Rock climbing has become a very popular sport over the past decade and has become a favorite choice both indoors and out. Even though equipment and technique have evolved tremendously, it is still imperative that climbers, especially those new to the sport, take care to learn the fundamentals well, take all necessary safety precautions and keep themselves fit and strong before venturing out.
In the East Bay near Berkeley Indian Rock is a well known area that was used as early as the 1950’s and 60’s for Yosemite climbers as a training ground. Even though the climbing may not be as tall as in Yosemite National Park the quality of the granite rock is superb and offers fun bouldering and some top roping possibilities.
In the South Bay Castle Rock State park is the standout climbing spot for the entire Bay Area. There are several rock formations that allow for incredible top roping opportunities as well as the rare bolted routes as far as rock climbing opportunities go that can hone ones head game. Goat rocks unique” Swiss cheese” style rock allows for great beginner practice. Nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains this place offers an incredible setting for the close weekend climbing trip. Treks and Tracks offers rock climbing classes in Castle Rock State Park to students of all ages and ability levels.
But how can you be sure that proper is proper enough, cause it is your life at stake? No matter which rappelling method and gear you use, there is something that will enhance your learning level, boost your confidence and will serve as double check. It is auditive conformation of everything your eyes see and check. All you do is actually saying things out loud in order as you do your check up. So instead of having only visual confirmation you will have auditive confirmation as well. First time I did it I felt so silly, but my rock climbing instructor encouraged me by saying: “better silly than sorry”.
For a “spider rappelling” the auditive sequence goes like this: rope to belay device, belay device to daisy chain, daisy chain to two hard points. Rope to klemheist, klemheist to leg loop. Taking into consideration that you are familiar with basic rappeling rules and climbing knots and climbing gear, I will not go into detail here about setting up such a rappelling setup. Not all climbers use daisy chain, not everyone wants to have a auto backup solution in form of a klemheist, so these are all variations. But I want to stress out the importance of saying out loud the sequence as you are preparing to rappel down the cliff.
Sports climbing is hard on biners because the steel bolts used to protect sports climbs can chew up the relatively soft aluminium used on carabiners very quickly. A chunky sports draw will last a lot longer than a minimalist wire gate, the key lock nose makes stripping routes much easier and the extra weight is offset by the fact that the draws are often left in-situ on sports routes for red-point attempts. A lot of people also feel that a well shaped bent gate carabiner is easier/faster to clip in extremis than a wire gate.
A lot of people say that carabiners should not be anodised, but there is a very strong case for anodising as long as the anodising is done in an environmentally safe manner. Most climbing carabiners are made from the 7000 series of aluminium alloys because these offer the holy grail of potential high strength and good ductility; however a downside of 7000 series alloys is that they are very susceptible to salt corrosion. Anodising really helps slow down the corrosion process and stop biners from seizing up.