Climb Chicago, IL
The sport of Rock Climbing is a sport in which participants climb up or across natural rock formations or man-made rock walls with the goal of reaching the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route.
Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber’s strength, endurance, agility, and balance along with his or her mental control. It can be a dangerous sport and knowledge of proper climbing techniques and usage of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. The wide variety of rock formations around the world has led rock climbing to separate into several different styles and sub-disciplines that are described below.
Most of today’s climbing is considered free climbing -- climbing using one's own physical strength with equipment used solely as protection and not as support -- as opposed to aid climbing, the gear-dependent form of climbing that was dominant in the sport's earlier days. Free climbing is typically divided into several styles that differ from one another depending on the equipment used and the configurations of their belay, rope, and anchor systems or the lack thereof.
Styles of Climbing
- Bouldering is climbing on short, low routes, called “problems” without the use of the rope that is typical of other styles. Protection, if used at all, typically consists of a cushioned bouldering pad below the problem and a spotter, a person that watches from below and directs the fall of the climber away from hazardous areas. Bouldering is generally considered safer than other styles of climbing, which results in exceptionally high difficulty standards.
- Top Roping is climbing with the protection of a rope that’s already suspended through an anchor at the top of a route. A belayer controls the rope, keeping it taut, and prevents long falls.
- Lead climbing is an advanced style of climbing and is rarely practiced by novice climbers. Unlike top roping, lead climbing does not employ a pre-set belay system. One person (the leader) will start the climb tied in to one end of the rope and will gradually attach it to additional anchors as he or she climbs, thereby establishing a belay system between him or herself and the belayer that progresses with the climb. The two main forms of lead climbing are Trad (Traditional) Climbing, and Sport Climbing.
- Traditional climbing, or Trad climbing, is a style of climbing that emphasizes the skills necessary for establishing routes in an exploratory fashion. Before the advent of sport climbing, the normal style of unaided rock climbing was what is now referred to as “traditional”. Trad climbing usually involves the leader ascending a section of rock while placing their own protective devices as he/she climbs. Route finding, effective gear placements, self control, and good climbing skills are essential. Normally, such climbs are not previewed or rehearsed on a top rope (with or without tension), and emphasis is placed on passing difficult sections on the first try. As a form of free climbing, only the limbs and body of the climber are used to effect upward progress, and protective devices are placed solely to catch the climber in the event of a fall.
- Sport climbing is a style of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock, especially bolts, for protection. It contrasts with traditional climbing, in which the rock is typically devoid of fixed anchors and climbers must place removable protection as they climb. Since the need to place protection is virtually eliminated, sport climbing places an emphasis on gymnastic ability, strength and endurance, as opposed to adventure, risk and self-sufficiency. As artificial means are used primarily for safety rather than to make upward progress, sport climbing is considered a form of free climbing.
Climbing gyms in Chicago, IL near me:
Brooklyn Boulders, FFC Old Town, First Ascent Climbing & Fitness, Lakeshore Sport & Fitness Illinois Center, Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing