Hollywood movies have been portraying the sport, climbing, inaccurately with a few exceptions. The sport has been portrayed in famous movies like ‘Cliffhanger’ and ‘Mission Impossible II’. Climbing became a craze among people during the 1990’s in the United States. In the United States, rock climbers were popular to the extent of endorsing everything from anti-perspirant to college promotional materials during that era.
In 18th and 19th century ‘Pole and Mast Climbing’ were famous events in many parts of Europe. ‘Pole and Rope Climbing’ were also official gymnastic events in the Olympic Games. After 1932, they were dropped from the Games despite their growing popularity. But these events were revived by France and Czech Republic and they organized Climbing events in gymnasiums, shopping malls and public gathering to promote the event.
There are many classifications in this sport. Climbing activities are inclusive of Mountain Climbing, Rock climbing, Ice climbing, Bouldering, Buildering, Tree climbing, Rope climbing, Pole climbing (gymnastics) and Pole climbing (Lumberjack).
Professional Climbers or adventurous people ascend mountains for recreation or sport and this type of climbing is called ‘Mountain Climbing’. Climbing a rocky surface with the aid of climbing shoes and chalk bag is called ‘Rock Climbing’ and scaling the snow formation is called ‘Ice Climbing’.
Climbing boulders or outcrops is called ‘bouldering’. A ‘crash pad’ is used to avoid injury instead of attaching a safety rope from above, in this kind of Climbing. This crash pad is made of high density and low density foam inside a heavy duty fabric structure. Crash pad also has a ‘human spotter’. Climbing buildings or structures without the aid of equipments used in Climbing is called ‘buildering’. Climbing trees with the help of ropes, ‘tree climbing’, is not a competitive activity. Other variants of Climbing are Rope Climbing and Pole Climbing. Pole Climbing is classified into ‘Gymnastic Pole Climbing’ and Pole Climbing (Lumberjack).
Climbers use a variety of gadgets, equipments and accessories while Climbing. Ropes are an essential part of the climber’s equipment along with climber’s shoes and helmet. Ropes used for climbing are of two types – dynamic ropes and static ropes. Dynamic ropes are elastic to a certain extent and this reduces the force experienced by a climber and his equipments during a fall. Static ropes are used in anchoring systems and rappelling since it is less elastic than the former. Climbers also use ‘Webbing’, a flat rope with no core unlike dynamic and static ropes.
Climbers use ‘Carabiners’ or ‘metal loops’; ‘Quick draws’ that are used to join the ropes to the bolt anchors for protection, ‘climbing harness’ used to attach a person to the ropes, ‘Belay devices or mechanical friction brake devices’, ‘rappel devices’, ‘figure eight’, used as ‘Descender’, ‘Ascenders’, ‘Hexentrics’, ‘Nuts’, etc. Apart from these devices climbers also use ‘grip savers’, ‘finger boards’, ‘Campus boards’, ‘chalk bag’, ‘belay gloves’ and ‘rope bag’.
Climbing equipments have two standard bodies to certify their reliability. These organizations are European Committee for standardization and International Federation of Mountaineering Associations. Most popular Climbing destinations are the mountainous regions of South Africa, Bhutan, Malaysia, Europe, Thailand and France etc. Climbing is an adventurer’s sport and all these destinations offer an invigorating experience to those who indulge in it.