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Experience | Climbing

Rock climbing was an important component of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps, but it wasn't until the last part of the nineteenth century that it became the popular adventure sport that we know today.

Climbing outdoors on 'traditional' routes involves a great deal of specialist safety equipment and learning to properly place this equipment is half of the challenge.

Traditional climbing involves a pair of climbers wearing harnesses who are connected by a rope. The first climber (the leader) places wedges, nuts and other forms of protection from their racks into cracks in the rock. The rope is hooked to these pieces of protection so that, if the climber falls, the rope catches them.

Indoor climbing works on the same principle but the footholds, handholds and protective pieces are bolted to a wooden structure.

Although a knowledge of rope techniques and safety procedures is essential before you climb, with professional instruction a complete beginner can soon experience the thrill of scaling vertical rock faces.

It’s recommended that you wear comfortable clothing which offers a good range of motion, a harness and a decent pair of specialist climbing shoes, with rubber soles which mould to the surfaces of the rock. A chalk bag provides you with a solution to potentially dangerous situations - heat and high anxiety which tend to go hand in hand with this precarious sport result in slippery hands - not ideal when you’re hanging on to rocks, high from the ground. Many climbers don’t wear a helmet but we cannot stress highly enough the importance of this vital piece of kit.

Devon Outdoors
Devon Outdoors
Devon Outdoors

Climbing-specific rope which has the following characteristics - strength, flexibility and elasticity. That it provides for sufficient impact load and you can measure the number of falls it can withstand before coming unusable. A carabiner (pronounced care-a-bean-er) is a metal link used to hold the rope securely and many climbers will carry thirty or more on a single climb. Nuts, which are inserted in to cracks in rocks to help hold the rope in place, are linked to your rope using a carabiner and they help to protect the climber from a possible fall. Short tape slings, which are strong stips of nylon, can be used with a carabiner on each end to connect nuts to rope and longer ones can be used to wrap around trees.

Visit a climbing store in Devon to learn more, ensure you have the correct equipment and are provided with safety guidelines and informed about the most appropriate places to climb locally. From the rocky tors of Dartmoor to high sea cliffs, Devon has something suitable, from the novice to the experienced and seasoned climber.

We recommend gaining expert tuition from a suitably qualified instructor. An professional who specialises in climbing can not only teach you the correct techniques, but also take you to the best places to climb in Devon, which are most appropriate for your level of fitness and skill.

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