The Thrill Of Rock Climbing

by : Richard Prosser

Why would you want to climb a rock? What if you fall. At the least you may get a few scratches. Maybe break a bone or two or crack open your head like an egg. There wouldn't be much left of you if you did. So why do it? You want to impress your friends, or for the thrill, the exhilaration? Probably, all those reasons.

Rock climbing though, especially when you have scaled a shear rock wall or crawled upside down under an outcropping to get around and over the edge so you can continue upward has got to be a huge sense of accomplishment and total exhilaration. Once you are at the top and look down to your starting point, which appears to look further down than it did looking up, it can only be described as "WOW". You almost feel super human, even though you may be dead tired. The fun part is propelling back down with a series of distance covering leaps and can be just as invigorating.

Rock climbing isn't for everybody though, even if you have a mind to do it. Rock climbing takes strength and endurance, let alone intestinal fortitude. You must build up your strength and stamina to be able to pull yourself up from one pitch to the next. This is an extreme sport that is not for someone who is out of shape physically. You should make sure you are in good health and capable of climbing before attempting to scale a rock wall. You can do this through workout routines. There are even practice walls you can experience in order to get into shape. These are usually indoors and the risks are minimal. You do not want to measure how physically fit you are by trying to climb a high peak. This only spells disaster.

There are certain exercises you can do to help prepare for rock climbing. The first is simple pull ups. These should be done at different angles and heights because of the conditions you will be facing when climbing the rock walls. Also, the arms are used to hang with while attaching your gear to the walls. You must be able to hang with one arm and maneuver the other to hack out a place for your equipment or to place your equipment. Balance is another thing you must possess. Never rule out lower body strength as it is your feet that keep you on a tiny ledge until you anchor in.

Rock climbing should also be done in pairs. This is the safest way to climb. If something does go wrong you have a partner there to help. In my state there have been at least three mishaps already this year. Had they not had a partner they may never have been rescued before it was too late. Plus having a partner gives you the added benefit of being able to share the experience. Knowing that you and your partner just scaled a wall others would consider insurmountable is a feeling like no other.

There are many places you can go to learn the sport of rock climbing. The cost generally includes all the equipment you will need. The instructors are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and have your safety utmost in their minds. You can take these classes whether you are a beginner or an advanced rock climber.

The less advanced rock climber may feel more comfortable with a guide when doing their first climb or two. There are many places which offer guided rock climbing experiences. Always make certain that your guide is a member of the AMGA. This way you know safety is first and foremost. The thrills you seek come from the climb not from faulty equipment or inexperienced guides.

The exhilaration that comes from scaling the cliffs and walls of some of the most beautiful country side can only be experienced by being out there. Join a group or a club. Travel the country or the world conquering the cliffs and mountains. Heck, you might even try scaling Mount Everest someday. You will never know how wonderful it is to reach the peak and know what you have accomplished until you have done it.

Richard Prosser