Rock climbing

Almost every day, the team members are training general climbing skills at the climbing wall at the gym, and they are frequently going out to locations in the countryside in Brazil and the United States to practice in the natural environment.

Rock climbing, rather than depending completely on muscular force, is extremely technical: knowing how to use your feet and leg muscles especially so you stay balanced and don’t tire yourself out by depending on your arm muscles is quite a skill to learn (this is not to say that we don’t use these muscles – far from it!). It sounds obvious when you say it, but the legs can, and do continually, hold much more weight than your arms for much longer periods – we just don’t think about it. And your feet, being the base of your legs are, ultimately, the base of everything.

One of the skills when starting out climbing is learning how to depend on your legs and feet in a much more precise fashion. Every day we just step back and forth without really thinking about it – but with climbing, we need to really think about where to put our feet so we stay balanced with our weight on them. Even the tiniest of nooks in the rock is a potential place to put a foot; the point of our large toes taking our weight – almost like ballet dancers! With two feet firmly in place like this, the body can stay balanced with just one hand (or even finger) securing the tiniest of points in the rock (making triangle-like shape with these three points of the body), spending very little energy, so we can continue onwards and upwards for much longer. It is funny that rock climbers probably end up spending more time looking down to their feet rather than up.

Rock climbing skills are integral to the 360 Extremes Expedition – the skills developed here will be integral for when we go through some of the largest canyons in the world. Also the skills are transferable to mountaineering which, whilst obviously different being in icy conditions and depending on equipment like crampons and ice axes, will also need similar body movements and basic skills. Furthermore, one of the most important aspects of climbing is the psychological aspect: climbing encourages a massively positive way of thinking in that we are pushing ourselves to the top and we know that we can do it; problem solving when it is not obvious where to go or when one gets into a bit of a difficulty; and team work, as we depend on our team members for our very survival.

Read more news and stories about our rock climbing exploits at the gym and on the rocks.

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