By Natalie Ramirez
Rock climbing is a sport that requires individuals to use their hands and feet to ascend a rock or wall. The sport has several different forms that include bouldering, sport climbing, or traditional climbing.
Bouldering requires a safety pad known as a crash pad that must be set down on the ground underneath a boulder when an individual is scaling the rock. Hence, when a person falls he or she should be able land safely on the pad to prevent injury. This style of climbing can be done alone since the rocks are a much smaller size and do not require rope.
On the other hand, sport climbing requires two individuals. One person will be attached to a rope with a harness and the other will be in charge of the rope, known as belaying. The climber ascends the wall and clips the rope that is attached to them to the rock, thereby releasing him or herself from the belayer into multiple anchors that are attached to the cliff. These anchors have carabiners, more specifically a quickdraw, that the climber must clip their rope into for protection for when they do take a fall.
Traditional climbing is similar to sport climbing and also requires two or more individuals. Traditional climbing also requires a rope and harness. Unlike sport climbing, however, there are no anchors within the cliff already, these forms of protection known as cams must be placed into the rock by the climber to protect from falls. Since the cams are moveable, two individuals are able to climb at the same time and do not always require a belay.
Traditional climbing is the style that people are the most familiar with. Traditional climbing became much more popular because of a group of individuals called the Stonemasters. They were a group of climbers in the 1970’s that pushed the limits of climbing in Yosemite National Park. They were some of the very few people to climb El Capitan, Half Dome, and so forth. This is what people immediately tend to think of when they hear about the sport, ascending the big iconic cliffs of Yosemite. There is so much more to the sport than just scaling big scary cliffs, however.
Whether scaling a cliff in Yosemite or an indoor wall in Los Angeles, climbing is physically demanding because it is especially important to be strong in the arms and hands due to how it requires grip strength along with the ability of being able to hold one’s own weight.
Climbing is taxing, regardless of the style. It’s easy to get scared when making it up the wall or rock due to the heights. Therefore, it is important to have the mind and body connection, as the sport requires the mind to constantly think of the next hand or foot move.
There are numerous places throughout Los Angeles for both indoor and outdoor climbing As far as indoor rock climbing the closest places are Boulderdash Climbing in Chatsworth, Verdigo Boulders in Burbank, and TopOut Climbing in Santa Clarita. Though there are many more in the Hollywood and downtown areas as well. For outdoor climbing the closest areas are Stoney Point in Chatsworth, Palm Spring Aerial Tramway, and Joshua Tree National Park.
Although climbing may appear to be a terrifying sport because of the heights sometimes requiring instances of risk taking, that’s only the beauty of the sport.