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Featured Extreme Sport: Rock Climbing

  • Written by  Match Stevens
Rock climbing combines strength, control and finesse in one exciting sport. Rock climbing combines strength, control and finesse in one exciting sport.

What's extreme about rock climbing? The answer: What isn't? This sport is quite dangerous and challenging, both physically and mentally. But any man should experience the thrill of rock climbing - at least once.

Leave the dilapidated climbing wall on the jungle gym and go conquer some mountains. Climbing mountains might not seem like a fun activity at first, but most people change their minds about this quickly. After conquering your first peak, you will most likely be exhausted and barely able to move. However simply looking down at the ground below, and the accompanied sense of achievement, will leave you asking for more.

Every year many people lose their lives to this sport and with good reason. Most people only consider falling as the only real risk, well that’s simply not true if you climb mountains or cliffs. Dehydration, vertigo, extreme temperature, lack of oxygen and trauma are some of the less considered risks of this sport all of which can result in death.

So why risk it?

Simple, that’s the thrill of doing it in the first place. We know there are a lot of people who just won’t "get it", but we do, and for all those other people out there this article isn’t for them.

Before you start any climb you need to make sure you have the proper gear.

Climbing Shoes

The most useful and also the most uncomfortable piece equipment you will need. A good pair of these can cost anywhere from $100 to over $500 (Personally I really don’t notice much difference).


Specialized climbing rope is by far much better than traditional laid rope mainly because the outer sheath is better at protecting the inner nylon woven core from the elements. The other important feature of climbing rope is that it has the abililty to stretch under tension. A good climbing rope will cost you just under $100.


There are many different carabiner designs but the most common are those D shaped metal rings of solid aluminum with a spring-loaded gate that allows you to place a rope in them. Carabiners are really cheap costing between $5 and $15 and nearly all climbing techniques uses carabiners. For added security, a locking carabiner may be used if time isn’t a problem or two carabiners can be used together with their gates facing reversed directions. By facing the gates in reversed directions it becomes very unlikely that something would cause both gates to open simultaneously.

A climbing harness

A sewn harness has a wide nylon belt for the waist and two loops for legs the thighs. It is used to attach the climber to the rope and can cost anywhere in between $30 and $80. A traditional figure eight follow through knot can be used to tie the climber to the rope.
Belay Devices

A figure-eight belay costs between $10 and $20 and is used to stop the rope from passing through.

Monolithic Protection

The two most common types of monolithic protection are tapered wedges and hexes. Both of which are wedged into cracks or crevices in the rock and are difficult to remove (usually only in one direction whereas in the other direction they are fairly easy to remove). Monolithic protection is very cheap (under $10), and very strong holding nearly half a ton. Be cautioned though, as they cannot be used in all situations and are useless in cracks with parallel sides.


Spring-loaded cramming devices or SLCD’s are even easier to use than the monolithic protection and are usable in more situations including situations that may otherwise be un-climbable. They typically cost in the range of $50 to $100. Caution: Unlike monolithic protection SLCD’s can easily move farther into a crack which can make it much harder to remove, or worse, move to a position where the device no longer holds.

Now that you have all the gear for your climb you're going to need some extreme sites to climb.

Here is our list of the ten best, extreme adrenaline-charged climbs:

  • The Game, Canmore, Alberta, Canada
  • East Face of Monkey Face, Smith Rock, Oregon, USA.
  • North face of K2, Pakistan
  • Akira, Southwestern France
  • Flat Mountain, Fugatoyama, Japan
  • Kryptonite, Fortress of Solitude, Colorado, USA
  • La Rambla , Siurana, Spain
  • Becky Route/Fine Line, Elephant's Perch, Idaho, USA
  • Sneaky Old Fox, The Blue Mountains, Australia
  • White Ladder, Nowra Australia
  • Rhapsody on Dumbarton Rock Scotland

If these climbs don’t kill you, then you really are a tough guy! Happy climbing.

© 2010 RosebudMag.com, 2010


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Last modified on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 23:28

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