almost any adventure race, you are either going to come up to a rock scramble,
an ascend up a fixed rope, a rappel down a fixed rope, or possibly a tyrolean
traverse. It is especially important to practice for the climbing discipline before
you get to a race. Then when you do get to a climbing section in a race, you're
going to be a lot more comfortable, have less of a chance of injuries and have
a lot more success. **Warning--Be sure to get proper instruction from a certified
climbing guide before you go out and practice climbing training.
goal here is to move efficiently without injuring yourself or falling. Use your
eyes to climb. Scan the rock plan your moves. Be deliberate with your steps. Fluidity
will make the most of your time and energy.
Approaching a Fixed Line
Most of the time, you will have put on your harness
and climbing helmet before you get to the actual site. Since you make be tired
from the previous race disciplines, have each teammate check each others harnesses
to make sure they are doubled through. Once you get to a climb site, check the
anchor systems out. The climb section is usually manned by climbing guides to
unsure safety. Follow their instructions as you approach the site.
you haven't been trained in proper climbing techniques before your training, start
by taking a climbing and rappel class with a certified guide.
Following the instructions of the climb site guides, attach your harness into
the rope system (compare
Harnesses). Don't detach any safety lines until you have double checked that
your braking system (compare
Rappel Devices) is correctly attached to the rope and you have signaled your
belayer. The scariest part of rappelling is going from the standing position up
on solid ground to lowering your weight over the edge of the cliff. When you get
in this position watch your feet, keep them in front of you spread apart and slowly
let some of the rope go through your braking system.
ideal position to rappel should be comfortable and effective. Your feet should
be about shoulder width apart with your knees slightly flexed. Look down every
now and then to see where you are going. Using leather gloves or biking gloves,
allow the rope to flow smoothly through your braking system. Move fairly slowly
with steady control. Don't bounce or leap from the rock. Most importantly --relax!
ascenders (compare Ascenders)have
teeth that are pointed in to the rope and will easily move in the up direction,
and then bite down on the rope when pulled down. When used on rock slabs or mildly
steep slopes, ascenders help protect you from long falls back down the slope.
racers need to ascend up a vertical rock face, a special "stair stepping"
technique is required. Foot loops made out of webbing are clipped to the ascenders
as well as webbing slings attached to your harness. With one hand in each ascender
and one foot in each leg loop, your weight is transferred from side to side. On
the unweighted side, both the hand and foot move up the rope. Then you move your
weight to that side and stand up. At the same time, your other hand and foot move
up the rope. It sounds pretty easy, but it takes some practice.