Just because sport climbing seems safe with bolt protection and sound beefy anchors, doesn’t mean that it is safe. You have to remember that any kind of climbing is fraught with danger. Every time you go climbing, no matter how much fun you’re having, you run the risk of not coming home at the end of the day. It’s up to you to have the needed knowledge and skills to have a safe sport climbing experience. Here’s what you need to know and some thoughts on climbing safety.
What You Need to Know
- Rope Management You need to know how to tie into your rope with a Figure-8 Follow-Through Knot; know how to uncoil and coil the rope; know how to properly clip the rope into quickdraws when leading.
- Belaying and Lowering You need to know how to properly and safely belay a lead climber with a belay device; how to set up a slingshot top-rope anchor for seconding climbers; how to lower a climber back to the ground.
- Anchors You need to know how to anchor the belayer at the base of the route; you need to know how to thread and rethread the anchors at the top of the route.
- Safety You need to create a safe sport climbing environment by following my 10 Always Tips for Safe Climbing; know how to safely lead and how to fall; know how to recognize, manage, and mitigate the ever-present dangers of climbing.
Your Sport Climbing Safety
The falls that a sport climber takes are almost always on reliable fixed protection, which minimizes the risk of injury and death. Of course, as in any type of climbing activity, there are still huge risks and still the fact that climbing is dangerous to life and limb. The potential for accident, injury, and death is always present when sport climbing. Learn all the climbing and rope-handling skills you need to be safe for climbing outside. Don’t rely on information presented here or in any other book or video to be safe. Your safety depends on your sound judgment. Learn the necessary skills for climbing safely in your local climbing gym and by taking lessons from an experienced guide and instructor before venturing outside on your own. Read Climbing Safely is Your Responsibility for more information and thoughts about your climbing safety.