Why do people take up the extreme sport of rock climbing? Because it is there, taunting and tempting. It offers adventure and challenge from the rocky ever-present edge of death. Rock climbing calls for control and courage. It involves great strength of mind and body. It is both an individual and social sport as the element of danger whets the appetite for adventure. How do you know if you are a climber meant for this fearless adventure sport? Either you are jump-out-of-your-skin-excited about scaling a vertical piece of stone, or you aren’t. Take a look at these rock climbers and their stunning natural surroundings to see if you are tempted to take up this sport.
The points of view in these photographs came from and are copyrighted by Simon Carter, an amazingly talented climber with a camera who captures both the sports action and the spectacular settings.
Rock climbing is all about balance, but creativity and concentration are also required. Climbing is a physically challenging and a mentally demanding sport. It will test your endurance as you climb to your goal, the summit. So have a plan, focus, keep going, hang in there and don’t let go. Rock climbing will take you to a new level of awareness of the natural world around you, taking you to breathtakingly beautiful places as you discover new aspects about yourself. This dangerous sport also requires trust; when you fall, and you will fall, you have to trust your climbing partner completely with your life. Bonus, adrenaline adventures will be found. At the top you will want to raise your arms in victory and woot your win!
Deep Water Soloing — Rock Climbing in Croatia
Deep-water soloing is a solo rock climbing sport where the presence of water at the base of the climb protects climbers from serious injury. If a climber falls into the sea below the cliff, he or she may have used up a day’s worth of adrenaline but are otherwise fine. Around Croatia there are 10 well-climbed locations and a hundred climbable and unexplored routes from 98 to 132 feet high. Deep-water soloing doesn’t have to be high, but near Kornati, Croatia, the Ring of Fire is one of the world’s hardest deep-water solos, on the Holy Grail Wall, Mana Island. Notice climber Leo Houlding trying to pull off a massive “dyno” move on the cliffs of Panitula Island before falling.
Slackline Walking and Falling
(image credits:Simon Carter’s Online Photography)
If it’s not enough adventure, not enough of a challenge to climb this awesome 213 foot rock, how about tightrope walking between cliffs? One climber fell from a “slackline” which was strung between the 65-meter high Totem Pole and the mainland at Cape Hauy, Tasmania, Australia.
Blue Mountains, Australia
As a rock climber, you will need strong fingers, strong arms and strong legs as well as the right equipment. Often when rock climbing, the cracks are too small to get your toes into and the only way keep moving upwards is to sink your fingertips into the cracks, use opposing pressure and force yourself up. Strength does not always equal success. The key is balance. You need a plan and even need to know how to rest and regroup, so you can keep going.
Climbers often scrape their skin and bleed for the love of their sport, but how about a more serious fall? Without the right equipment and right mindset, many more climbers would die each year. There is even a correct way to fall; how are you going to let go? Knowing how you are going to fall is critical in not getting hurt. There are times, however, when even a slight break in concentration and effort result in instant falling. In the Blue Mountains of Australia, even these experienced rock climbers take “the fall” and owe their lives to the right equipment and a quick climbing partner.
Rock Climbing in Victoria, Australia
Many climbers enjoy the safety of using pre-placed bolts. But once a climber moves beyond sport climbing, into extreme rock climbing, he or she takes advanced or remote routes and learns to make their own path up the sheer rock wall. Stamina, strength and control are vital to mastering this sport. Climbers use a rating system to describe the difficulty of different routes. The expert level means only 10% of climbers in the world can handle these routes. The elite level means the route can only be handled by the best of the best. And even the best take a few falls along the way. Otherwise, the way down is rappelling, a controlled descent down a rope.
Views of Elite Rock Climbing
Rock climbers gain a deeper appreciation of the natural world surrounding them. They become in tune with the rock. Is that Spiderman? No, but some adrenaline junky rock climbers seem to be blessed with sport superpowers. They scale vertical walls and then make dangerous climbs up and over and even upside down.
Rock Climbing in Moab, Utah
Moab, Utah is famous for the adventures awaiting outdoorsmen. The natural rock formations provide unique challenges for the climber. From conquering the outcroppings to climbing the crack, the sport of rock climbing flourishes in this land of rugged beauty.
Go Forth and Conquer
Go forth and conquer. If you take on rock climbing as your new sport, be ready to sweat and strain your muscles. Be ready to leap from clifftop to clifftop. Be ready to keep your cool and trust your partner if one little break in your concentration causes you to fall. Once you reach the summit, you are on top of the world mentally as well as physically. You will never forget it and never regret it.
If you enjoy the cold as well as climbing, then your sport changes slightly to ice climbing. Not only must you be capable of climbing, but you must take on the additional challenges of making those climbs on rocks coated with ice. Ice particles will fall on your face as you climb. It’s an action sport. Things happen very quickly, but remember . . . fear sucks and balance rules.
See the world, fall…in love with rock climbing
Rock climbing will take you to some the most gorgeous spots on this planet. Be stoked about it! The sport will catch hold of you and you will fall . . . in love with these adrenaline adventures.
As world-renowned rock climbing photographer Simon Carter advises, “Get out there and play, and learn from your mistakes. Good luck and happy climbing!” You can see more of his awesome rock climbing photos on his website or in his book, World Climbing: Images from the Edge.