60

Should overweight people climb? If they want to, then yes of course they should. I don't have any hard fact to back it up, but I do know a few climbers that are slightly overweight and have participated in guiding climbing days where some participants where seriously overweight (in some cases due to obvious medical reasons, in other cases I don't know why). ...


55

It's not the fall that gets you, it's the sudden stop at the end. The most detailed data on the effects of large accelerations (or equivalently, decelerations) on the human body comes from research into spaceflight and aircraft ejection systems. There is a very detailed paper from NASA here, from which figure 5 (p. 36) is most useful. The summary is: it ...


45

There is no specific distance from which a person can fall and have it said they will survive or not survive. There are simply too many variables that will dominate the factor of "distance." In 1971, flight attendant Vesna Vulović fell 10,160 meters (~33,300 ft) and survived without a parachute. On the other hand 556,000 people died in 2013 from slip-and-...


42

The following references from a few major rope manufacturers cover rope care thoroughly. Please see the bottom of this answer for a summary. From Bluewater Ropes: Avoid stepping on your rope. Beside the potential of cutting, stepping on a rope will grind dirt into the core and increase the possibility of internal abrasion. Protect your rope from ...


40

In the end I have contacted the manufacturer, and received a detailed answer surprisingly quickly. So turns out, that the last 2 digits of the batch number are the year of manufacture. E.g. ABCD987612 --> Year of manufacture is 2012. Additional useful information from the e-mail: The potential lifetime of this product in use is 10 years. Attention: ...


38

A carabiner is designed to be loaded only along the long axis, near the spine (leftmost figure below). It will be weaker in any other direction of stress. Primary long-axis strength should be marked on the carabiner spine with an up-down arrow symbol, and is typically given in kilo-Newtons (one kN equals approximately 225 pounds of force). Cross-loading ...


37

All of the resources that I can find say that it should be done with the screw tip pointing up and the hanger below with up to a twenty-degree angle from horizontal. Contrary to what you might think, the best angle for the screws is slightly upward, meaning the hanger is slightly lower than the teeth in the ice. This counterintuitive method is ...


35

I just finished Caldwell's book Push. The big walls in Yosemite are essentially vertical deserts. Even in winter they're in the full sun much of the day. It would drop below freezing at night, but during the day temperatures would regularly get above 50 °F (10° C). In the summer the heat can be overwhelming. Aside from the difficulty of performing extremely ...


34

If you're top roping on a 14.5m climb, 10% stretch* in the 29m of rope between you will be up to 2.9m. In practice there's less rope than that between you, but if there's a little slack in the rope on a climb of that height, the fall could easily hit 3m. The only way round it is to keep more tension on the rope in the first few metres. As you're already ...


33

I'm fat, and I climb. Now to be fair I climb indoors and not up the side of a mountain, but some of the problems I face would tend to be the same. Also I climb for fun. It's a much better workout than a treadmill. But I am by no means a serious climber. Safety gear is harder to find. I am a big dude, not just fat (though I am that too). Finding size 16 ...


32

Both sport climbing and trad climbing are a form of lead climbing, which means the first climber to go up is not protected by a rope from above. A sport climber uses quickdraws which, as you mentioned, get clipped to bolts that have been placed in 10 to 15 foot intervals. At the end of the climb a sport climber can expect to find a belay anchor consisting of ...


32

Like it says in the other comment, these glasses are to be used when belaying so that you don't have to tilt your head up. The lenses are made of a prism-shaped glass that bends the light in such a way that you see what is happening up while looking straight in front of you. They help to avoid neck pain, and they also make it easier to always keep an eye on ...


31

In your specific situation where it is either start climbing now indoors or in spring outdoors, that alone is reason enough to prefer indoors. Then there are the following already mentioned benefits indoors: Big pool of climbing partners, lots of courses, easy access, independent from weather and probably more. The last point makes it very suitable to learn ...


29

Failure by cutting is a primary concern In terms of safety (rather than e.g. rope life) laboratory (UIAA) fall testing may not be the most important concern. Even a new, thick rope can be cut in a single fall across a sharp edge. This also applies to so-called "edge resistant" (defunct UIAA 108 standard) ropes. See this Yellow Spur fatality report. ...


29

I am going to say that there aren't any. I have always heard stories of big beefy guys who can a zillion pull-ups getting out into real climbing and then realizing that there are very few features that remotely resemble pull up bars. For that matter I have gone climbing and rappelling with a person in a wheel chair and people with other handicaps. Here is ...


27

My answer is "don't ask". It's not so much that it's "impolite", but it's an imposition to them and potentially dangerous for you: Belaying can take quite some time, so you're asking the person to give up a chunk of their recreation time to a total stranger. It's not like you're asking someone to help for 30 seconds You're putting your life in their hands, ...


27

Been there, done that, it's far more worrisome when you have to show them how to put the harness on and then have them test that it's tight enough. And like you said, you really don't want to touch them. The simple solutions is to show them how you take your harness off, and have them mirror your actions and go through the steps slowly. I will point to what ...


26

If you can climb a ladder, you can start rock climbing. You won't be doing crazy stuff unless you get more practice and go often enough to build strength, but there will be routes you can work on. Where arm strength really matters is overhangs. Unless you're doing those, you'll likely find your hand strength is your limiting factor than your arm strength. ...


26

You could ask the similar question "Most runners I see aren't fat, so is it wrong to start running as a massive guy?" Of course the good and really good climbers are most likely on the thinner side because of obvious and already denoted reasons. Besides that, as for runners, do the sport but don't start over-motivated. Often people who like to get 20kg off ...


25

Most climbers use a re-threaded figure 8. The knot is not that important, though. In reading many accident reports, I have never seen one where the knot came untied or where there was a rope failure due to the knot on the harness. Pick a knot you're very familiar with, check it, and you're done. Spend more time checking belay devices, locking caribiners, ...


25

Be observant If you go to the gym often take note of who the regulars are and their general abilities. You aren't going to know everyone's name but you might get a rough idea of their capabilities. This will give you introduction lines like: I haven't seen you around here very much. Are you new? I noticed you mostly stick to bouldering. Last week ...


25

Most climbing harnesses support the majority of your weight, if freely suspended, around the tops of the thighs. While the waist belt may be designed to take the brunt of loads in a fall once you are suspended the weight will tend to settle onto the leg loops, depending of course on the position that you end up in. But either way the harness will end up ...


24

The biggest difference in indoor climbing is that your routes are mapped out for you. It can be challenging to figure out the proper sequence, but it's much easier if you know where all the holds are right away. Another big factor is the abundance of large(ish) foothold. When setting in a gym (from 7 years of personal experience) even the tiniest jib can ...


23

First of all: Walking a glacier contains some serious risks and roping up is not enough to cover that risks, but also knowledge of crevasse rescue is needed. Therefore I strongly recommend a glacier course where all those things are taught. Now for some basic things to consider when walking a glacier as a roped party: When walking a glacier, one normally ...


23

Off width cracks are cracks that are too big to finger jam or fist jam, but too small for you to fit inside and chimney climb, so you have to come up with really awkward and very physically excerting moves to get up them, like climbing upside down (literally). Basically they are cracks that are just the right width to not be fun, and take a lot of physical ...


23

The absolute strongest? That would be an eye splice. It's the most effective and strongest form of making an eye in a rope and it's what the thimbles are designed to work with. It's nigh on permanent, but that's the trade for strength. All mere knots are a trade off between strength and "untieability", if you're never intending to untie the knot you never ...


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