Fun Friday: The Different Types of Rock Climbing

Fun Friday is literally random. I hope you're prepared.

For those of you who haven't heard, I injured myself rock climbing last Friday. (Which was not such a fun Friday for me.) When telling people about my injury (popped neck, right side is stiff, wrists a bit weird, soft spot in spine), they ask me, "Weren't you wearing a harness?" So this post is to clear something up about rock climbing.

There are several types of climbing. My personal preference is rope climbing because I find it's safer, I have more endurance, and I can get back on the wall if I fall off. This is the type of climbing that involves a harness and the use of a previously attached rope, requiring a belay partner. (Belaying is using the rope to make sure that if the other person falls that no dying is involved.)

When I fell, I was bouldering. Bouldering does not require the use of a harness; in fact, using the harness will probably get in the way. The routes are typically shorter and if you fall off, you have to start over. Knowing how to fall properly is key to bouldering safely. While reaching for the last hold, one of my hands found the top but then slipped, and I landed on my back with my head on the protective mat and the rest of my body on the ground. Needless to say, I am currently in pain, but alive and thankful. Some gyms will pad the entire floor, while some will only have mats. The ones that only have mats are more dangerous, and typically I climb at a gym that's entirely padded. Due to my recent injury, I will probably avoid the bouldering side for a while after my recovery.

The third type of climbing that I'm aware of is called lead climbing. This is very dangerous if you're not careful, because the other person's life is literally in your hands. If you don't know much about rock climbing, I would advise against trying to write characters who lead climb, because it's a complicated process and it will most likely not read realistically to people who actually rock climb.

Hope this post was informational, and remember, if you rock climb, prepare a mat for the likelihood that you'll fall, because it's better to have one there and not need it than to not have one there when you do.

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