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Safety tips for outdoor rock climbing

  • Apr 8, 2014

Although it might look simple enough to scale a cliff wall, outdoor rock climbing requires a fair amount of safety training. Even if you've mastered indoor rock walls, transitioning to the thrill of the outdoors is another ballgame entirely. Before you decide to try your hand at this sport, make sure you've gotten the hang of the following safety tips: 

Get the right gear
As you transition away from indoor rock climbing, you'll still find that ropes and harnesses are part of the outdoor equivalent. According to REI, it's important to know which kind you plan to do. Bouldering, for example, doesn't require nearly as much equipment as you only climb sections of the cliff that are as high as you can safely jump off of without any risk to your safety. You'll need climbing shoes and a little chalk to keep your hands primed for gripping. 

Traditional climbing, however, requires that you use protective grips to help grapple the sides of the cliff when you're pulling yourself up. With this variation, you need a companion to act as the lead climber who will help steady the course, and you'll both be connected by ropes and harnesses. Keep your watch altimeter handy with this version of climbing, as you'll likely reach amazing heights.

Know about belaying
While this exercise is similar to indoor belaying, when you're outside, it's even more important to know the basics. Make sure you take a refresher course in this skill, as it's the one thing that can save you from a fall. From braking to steadying the harness, the importance of belaying cannot be understated, and it's imperative to your safety that you master this before moving outside.

Know the lingo
Popular Mechanics noted that another important aspect of climbing is the language used to describe certain things. Do you know what a carabiner is? If not, you should brush up on your climbing knowledge before you attempt to scale a cliff.

When out rock climbing you are going to need a triple sensor watch so you can see your altitude increase in 1m increments instead of 5m. The altitude reading is up to 10 times faster with a high speed processor. Overall the increased accuracy, speed and efficiency makes the PRW3000-2 the best watch for rock climbing.