Spotting (climbing)

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Spotter guiding a falling climber at Roadkill Cafe in Rocklands, South Africa Spotter guiding falling climber in Rocklands.jpg
Spotter guiding a falling climber at Roadkill Cafe in Rocklands, South Africa
Spotters at Rat Rock in Central Park, New York City Rat rock 2 020.jpg
Spotters at Rat Rock in Central Park, New York City

Spotting is a technique used in climbing, especially in bouldering, where the climbers are close to the ground and ropes are not normally used. The spotter stands below the climber, with arms raised or at the ready. If the climber falls, the spotter does not catch the climber, but redirects the climber's fall to land safely on a bouldering mat. At the very least the spotter ensures that the climber's head and back do not strike the ground directly. If the climber jumps down, the spotter can also help prevent stumbles and injuries on uneven ground. The spotter should stand with fingers together (known as "using spoons") to avoid broken fingers.

A spotter should always be used for accident prevention. A climbing spotter will typically stand with arms held up with hands in a supporting position for more or less vertical climbs. If the climber falls, the spotter's hands lightly hold the climber's hips or lower back, near the climber's center of gravity. This allows the spotter to help guide the climber's fall effectively, helping keep the center of gravity over the feet. When on steeper, past vertical climbs, the spotter will hold the climber's arms out in a cradling position. If the climber falls, the spotter supports the upper and middle back, helping the climber land on his or her feet. [1]

A spotter may also be used to help accomplish new climbing moves. Often much of the energy in learning a new move is exerted in simply holding onto the rock. If a spotter puts even the slightest pressure on the climber's upper back or upward pressure on the hips during a move, this will often give the climber the extra relief needed to learn the move. Once the move is learned, it can usually be practised and mastered without the extra help.

The term spotting originated in 1930, when a new gymnastics coach at the University of Illinois, Hartley Price, painted 4 feet (120 cm) diameter white circles on the gymnasium walls, calling them "spots". Seeing the "spots", gymnasts were supposed to think 'safety' and look for those who could assist them through one element or another.

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Bouldering Form of rock climbing

Bouldering is a form of free climbing that is performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls without the use of ropes or harnesses. While bouldering can be done without any equipment, most climbers use climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry and to provide a firmer grip, and bouldering mats to prevent injuries from falls. Unlike free solo climbing, which is also performed without ropes, bouldering problems are usually less than 6 meters (20 ft.) tall. Traverses, which are a form of boulder problem, require the climber to climb horizontally from one end to another. Artificial climbing walls allow boulderers to climb indoors in areas without natural boulders. In addition, bouldering competitions take place in both indoor and outdoor settings.

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.

Grade (climbing) Degree of difficulty of a climbing route

In rock climbing, mountaineering, and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a grade to a climbing route or boulder problem, intended to describe concisely the difficulty and danger of climbing it. Different types of climbing each have their own grading systems, and many nationalities developed their own, distinctive grading systems.

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

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.

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.

Dip (dance move)

Dips are common to many partner dance styles.

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Bouldering mat

A bouldering mat or crash pad is a foam pad used for protection when bouldering. Bouldering mats help prevent climbers from becoming injured when falling from short heights.

A suplex is an offensive move used in amateur and professional wrestling. It is a throw that involves lifting the opponents and bridging or rolling to slam them on their backs.

Sport climbing Form of rock climbing

Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing that may rely on permanent anchors fixed to the rock for protection, in which a rope that is attached to the climber is clipped into the anchors to arrest a fall, or that involves climbing short distances with a crash pad underneath as protection. This is in contrast to traditional climbing where climbers must place removable protection as they climb. Sport climbing usually involves lead climbing and toproping techniques, but free solo and deep-water solo climbing on sport routes is also sometimes possible.

Belaying Rock climbing safety technique using ropes

Belaying is a variety of techniques climbers use to create friction within a climbing system, particularly on a climbing rope, so that a falling climber does not fall very far. A climbing partner typically applies tension at the other end of the rope whenever the climber is not moving, and removes the tension from the rope whenever the climber needs more rope to continue climbing.

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.

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.

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Free solo climbing Form of rock climbing in which the climber climbs without protection

Free solo climbing, or free soloing, is a form of technical ice or rock climbing where the climbers climb alone without ropes, harnesses or other protective equipment, forcing them to rely entirely on their own individual preparation, strength, and skill. Free soloing is the most dangerous form of climbing, and unlike bouldering, free soloists climb above safe heights, where a fall can very likely be fatal. Though many climbers have attempted free soloing, it is considered "a niche of a niche" reserved for the sport's elite, which has led many practitioners to stardom within both the media and the sport of rock climbing. "Free solo" was originally a term of climber slang, but after the popularity of the Oscar-winning film Free Solo, Merriam-Webster officially added the word to their English dictionary in September 2019.

Lead climbing injuries

The greatest potential for injury while rock climbing occurs when a lead climber falls. Several published studies have researched climbing injuries, especially lead climbing injuries and how to avoid them. Chances of neck and head injuries are very low and they can be avoided by falling correctly.

Slab climbing

Slab climbing is a type of rock climbing where the rock face is at an angle less steep than vertical. It is characterized by balance- and friction-dependent moves on very small holds. It is often not leadable, or climbable from the ground up, unless it has pre-drilled bolts to protect the climb, making most slab climbs either top rope climbing or sport climbing. Special techniques such as smearing are necessary to climb slab. It is a type of face climbing and is distinctly different from crack climbing. Slab climbing is a relatively new area of climbing, having become more popular in the last 30 years, and some of the highest graded routes are currently being realized.

Face climbing

Face climbing is a type of climbing where climbers use features and irregularities in the rock such as finger pockets and edges to ascend a vertical rock face. Face climbing is contrasted with crack climbing. Face climbing is less reliant upon technique than crack climbing, but instead relies more upon body position.

References

  1. Sherman, John, "Spotting" in Better Bouldering (Globe Pequot Press, 1997), pp. 19–23.