Rock climbing is about climbing cliffs. It takes many forms, from "bouldering", where you are climbing without a rope, but are close enough to the ground that if you fall, you'll be okay, to multi-day expeditions where you sleep part way up a large cliff. None of these styles are necessarily harder or easier than the others, but they differ in what makes them challenging. Climbing is above all else about challenging yourself while remaining safe.
The club runs a range of climbing trips, including many that are suitable for beginners. We often run day trips to many of Canberra's local crags such as Booroomba and Mt Coree. After work climbing is practical during longer summer daylight hours at Kambah rocks. Nowra or the Blue Mountains are popular destinations for the weekend. Some of Australia's best climbing sites such as Arapiles are about a day's drive away. We often have two or three 1-2 week trips to these sorts of places each year.
Climbing is usually done in pairs, with one person climbing on the end of a rope, while the other person "belays" by paying out and taking in rope. The nature of the sport makes it a very social activity. The hub of climbing in the club is our indoor climbing wall. The climbing wall is a great place to get to know people in the club and to discuss ideas for trips as well as to practice your climbing technique. Many people start out climbing at the indoor wall before progressing to outdoor beginner's trips and finally onto longer, more adventurous trips.
Information about climbing areas in Australia can be found online at a number of websites, including:
Skills for climbing
This section contains reference material for the equipment and techniques the club uses on climbing trips and at the climbing wall. Note that it is not enough to have just read these pages, you will also need to have practised the skills outdoors.
Petzl Grigri belay devices are installed at the indoor climbing wall. These are anchored to the floor for extra safety. You will be instructed in their use during the belay course, but for extra advice see the Petzl page. Pay attention to the "bad technique" section.
For outdoor trips there are more skills you must learn. On beginner trips your leader will instruct you in the necessary skills, but for other trips you will be expected to have mastered these skills already. If you are unsure about the skill requirement for the trip, you should ask your trip leader.
The absolute basic skills required on any climbing trip are
- Partner safety check
- Voice Commands
- Tying in to the rope (use rethreaded figure-eight)
- Belaying with an ATC or Reverso
- Belaying with a Mega Jul
Some more advanced skills for climbers wanting to be more independent