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Carpenters can blame tools of the trade-Climbers Cannot!
Climbing is becoming a universal sport growing faster than any other individual recreational activity that combines, fitness, attitude, adventure, travel and cool-ness.Media, is especially in tune and has boosted the appeal of a sport attractive to people of every nationality, economic strata, educational accomplishment, gender and physical conditioning.
Climbing is no longer a generic phrase. Climbing what?
Mountain climbing is distinctly different from rock climbing, the latter increasingly becoming an indoor sport, for convenience amoung other reasons, with restricted vertical heights and horizontal widths, depends on building ceiling construction limitations or takes place in the vast outdoors where each climb depends upon natures unique challenges due to locale. Mountain climbing as the phrase suggests is very different requiring totally different skills, temperament, conditioning, and strategic planning.
Thus the equipment must be exactly suited for the type of climb to be experienced.
Amateurs make the mistake of relying on a salespersons recommendations as to which equipment is necessary to safely scale and descend, and as no two indoor or outdoor rock climbs are the same, even on the same subject, as weather conditions and season often determines type and quality of equipment.
My suggestion always is to confer with an expert who is not in the business of selling or marketing climbing product but has firsthand, assaulted a similar or exact subject target.
Mountain climbing equipment is very different than rock climbing equipment, though the two sports do have many pieces of general equipment in common. Perhaps the most common piece of mountain climbing equipment, and the most recognizable, is the carabiner, which is a metal type hook with varying dimensions with a gate that opens and closes for a rope to pass and be secured through it. These pieces of mountain climbing equipment are used for a variety of purposes, and most climbers have several sized carabiners on hand during a climb.
I submit type of harnesses are the most important of all pieces of mountain climbing equipment, as it is primarily responsible for the climber's safety while climbing steep pitches as well as other unique findings ( all different). In general the harness fits around the waist, and two leg loops are attached to the loops on the waist. One leg loop wraps securely around each leg, and when a climber is climbing vertically, where can let he his or her weight fall into the harness, which will be suspended from a rope, or combo putting the climber in a sitting position. There are various types of construction some more elaborate, some more expensive than others-always buy the best if within budget.
The rock climbing harness is the most essential piece of equipment a rock climber will buy, so it is important to choose one that is functional, comfortable, and reliable. The only way to test for comfort is to wear the rock climbing harness and hang from it, which is not always possible, so it may be difficult to make that determination. Look for adequate padding for the type of climbing you will be doing, and be sure the rock climbing harness you choose has an appropriate amount of gear loops.
Some rock climbing harness models are designed specifically for one type of climbing. Indoor rock climbing harnesses, for example, are usually lightweight, easy to take on and off quickly, and they may or may not be padded. This type of rock climbing harness is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, allowing the climber as much flexibility as possible. The harness may not have any gear loops, or very few gear loops, as little equipment is necessary for this type of climbing. If you intend to climb primarily indoors, this is the harness for you.
Outdoor rock climbers will need to choose among several rock climbing harness models designed to do different things. A person who does traditional climbing, in which a significant amount of gear needs to be hauled, will need a well-padded harness with several gear loops strong enough to haul the appropriate gear. These harnesses generally feature added lumbar support to accommodate the extra weight the climber carries, and it is very likely that this type of rock climbing harness will include an extra haul loop from which an extra rope can be secured. This is not a feature intended for anchoring use, but instead only for hauling use.
Mountaineers and multi-pitch climbers will benefit from a harness that allows quick adjustment to allow for clothing changes and for movement that will allow them to relieve themselves without having to remove the harness entirely. These types of climbers are likely to spend hours or even days in their harnesses, and removing them is not always safe or feasible. Specially designed harnesses allow the leg loops to be loosened and moved out of the way for such purposes safely and quickly. Such harnesses are often very adjustable to allow for different layers of clothing to be worn or removed.
Any climber experienced in assaulting peaks will tell you that weather determines success or failure so often, that what you wear (not style) but construction as well as material is key. This gear for mountain climbing varies, but is designed specifically to keep you warm, dry and flexible during inclement weather. It is best to dress always in layers; be sure to choose clothing that is breathable, as such clothing is designed to keep moisture from sweat away from the body, keeping you warm and comfy and dry during extreme physical exertion where one can expend up to 5000 calories or more depending upon height and other conditions. Outer layers should be waterproof and breathable, tough and have many ways of getting into and out of when needed, keeping snow, dirt, rock, pebbles and rain moisture away from the body while still allowing moisture from sweat to escape the outer layer.
Ice axes and crampons are important pieces of gear for mountain climbing, and it will be necessary to choose axes and crampons, sizes, construction, materials, design that will work well for the specific purposes of your climb. Ice axes in particular are designed for different applications, from mountain climbing to vertical ice climbing. Some ice axes feature a straight shaft, while others have a bent shaft, and the pick attachments can vary as well. It is best to consult an expert to determine which type of shaft you will need, as well as which type of pick attachments will be most appropriate. Not every axe is the same and not every climber will use the same axe the same way.
Rock climbing ropes can also range quite dramatically in thickness. In general, rope thickness is divided into three categories, including single, twin, and double/half ropes. Single rope usually has a width of around 0.40 inches (10 millimeters). Twin ropes consist of two individual ropes which are laced together, each of which are around 0.30 inches in width (7.5 millimeters). Like twin ropes, double/half ropes consist of two separate ropes combined into one. These individual ropes are typically around 0.35 inches (8.8 millimeters) in width.
Rock climbing ropes that are designed for indoor use may differ dramatically from those used outdoors. To prevent the risk of failure, outdoor ropes should be waterproof. Individuals who are interested in purchasing these ropes should consult with a salesperson to make sure that a particular rope is in fact waterproof. In contrast, ropes that are intended for indoor use will typically not get wet, and therefore may not require waterproofing.
Most rock climbing ropes can be found at sporting or outdoor supply stores. It is important to replace rock climbing ropes on a semi-regular basis in order to prevent possible injury from rope failure. In most cases, ropes used for rock climbing have a life expectancy of around 15 years. Ropes which are used extensively, however, may require replacement at an earlier time. The quality of ropes should be evaluated before each expedition.
To be continued….
Dr.Korman In memory of Dr. Schaaf and Jerry Weitzman Mountaineers extraordinaire-RIP
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