Climbing protection

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Climbing protection is any of a variety of devices employed to reduce risk and protect others while climbing rock and ice. [1] It includes such items as nylon webbing and metal nuts, cams, bolts, and pitons.

Contents

Different forms of climbing draw on varying forms of protection and the systems that are created from its elements.

Types of climbing

There are a number of ways to "protect" a climb, varying according to the type of climbing:

Lead climbing

A lead climber places protection (temporary or permanent anchors) in the rock, snow, or ice establishing a climbing route. The rope is clipped through carabiners (often joined by a short length of webbing into a pair known as a quickdraw) which are in turn connected to the protection. The belayer pays out rope during the ascent, and manually arrests the climber's fall by locking the rope, typically with some form of belay device.

Aid climbing

Aid climbing involves standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection to make upward progress. In contrast to free climbing protection, which can sustain the force of sometimes long falls, some aid protection is only designed to hold one's body weight.

Top roping

Top roping involves either placing an anchor at the top of a route before climbing or utilizing a fixed one, then running a rope through it to a belayer on the ground. Unlike in lead climbing, the belayer takes in rope as the climber advances and slack is practically eliminated from the rope, minimizing both the drop and shock load on the rope and protection system should the climber fall.

Soloing

Solo climbing involves climbing without a partner. Soloing can be done with or without protection. A solo climber may place protection and clip in with a short tether for safety during a difficult move, then remove the protection and continue the ascent. Or they may employ some form of self-locking device, such as a Silent Partner, in lieu of a belayer, allowing a soloist to climb without a partner. Additionally, soloing can also be done using a top rope.

Bouldering

Bouldering involves climbing routes low to the ground without rope. The chief form of protection from injury used is a bouldering mat, a padded foam-cell mat placed on the ground below a climber. In bouldering, one can also utilize a "spotter". A spotter is someone who stands near the bouldering mat and guides the climber to the mat in the event of a fall.

Equipment

A climbing anchor, incorporating a hex, and two cams, linked with slings and carabiners to distribute load. Climing anchor.JPG
A climbing anchor, incorporating a hex, and two cams, linked with slings and carabiners to distribute load.

The gear used to protect climbs includes:

Fixed protection usually consists of permanently anchored bolts fitted with hangers, a chain, and ring, or pitons left in situ.

Standards

There are two major standards for climbing equipment safety and reliability worldwide:

In recent years, the CEN has become an important standards organization, mainly in Europe since any products sold in Europe must by law be third-party certified to the relevant standards.[ citation needed ] There is no such requirement in most other countries, although most manufacturers voluntarily follow UIAA or CEN standards (much like electrical equipment in the US is almost always privately certified by Underwriters Laboratories).

CEN

In Europe, equipment used by climbers has to meet the requirements of the Personal and Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive. [2] Essentially, the equipment must be manufactured using a carefully controlled process and samples must pass various tests. Equipment meeting the regulations is marked with the CE Mark. Various standards are used to specify how equipment is to be tested:

There are many more, most of them appearing in ICS code 97.220.40 and having "Mountaineering" in the title.

UIAA

The UIAA Safety Commission develops and maintains safety standards for climbing equipment. These standards are implemented world-wide by the manufacturers who also participate in annual Safety Commission meetings. The Commission works with nearly 60 manufacturers world-wide and has 1861 products certified.

In the mid-nineties, CEN adopted the UIAA Safety Standards. Both commissions in CEN and UIAA share similar members.

Related Research Articles

Climbing Activity to ascend a steep object

Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep topographical object. It is done for locomotion, recreation and competition, and within trades that rely on ascension; such as emergency rescue and military operations. It is done indoors and out, on natural and man-made structures.

Carabiner Shackle with a spring-loaded gate

A carabiner or karabiner is a specialized type of shackle, a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate used to quickly and reversibly connect components, most notably in safety-critical systems. The word is a shortened form of Karabinerhaken, a German phrase for a "spring hook" used by a carbine rifleman, or carabinier, to attach his carabin to a belt or bandolier.

Spring-loaded camming device

A spring-loaded camming device is a piece of rock climbing or mountaineering protection equipment. It consists of two, three, or four cams mounted on a common axle or two adjacent axles, so that pulling on the axle forces the cams to spread farther apart. This is then attached to a sling and carabiner at the end of the stem. The SLCD is used by pulling on the "trigger" so the cams retract together, then inserting it into a crack or pocket in the rock and releasing the trigger to allow the cams to expand. A pull on the rope, such as that generated by a climber falling, will cause a properly placed SLCD to convert the pulling force along the stem of the unit into outwards pressure on the rock, generating massive amounts of friction and preventing the removal of the unit from the rock. Because of the large forces which are exerted on the rock when an SLCD is fallen on, it is very important that SLCDs are only placed in solid, strong rock.

Traditional climbing Style of rock climbing

Traditionalclimbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against falls, and remove it when a pitch is complete. Traditional bolted face climbing means the bolts were placed on lead and/or with hand drills. The bolts tend to be much farther apart than sport climbs. For example, a trad bolted route may have bolts from 15–75 feet apart. A sport route may have bolts from 3–10 feet apart, similar to a rock climbing gym. The term seems to have been coined by Tom Higgins in the piece "Tricksters and Traditionalists" in 1984. A trad climber is called a traditionalist.

