The Stone Tablet

Ready for the Rocks?

Reagan B., Staff Writer

Hanging on for your life, ground far beneath you, arms aching. Rock climbing sounds scary sometimes, especially if you are afraid of heights or have a more reasonable fear of falling from heights.It may seem confusing, but there are many different styles of climbing. Not all rock climbing involves giant falls or even great heights.  Each type of rock climbing has different gear,styles,difficulties, and benefits.

There are many different ways to climb, the two main ways to climb is bouldering and sport climbing. Sport climbing is when you are attached to a rope, belayer (a belayer is the person who pulls your rope up as you climb so that you don’t fall super far), and harness. In toprope(a type of sport climb) your rope goes from your harness then to the top of the wall where it is attached to the top then goes back down to the ground to your belayer. As you climb your belayer pulls up the slack that is in front of you. Lead is also a type of sport climbing and is when you bring the rope up with you and clip the rope in as you climb. If you fall on lead you will fall twice the length  you are from the last clip plus how far you pull your belayer up off the ground. Bouldering is when you are on a much shorter wall without gear attaching you to the wall. In  bouldering you have mats beneath  you called crash pads in case you fall.

Rock climbing can also be very beneficial. When you climb you will naturally clear your mind of thing other than the climb itself. When your mind is clear it can also be calm.If you climb regularly you will become more active and fit which will keep you healthier and you will be more energetic.some people enjoy the thrill of rock climbing which doesn’t really have any proven positive outcomes but can still make you feel energized if you love the plummeting  thrill of falling. Most people can be afraid of heights or falling. Some people choose to just ignore their fear. Alex Honnold,greatest free soloist( a free soloist is someone who climbs without rope or safety gear) says “I’ll have some little thing happen, and I think, That’s scary,” Honnold says, “but I feel like I’m pretty good at clamping it down and not letting it go down the path of getting more and more scared until I fall apart.”

Gear and safety equipment is  used more in sport climbing than it is in  bouldering. The gear you need to boulder includes climbing  shoes,chalk, and it depend if you are climbing indoor or  outdoor if you need a crash pad. Most indoor climbing gyms already have crash pads for you to use. In sport climbing it depends if you are toproping, trad climbing,  or lead climbing. Toproping  does not require much gear other than a harness, belay device, climbing shoes, chalk, and a partner. If your climbing outdoors bring some ropes.  For lead climbing you need all the same gear and if you are climbing outdoors then you should bring  some quickdraws of your own. Trad climbing is very dangerous and I would not trad climb without being properly trained. Trad climbing is basically lead climbing but you place all of your own safety devices. If a piece of equipment  fails then you could possibly take a deadly fall. Trad climbing takes a ton of equipment, not only quickdraws but all the things to keep the quickdraws in place.

There are many nearby climbing places, some of the best outdoor places are Seneca rocks, West Virginia. Seneca is good for more advanced climbing but the mountain views are breathtaking. Great Falls is also nice. The climbs go from complete beginner to more on the advanced side. Some nearby indoor places are Vertical Rock in Manassas, Sportrock in Sterling, and   Earth Treks in Crystal City. All indoor climbing gyms have a variety of levels of climbs and are great for when you are just starting rock climbing.     

Reagan B. is campusing, or climbing without the use of her legs, during a boulder climb.

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