Juanito Oiarzabal or Edurne Pasabán are two names that are linked to the exciting world of climbing, a sporting activity that, however, is also open to people who enjoy the mountain and want to release adrenaline but are not professional climbers. It is a question of ascending using physical force rock walls or any natural vertical relief, for which certain safety materials are used that are normally recovered as one advances.
However, the sport requires that the routes that are climbed are equipped with insurance so that the athlete can fix to them and maintain safety at all times, although the climber David Alvarez warns that “risk control is never total, there is always some and must be cautious. To do this, apart from being accompanied by a good instructor, you must know the basic climbing material that you will need and that we will explain in detail later.
Climbing, an activity for everyone
When you imagine a person doing this activity the first thing you think about is the need for excellent physical preparation. On the other hand, Alex Ule, manager and project manager of Ingura Aventura, in Alava, states that “climbing can be done by any type of person, even with a low physical and technical level, although in this case, they should climb routes according to their level and always be accompanied by a person with experience or an expert technician in the matter”. He also points out that “the only limitations we could find are for people who have some kind of injury or limitation that in the day to day may mean some impediment to mobility, but even working with it, you can overcome many limitations and climb walls of a certain degree.
How could climbing be done with some kind of health problem or without physical or technical preparation? Alex Ule states that “if we start climbing 4th or 5th-grade routes it is very easy to progress and gain confidence in the environment”. That’s why he also considers that “the ideal thing is to take an initiation course to rock climbing and learn the basic techniques of progression and safety, as well as the usual movements and gestures to practice the activity in complete safety”. According to this expert, “in a matter of three or four days, you could be completely autonomous climbing”.
Necessary climbing materials for beginners
The first thing you think about when you hear about climbing equipment is helmets, carabiners and ropes, but there is much more. According to Alex Ule, manager and head of projects at Inguru Aventura in Alava, “for a beginner, it is normal to start with a pair of harnesses and helmets, cat’s feet, a 70 or 80 meters rope, an insurer, a few carabiners with insurance, 10 or 15 express ribbons, some ribbon and a backpack to store all the material. As we go along and depending on which other climbing variants we go into, more complex materials may be needed.
Climber David Álvarez comments that there are certain safety instructions to which attention must be paid; in this sense, “the homologation of all the material must be checked by looking for labels on which it says ‘CE’ (European Community) or ‘UIAA’ (International Union of Alpinism Associations) to ensure that the required safety requirements have passed. Also, a visual inspection must be made, both at the time of purchase to check for possible factory defects and to make sure that the wear does not cause it to be damaged. Finally, the manufacturer’s expiration indicators should be checked to avoid unnecessary risks.