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Stay Safe Climbing

Climbing and mountaineering are dangerous activities. Learn how to keep your partners and yourself safe when you go climbing by carrying the 10 Essentials, watching out for loose rock, following basic climbing safety rules and protocol, knowing first aid, being responsible for yourself on the rock, and avoiding lightning and storms.
  1. Avoiding Loose Rock (13)
  2. The 10 Essentals (12)
  3. Climber Lightning Safety (6)

5 Tips to Assess Wet Rock Before Climbing
Before climbing on wet rock you need to assess and judge its condition so that you don't damage the rock surface and destroy handholds and footholds on routes. Follow these 5 important tips to help you make smart judgments about climbing on wet rock.

Climbing Safely is Your Responsibility
Read this before using any other page here. Climbing safely is your responsibility. Stay safe climbing by exercising good judgment and by knowing the limitations of your skills, ability, and experience.

10 Tips for Safe Climbing
Climbing is dangerous. You need to do everything you can to mitigate the effects of gravity and falling. Your life depends on it. Beginner climbers are most vulnerable to accidents. Read these 10 tips to stay safe while climbing.

Drink Liquids for Climbing Performance
It's important to stay properly hydrated when you're rock climbing, especially when it's hot outside. Learn how much you need to drink to stay hydrated and how to determine how much water to bring for a day of rock climbing.

Beware of Climbing Bolt Failure
Climbing bolt anchors fail at seaside climbing areas because of corrosion and rust to the metal bolts. The UIAA has released a set of guidelines for climbers to follow at sea cliff climbing areas to insure that you only clip into and use bolts that can safe hold a climbing fall.

Crampon Safety
Crampons are essential equipment for climbing snow and ice in the mountains but they are also dangerous. Think about it...you're walking around with 24 sharp metal points on the soles of your boots. Crampons can gash, jab, and trip you when you're climbing. Learn 5 tips to use crampons safely.

3 Ways to Safely Cross a River or Stream
If you climb in the back country, you will have to cross rivers and streams to reach the cliff or mountain that you plan to climb. Crossing or fording a river or stream is one of the most dangerous outdoor threats that you will face when you hike, backpack, and climb in the outdoors, especially in places like Alaska and Canada. Learn why river crossings are dangerous and the three best methods to safely cross a river or stream.

9 Safety Tips to Cross a River or Stream
Crossing a river or stream on the approach to your next alpine climb is extremely dangerous. Read and follow 9 river crossing safety tips, including what to wear, proper footwear, using a stick or trekking pole, personal floatation devices, why you need to unbuckle your pack, and how to help your partner if he falls while crossing.

5 Ways to Die Climbing
Climbing is a dangerous activity. The good news, however, is that most climbing accidents and deaths are preventable since they are caused by human errors. Learn about the 5 ways that most climbers die--lead climbing falls, loose rock and rockfall, solo climbing without a rope, rappelling, and in bad weather and lightning--and how to prevent becoming a climbing statistic by following basic safety tips and using good judgment.

Summer Rock Climbing -- Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses
It's summer and it's hot and you want to go rock climbing. Follow these 5 hot tips to stay safe and cool on the rocks and to avoid heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Do a Buddy Check When Climbing
Use the buddy system when you go climbing to keep safe. Buddies look after each other on the rock, check and double-checking knots, harnesses, and safety systems. Follow these 5 tips before leaving the ground to stay safe climbing.

Never Trust a Single Anchor
A rock climber falls while rappelling at the Garden of the Gods when an old anchor bolt breaks. Read an analysis of the accident and the lessons to learn from it.

How Safe is Climbing?
How safe is climbing? A recent study of data from emergency rooms across the United States says climbing is pretty safe. Read here about the surprising findings.

Sport Climbing Safety
What you need to know to have a safe sport climbing experience, including belaying, lowering, setting up anchors, and rope management.

Your Top-Rope Chain of Safety
Learn here about your top-rope chain of safety; the parts of the chain of safety; and the serious business of top-rope anchors.

