Is Rock Climbing an Extreme Sport?

Rock Climbing Illustration

Yes rock climbing is considered as an extreme sport because of the nature of rock climbing which is really physical and dangerous at the same time. Accidents and injuries are systematic for rock climbers with 3,023 to 3,816 rock climbing accident reported per year.

Rock climbing is one of the most thrilling and rewarding sports. It will keep your heart racing as you climb to the top of boulders and mountain ranges.

And once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with beautiful sites you’ve never seen before.

Not to mention, it has health benefits as it strengthens your body, improves your coordination, prevents cardiovascular diseases, and more. However, this sport is considered extreme.

But, before you say “no“ to this exciting outdoor activity, here are some things you might want to hear first to shed some light on some of the questions in your head.

Why is rock climbing considered an extreme sport?

When talking about rock climbing, many people often feel discouraged as it is considered an extreme sport. But, what makes it dangerous?

Like other extreme sports, rock climbing includes risks.

Since you’ll be climbing boulders and mountain ranges, it involves physical struggle, natural challenges, and high altitudes.

And these factors make a perfect formula for accidents and injuries, which happens to approximately 3,023 to 3,816 climbers a year.

If you’re not careful enough, things might not go well during the activity. Nature also plays a huge part in making rock climbing an extreme sport.

Your ligaments might tear or stretch, your tendons may snap, and it’s also possible to pull some muscles due to events that could cause accidents during your climb.

The worst part is, you might fall and suffer from even more distressing injuries that wouldn’t only affect your climbing experience but also your life after the incident.

Fortunately, there are different kinds of rock climbing styles that could help you enjoy the activity better and ensure a safer journey.

What are the different kinds of rock climbing styles?

Contrary to what some people think, there are actually different rock climbing styles:

  • free soloing
  • free climbing
  • aid climbing
  • bouldering
  • deep water soloing

And if you’re new to this sport, it’s quite easy to get confused with the terminologies.

But here’s a quick guide to differentiate them from each other and to understand the sport better.

Free soloing requires no ropes. And with no ropes, this means that if you make a mistake, there’s a high chance that you will fall all the way to the ground as there’s no equipment to support you.

Meanwhile, free climbing uses ropes.

While its name may seem similar to free soloing, in free climbing, you will ascend using a rope tied to your harness and you have a belay partner who’ll hold it.

This way, in case you fall, your partner will be able to catch you.

However, the risk here is that the support depends on how your partner can hold the rope attached to you. In aid climbing, you still use ropes and it will catch you in case you accidentally slip.

What makes it different, though, is that you’ll use tiny wedges and other devices. You’ll need to insert them in cracks in the rocks to use as your anchor to ascend.

Bouldering, on the other hand, is much simpler than the former styles mentioned. Here, you will only need your climbing shoes, chalk, and a crash pad.

Yet, it still has risks as it uses no rope for protection and support. You and other boulderers will only spot each other with your hands. Deepwater soloing also uses no ropes to climb.

It’s a bit similar to bouldering. However, it is performed over a deep body of water. In some cases, you will need a boat to have access to climbing routes.

Regardless of which one you choose, you will surely have a great thrilling experience that you will never forget.

But, like any other sport, you will also need to hone your skills to master the styles and techniques so you can enjoy the climb more and reduce your risks.

Where to practice rock climbing in the USA?

Like other sports, rock climbing can be more challenging for beginners.

This is because your body hasn’t strengthened to the level that the sport requires and you’re not yet familiar with the proper techniques to ascend.

Because of this, you will need to practice to hone your skills.

But, with so many rock climbing sites in the USA alone, it can be quite a challenge to choose, If you don’t know where to start, here are some places you might want to consider to get better.

Horse Pens 40, Alabama

Located in Steele, Alabama, Horse Pens 40 isn’t just a nice historical place for tourists to visit.

Apparently, this place is also for people who want to get better at rock climbing.

It has concentrated boulder fields. Your forearms will surely get stronger after several climbs at Horse Pens 40.

The best part of it is that it has several amenities to offer.

So, after a day of practicing, you can enjoy its on-site camping, showers, cabins, RV hookups, and general store that serves delicious food to refuel your body.

Bishop, California

Bishop is yet another place to master your rock climbing skills as it has an array of options for climbers.

Here, you can enjoy bouldering, sport climbing, and trad climbing. Apart from the climbing options, you’ll also love the scenery that it offers.

When you reach the top, you will also be rewarded with a good view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains.

Earth Treks, Colorado

If you want to take things easy, indoor rock climbing is for you. While there are many indoor rock climbing spots in the US, Earth Treks is one of the best places you should try as it has a massive facility that can really help you improve.

Plus, you will have seasoned climbing instructors to guide you.

Acadia National Park, Maine

If you want a different view from the mountains, you can practice at the Acadia National Park in Maine as it has seaside cliffs that you can scale.

You will need to start at low tide in some areas, though. Rock climbing has numerous benefits despite the risks involved. So, why not give it a try?

If you want to know if rock climbing is hard for beginners, click here.

About David Miller

Passionnate about extreme sports since a young age, I started my journey with brazilian Jiu Jitsu and skydiving. After 2000 jumps, I’m now a professionnel skydiver focus on wingsuit flying. I’m writing about all kind of extreme sports, trying to find the best spots in the world to do it.

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