Glossary of climbing terms List of definitions of terms and concepts related to rock climbing and mountaineering

This glossary of climbing terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon related to rock climbing and mountaineering. The specific terms used can vary considerably between different English-speaking countries; many of the phrases described here are particular to the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ice climbing Activity of ascending ice formations

Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water.

Rock-climbing equipment

A wide range of equipment is used during rock or any other type of climbing that includes equipment commonly used to protect a climber against the consequences of a fall.

Abseiling Rope-controlled descent of a vertical surface

Abseiling, also known as rappelling, is a controlled descent off a vertical drop, such as a rock face, by descending a fixed rope.

Free climbing Form of climbing not using aid climbing

Free climbing is a form of rock climbing in which the climber may use climbing equipment such as ropes and other means of climbing protection, but only to protect against injury during falls and not to assist progress. The climber makes progress by using physical ability to move over the rock via handholds and footholds. Free climbing more specifically may include traditional climbing, sport climbing, bouldering and most forms of solo climbing. Free climbing a multi-pitch route means free-climbing each of its pitches in a single session. At the end of each pitch, climbers anchor themselves to belay stations where they can rest.

Aid climbing Style of climbing

Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress.

Lead climbing Competitive discipline of sport climbing

Lead climbing is a climbing style, predominantly used in rock climbing. In a roped party one climber has to take the lead while the other climbers follow. The lead climber wears a harness attached to a climbing rope, which in turn is connected to the other climbers below the lead climber. While ascending the route, the lead climber periodically connects the rope to protection equipment for safety in the event of a fall. This protection can consist of permanent bolts, to which the climber clips quickdraws, or removable protection such as nuts and cams. One of the climbers below the lead climber acts as a belayer. The belayer gives out rope while the lead climber ascends and also stops the rope when the lead climber falls or wants to rest.

Piton

In climbing, a piton is a metal spike that is driven into a crack or seam in the climbing surface with a climbing hammer, and which acts as an anchor to either protect the climber against the consequences of a fall or to assist progress in aid climbing. Pitons are equipped with an eye hole or a ring to which a carabiner is attached; the carabiner can then be directly or indirectly attached to a climbing rope.

Rock climbing Sport in which participants climb natural rock formations

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. Knowledge of proper climbing techniques and the use of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes.

Munter hitch Adjustable knot used control friction in a belay system

The Munter hitch, also known as the Italian hitch, Mezzo Barcaiolo or the Crossing Hitch, is a simple adjustable knot, commonly used by climbers, cavers, and rescuers to control friction in a life-lining or belay system. To climbers, this hitch is also known as HMS, the abbreviation for the German term Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning half clove hitch belay. This technique can be used with a special "pear-shaped" HMS locking carabiner, or any locking carabiner wide enough to take two turns of the rope.

In rock climbing, an anchor can be any device or method for attaching a climber, a rope, or a load above or onto a climbing surface—typically rock, ice, steep dirt, or a building—either permanently or temporarily. The intention of an anchor is case-specific but is usually for fall protection, primarily fall arrest and fall restraint. Climbing anchors are also used for hoisting, holding static loads, or redirecting a rope.

History of rock climbing

Although the practice of rock climbing was an important component of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps, it is generally thought that the sport of rock climbing began in the last quarter of the 19th century in at least three areas: Elbe Sandstone Mountains in Saxony near Dresden, the north of England including the Peak district and Lake District, and the Dolomites in Italy. Rock climbing evolved gradually from an alpine necessity to an athletic sport in its own right, making it imprudent to cite a primogenitor of the latter in each of these three locales. Nevertheless, there is some general agreement on the following:

Dynamic rope Rope designed to stretch under load

A dynamic rope is a specially constructed, somewhat elastic rope used primarily in rock climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering. This elasticity, or stretch, is the property that makes the rope dynamic—in contrast to a static rope that has only slight elongation under load. Greater elasticity allows a dynamic rope to more slowly absorb the energy of a sudden load, such from arresting a climber's fall, by reducing the peak force on the rope and thus the probability of the rope's catastrophic failure. A kernmantle rope is the most common type of dynamic rope now used. Since 1945, nylon has, because of its superior durability and strength, replaced all natural materials in climbing rope.

Tricam

A Tricam is a type of climbing protection equipment. A versatile nut/cam hybrid, the Tricam was invented by Greg Lowe in 1973, and came to market in 1981. They are currently manufactured by C.A.M.P. of Premana Italy.

Hex (climbing)

A hex is an item of rock-climbing equipment used to protect climbers from falls. They are intended to be wedged into a crack or other opening in the rock, and do not require a hammer to place. They were developed as an alternative to pitons, which are hammered into cracks, damaging the rock. Most commonly, a carabiner will be used to join the hex to the climbing rope by means of a loop of webbing, cord or a cable which is part of the hex.

References

  1. Cox, Steven M.; Kris Fulsaas, eds. (2003–09). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (7 ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers. ISBN   0-89886-828-9.Check date values in: |year= (help)
  2. Barnes, Samuel. "How a product complies with EU safety, health and environmental requirements, and how to place a CE marking on your product". gov.uk. Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.