Head Injuries from Climbing Falls and Rock Impacts
It's a fact: the rock is hard and your head is soft. Learn about the causes of head injuries in climbing accidents and what happens to your skull and brain when your head is impacted during a climbing fall or when hit by falling rock. Once you learn the severe trauma that occurs to your cranium, you will always wear a climbing helmet to protect your head and life from traumatic life-changing injuries.

All About Acute Mountain Sickness
Most climbers get acute mountain sickness (AMS) when they come from a low elevation to a high altitude. Learn what acute mountain sickness is; what it's symptoms are; and how to treat acute mountain sickness.

Raptor and Wildlife Cliff Closures
Climbers, like birds of prey, like high places. Cliffs, crags, and mountains provide important wildlife habitat, so many climbing areas have seasonal closures to protect nesting birds and other animals. Find out more about wildlife closures at American climbing areas and where to find a list of closed areas.

Emergency Info Planner Card
Before you go climbing, fill out an Emergency Info Planner card and leave it with a family member or friend so that they know your climbing plans and when they should call search-and-rescue services if you're overdue home.

Use Climbing Hand Signals to Communicate
Voice or verbal climbing commands can be difficult in bad weather, wind, or above roaring rivers. Use line-of-sight to easily communicate with your climbing partner and use hand signals instead of words as climbing commands. Learn more here about climbing hand signals.

Sport Climbing Safety Checklist
If you're sport climbing, follow this checklist of 6 safety tips before you start climbing and both you and your belayer will be safe and have more fun. Learn why you should check your harness, tie-in knot, verify the bolt count, check the length of the route and your rope, and how to safely bail off a hard route.

How To Avoid Ticks
Ticks are pesky little arachnids that are often encountered when you're approaching cliffs or on cliff-tops after you've climbed. Learn all about ticks and seven tips on how to avoid ticks and keep from getting bitten by ticks when you're climbing.

Is Bouldering a Sustainable Climbing Activity?
Bouldering, despite its simplicity, has a lot of environmental impacts like soil compaction, social trails, and damage to rare plants. Land managers are looking at what can be done to preserve fragile bouldering environments. Learn about some of the problems caused by bouldering at areas and what can be done to mitigate them so that bouldering...

8 Tips to Minimize Your Bouldering Impact
Climbers are responsible for lessening their impact at bouldering areas. Here are 8 tips to help minimize the impact of bouldering, including following trails, not compacting soils, not grooming staging areas, not removing vegetation and soil from boulders, minimizing chalk use, and taking all litter home with you. Follow these tips to create more sustainable bouldering areas.

8 Tips for Safe Snow Travel
If you're hiking and climbing in the mountains during the winter, it's important to travel across snow slopes safely to avoid avalanches and other dangers. Learn eight safety tips to travel safely across snow in the winter.

Three Types of Hazardous Avalanche Terrain
Traveling across snowy landscapes in winter can be hazardous to climbers, hikers, skiers, and snowmobilers. Learn to recognize the three types of avalanche terrain and how to evaluate slopes to determine if you can safely cross them without causing an avalanche.

Learn How to Assess Head Injuries after a Climbing Accident
What do you do if your climbing partner has a bad fall and hits his head? You need to know how to assess him so you can do basic first aid and then decide if his head injuries are severe enough for you to have him evacuated and treated at a hospital. Learn about how to assess head injuries after a climbing accident.

Climbing Head Injury Symptoms Checklist
You're out climbing with a buddy and he takes a bad fall and hits his head. Did he suffer a head injury? Follow this comprehensive checklist and learn all the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury and why you need to get your friend to a hospital.

Communicate Before Lowering Off Sport Climbs
Lowering off a sport climb after successfully leading it is one of the most dangerous parts of rock climbing. Use the proper voice commands and clearly communicate your intentions to your belayer before lowering and you will avoid bad accidents when you're climbing. Learn here what you should do after leading a sport route.

How to Bivouac in Comfort
When you are climbing long routes in the mountains, there is often a good chance you will have to make either a planned or unplanned bivouac or primitive camp on your climb or on the descent. Learn what to carry for a planned bivouac so you can sleep in comfort and what to bring for an unplanned bivouac so you can survive the night.

