” “climb on,” and “on belay” mean ensure no one is left “falling” without someone to help.
- Jamming Cracks. Though this may sound like a particularly brutal form of a wedgie, this actually involves jamming your hands, feet, fingers, and limbs into natural cracks in the rock face
- Belaying. In order to remain safe on your climb, you have to know how to hold a climbing rope for your climbing partner in case you should fall. This is a skill best perfected in the gym before heading to the cliffs.
- Rappelling. After you climb up a mountainside or cliff, you need to know how to safely move your body back down. To properly rappel, you need to know how to set anchors, tie strong knots, and brake.
- Top Rope Climbing. Top rope climbing is the easiest and safest way to climb because a safety rope is anchored at the top of a climb and harnessed to your body the entire time
- Improves grip strength
- Challenges every muscle group in the body
- Builds lean muscles
- Stabilizes the core and back muscles
- Increases flexibility
- Boots confidence
- Efficiently burns calories
- Lifts mood
- Encourages weight loss
- Enhances mental strength
- Reduces Stress
- Boosts metabolism
- Improves functional strength
- Increases coordination and agility
There are four main types of climbing:
- Traditional Climbing
- Sport climbing
- Indoor Wall Climbing
Climb Your Way to a Better Physique
Have you ever noticed how some hardcore rock climbers bodies look like they were literally chiseled from the rocky mountain side?
Whether you see rock climbing as the ultimate adventure or your worst nightmare, you’ve got to admit it can seriously transform your bod.