Climbing is sport that has been associated with risk or serious injury or death since its inception. Watching climbers intentionally fall from over 15ft in the air strikes fear into the hearts of aspiring climbing athletes. And to give them credit, the sport can appear dangerous at many times. Bouldering consists of no safety mechanisms except for preventing injury except for an occasional crash pad below and the climber’s knowledge of how to fall correctly.
But really, injuries are not as common as you would think. The gym I climb at, The Studio in downtown San Jose, injuries are very infrequently reported. Why is this? Hundreds of people, often newbies, climbing vertically into the air and people are not falling to gruesome deaths like in the movies.
This is for several reasons. One main reason is that everything is monitored. Professional climbers are often at gyms and people watch others, not only because it’s interesting to watch, but because no one wants anyone to get hurt. Climbers often enjoy giving tips to others to help them improve their climbing experiences.
Another reason why people remain safe is because there are certain tests required in order to do some of the more advanced climbing, such as top-roping and belaying. These certifications test your knowledge of climbing as well as your gear, to make sure your carabiners and harness are to up par. This means that not just anyone can walk up to a wall and go at it. There are requirements and classes that are often necessary.
The last reason is that falling isn’t as bad as you may think. When someone is trained to fall a certain way, injury is often very avoidable, especially when these falls occur on crash pads. Allowing your body’s fall energy to flow and disperse through a roll eliminates a lot of the pressure on your spine and legs.
With the right knowledge, climbing can be a safe and enjoyable experience for people of any walk of life. Check out your local climbing location for more info.