Lead climbing is among the most exciting global sports. Previously restricted to gyms, it is now done across all kinds of breathtaking outdoor locations. Although lead climbing challenges you physically and mentally to the extremes, it pushes you to climb spectacular cliffs.
But while the sport gives you an unmatched adrenalin rush, lead climbing still carries certain risks. So, learning how to lead climbing with proper safety is essential, especially for amateurs.
How to lead climb safely
Taking the following fundamental, necessary measures will enable you to lead climbs without worry and untoward accidents.
Learn from the best
It’s alright to take lead climbing tips from gym buddies. But it is better to learn from expert climbers if you want to climb effectively and with minimal risks. There are courses you can take that will certify you as a lead climber once you’ve received adequate training. This approach eliminates the risk of missing out on essential things to know about climbing.
Learning how to lead climbing effectively involves mock lead climbs. This is especially crucial for first-time climbers, as it gives them an idea about the actual climb. You can start practicing on your gym wall and move onto group climbs eventually. Once you have a couple of practice climbs under your belt and are confident that you can manage on your own, you can climb independently.
Make sure you have the necessary equipment
Ensuring you have the right climbing gear is among the first things you must do when planning your climb. You can make a list of the climbing equipment you need and check them off one at a time as you go about buying them. You should have a helmet, rope, quickdraws, slings, bolts, safety harness, karabiners, and cams, among other essentials. Also, it’s crucial to invest in good quality equipment for better safety.
Pick the right belayer
It is wise to choose an experienced belayer for your very first lead climb. You don’t want someone who has little or no idea of what to do during a climb. You can do a few mock climbs together to make sure you have a good rapport. Also, it’s critical to communicate effectively during the lead climb. You can develop special codes to sign to each other if your hearing is impaired by nearby traffic sounds or heavy rain.
Learn to fall
Falling during lead climbs is not uncommon and, sometimes, unavoidable. So, it’s best to be prepared for a fall. Like several lead climbers, you can practice controlled falls at the gym and other low-risk spots. Have your belayer prepared for your fall so that you both know the potential risks if it happens during the actual climb. It will also help you trust the climbing gear and learn how to use it judiciously during falls.
It is doubtless that lead climbing is a popular adventure sport. But did you know that climbing made its debut as an Olympic sport in 2021?
The Tokyo Olympic climbing sport welcomed variations such as rock climbing, lead climbing, and bouldering, among others. So, for avid lead climbers with high aspirations, this is something exciting to look forward to.