This is how we do it outdoors! Part I: General Points

This entry has been created thanks to the work carried out by Dz Major.

Disclaimer: Please be advised that the following post does not provide climbing instructions. This entry is a mere orientation about how our team approaches outdoor climbing. It is recommended that you double check and contrast the information provided as well as follow best BMC advice.

General points:

  • Don’t be disheartened! Climbing outside feel quite different and there are no obvious holds to follow. Lower your grade expectations.

  • Bolts – do NOT put your finger through a bolt. You might be struggling to find a hold and get tempted to use the bolt but please don’t. If you hook a finger through it and your foot slips off, you’re going to have a bad time… Don’t put your feet on them either, they can bend and plus, it’s cheating.

  • Loose rock – you will almost certainly put your hand or foot on something that will move, or flex. If it does, avoid it! We have learnt over many years what will probably hold and what won’t, but in your early days of climbing outside just go on the side of caution and avoid it. If you can’t do the move without holding on to something loose, then just come down and do a different route. If you can avoid it, it can be useful to put a little bit of chalk on it, so when your feet are in that area, you can see what to avoid.

  • BELOW!! If you dislodge something, shout Below loudly. If you hear someone else shout below, resist the temptation to look up – your helmet protects your head, not your face! Make yourself small and tuck your arms in.

  • Always have your cow’s tail sling with a screwgate attached to you, even if you are not stripping a route. In the very unlikely event your belayer is incapacitated somehow, you have a method of attaching yourself to a bolt or quickdraw and making yourself safe.

  • The Swing – routes outside can meander around a bit. If you are top roping something that is off to the left or right of the anchor and you fall off, you will swing a bit. It’s nothing to worry about, it can just be a bit surprising so be aware.

  • The Ping – let’s say you’ve led a route that is off to the left of the anchors. You’re now coming down and taking out the quickdraws. First off, you need to attach a quickdraw from your rope loop or belay loop to the side of the rope the quickdraws are in. This is to keep you close enough to them i.e you will be descending straight down but the quickdraws could be 5ft to your left. When you undo the last quickdraw (the one nearest the ground), it is removing the last thing keeping you pulled over to the left. So, you will ‘ping’ back to centre once you remove it. Sometimes it can be quite a forceful ping, so just prepare yourself and be aware that it is going to happen. It’s actually quite fun!

  • Extra safety – Let’s say someone has led a route, set up a top rope and lowered. You are now top roping it on the other end of the rope (having pulled it though) and need to remove the quickdraws on your way up. When you get to the last (highest) quickdraw, unclip it from your side of the rope and clip it in to the other side of the rope i.e the side of the rope going down to your belayer. This is an extra safety measure – yes you are through two anchors at the top, but those anchors are in the same bit of rock. By keeping this quickdraw in, you have another anchor point on a different bit of rock. It also helps protect the person stripping the route – if they mess up something at the top, there is another piece of protection in. It’s not always possible as due to the course of the route and the belayer’s position, the other end of the rope could be 6ft away from the quickdraw, but if you can clip it back in, please do.

#outdoorclimbing #generalpoints #howwedoit #sportclimbing #safetyfirst

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