All About Weather for Climbing
Weather and exposure to bad weather is a leading cause of death to climbers and mountaineers. The main reason is that the victims don't understand weather or properly predict and prepare for bad weather and its consequences. Learn about climbing weather, the four factors that make weather, and how to predict weather and weather patterns to stay safe in the mountains and backcountry.

When Can You Climb on Wet Rock?
When Can You Climb on Wet Rock? is a common question that climbers ask. The answer is easy--wait. Wait until the rock dries thoroughly so you avoid damaging the rock surface, break handholds and footholds, and destroy routes and boulder problems. Find out what are the best rock surfaces for climbing after rain and why sandstone is the worst as well as some suggestions on how long you should wait before climbing after rain.

Illegal Climbing Bolts at the Garden of the Gods
A climber with a power drill placed 4 new bolts on a route at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, setting off a fire storm among local climbers. The renegade bolts were chopped or removed and the holes filled in. Read more about illegal bolting and the ethical and environmental responsibilities that rock climbers have to preserve climbing freedoms at sensitive American climbing areas.

9 Weather Signs of an Incoming Storm
When you're climbing in the mountains, it's important to know how to predict climbing weather to avoid rain, snow, and wind. Learn nine common signs that indicate your climbing weather is changing, including cumulus clouds, cirrus clouds, a halo around the moon, rising and falling barometric pressure, and low clouds.

Mount Rainier Avalanche Buries 11 Climbers in 2010
On June 5, 2010, a massive slab avalanche rushed down Ingraham Glacier on Mount Rainier, burying 11 climbers. Ten of the buried climbers were rescued while one, Mark Wedeven, was missing. Read about this tragic accident, how so many were saved, and more about Mark Wedeven.

Worn Bolt Hangers Cause Climbing Accidents
Repeated lowering from bolt hangers on climbing routes can cause the metal on the hangers to become sharpened and dangerous. Learn when to replace worn hangers and how a sharp hanger can cut a climbing rope.

Statistics for Climbing Accidents, Injuries, and Fatalities
A study of rock climbing accidents, injuries, rescues, and fatalities over a 14-year period from 1998 to 2011 details the causes of climbing incidents in the Boulder, Colorado area, including Eldorado Canyon, one of the most popular climbing areas in the United States.

Ibuprofen Helps Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness
High-altitude climbers who take ibuprofen are less likely to develop altitude mountain sickness when climbing to higher elevations. Ibuprofen decreases swelling in the brain, lowers risk of headaches, and allows the body to adjust to decreased oxygen.

Killer Bees Attack and Kill Arizona Climbers
Africanized honey bees, also called killer bees, live on many cliffs at Arizona climbing areas. Read about climbers that have been swarmed by killer bees and died from stings and how to avoid disturbing the bees and retreating from routes with bees.

How to Prevent Car Break-Ins at Trailheads
Vehicle break-ins and burglaries are a huge crime problem at parking lots and trailheads in national, state, and city parks and remote places in forests and wilderness areas. Here is how to avoid being the victim of a car break-in, tips to deter thieves, and why you should carry your valuables with you.

Drones Banned in National, State, and Local Parks
The use of drones or unmanned aircraft is prohibited in national, state, and city parks including Yosemite National Park and Garden of the Gods Park. Learn more about how drones affect climbers, wildlife, and the natural experience of park users.

Accident Analysis: Climber Falls and Rope Breaks in Eldorado Canyon
In 2010 a climber at Eldorado Canyon State Park took a lead climbing fall off a popular route and died after his rope was cut. Here is an analysis of the accident by the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and tips on safely leading routes.

Follow Dog Etiquette to Avoid Confrontation at Climbing Cliffs
Lots of dog owners like to take their dogs to the cliffs when they go rock climbing. Follow these basic rules of dog etiquette to avoid confrontations and problems with other climbers, dogs, as well as wildlife. Be a responsible dog owner.

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