Essentials of Rock Climbing [Infographic]

Shawn Michaels 3m 849 #rockclimbing

The views, opinions, and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments on this website are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of Confessions of the Professions thereof. By reading the following article, you do not hold responsible Confessions of the Professions or any contributing authors for the content of this confession. Viewer Discretion is Advised.

Read This Confession To Me

Do You Know About Rock Climbing?

Woman Rock Climbing

If you’re looking for the perfect combination of fitness, fun and a healthy dose of adrenaline, then rock climbing is what you should definitely pursue with fervor. For countless outdoor enthusiasts, rock climbing is the perfect way of breaking all mental and physical barriers and enjoying an adventurous ordeal.

There are various ways of enjoying this sport; some people can be comfortable in the natural settings without any artificial suspenders whereas some might enjoy the indoor gym location. Overtime, the usage of tools and equipment has become famous in this sport because it leads to added ease and comfort.

Those individuals who would not feel very safe climbing previously, have now started to approach this sport with an open mind because of the amenities that have been incorporated in it. However, even with all the additions, it is paramount to attain some sort of training before jumping onto the rock climbing bandwagon.

Essentials of Rock Climbing [Infographic]

Click to open / Right-click for save options

PDF Version

Text-Friendly Version


Rock climbing is one of the earliest sporting activities to hit the globe. People have been using a variety of ropes to ascend to the top of mountains since before specialized climbing equipment existed. Today, there is a variety of climbing ropes and pieces to help anyone climb the mountain.


Rock climbing has roots that can be traced back to the 15th century, when the first climb was recorded in history. As shown in the timeline below, this dangerous sport has blossomed into something that can be attained with the right equipment and a passion for the pursuit.


1492 Antoine de Ville climbs Mont Aiguille.

1786 The start of the modern mountaineering era with the climbing of 15,771 feet of Mont Blanc by Michael-Gabriel Paccard and Jacques Balmat.

EARLY 1900s

1910 Beginning of great strides in climbing ropes and handling of equipment.

1930 Start of wall climbing with Emilio Comici’s invention of multi-set ladder, belays, and rope-handling techniques.

1950s Recognition of rock climbing as a sport aside from mountaineering.

1960s and 1970s Yosemite climbers take climbing to a new level with limited climbing aids and free climbing.

1980s The beginning of “sports climbing.”


Rock climbing is not just simply scaling mountains. The sport has evolved to include several different varieties of climbing.


Traditional Rock Climbing

  • Climbers wear harnesses and are connected by rope and scale the rock face.
  • Most well-known climbing seen in movies and documentaries.

Sport Climbing

  • Similar to traditional, but the protective pieces are bolted into the rocks.
  • Climber does not carry protection with him/her.
  • Safer, faster, and less expensive climbing.

Free Solo Climbing

  • Sport climbing without rope.
  • Dangerous – if the climber falls, he dies.
  • Think Mission Impossible.

Indoor Climbing

  • Climbers scale indoor structures made of plywood or concrete.
  • Advantage – fixed heights and no weather worries.

Ice Climbing

  • Climbers scale an ice formation (frozen waterfall or glacier).
  • Specialized equipment for ice is needed.

Bouldering and Building

  • Climbing boulders and urban settings rather than cliffs.
  • Examples: sides of chimneys and buildings.
  • Can be done without ropes since height is low.


One of the basic elements needed in rock climbing is – quite simply – rope. The types of ropes used throughout the centuries are quite different than what is used today.

The First Rope Origins

  • When mountaineers first began climbing, ropes were made of animal and plant fibers and woven together by hand.

Synthetics: The mid-20th century brought materials such as nylon into rope making.

  • Ropes were more elastic, helping absorb the impact from falling climbers.
  • Light and durable.

Kernmantle: Invented in 1953 and considered the most significant stride in rope history.

  • Strong synthetic rope core within a braided nylon sheath.
  • Elasticity and strength; eliminated untwisting rope wear.

Modern: The biggest advantage is that ropes are made for different climbing experiences. No more “one rope fits all.”

  • Water proof and resistant.
  • Ropes can work in pairs, twin style, and are ultra-lightweight.


To be a safe and successful rock climber, you need to have the right equipment and know your ropes. Here are some tips and tricks for starting out.

What Tools Do You Need?

  • Pair of shoes
  • Harness
  • Belay device
  • Chalk bag
  • Quickdraws
  • Rope

The ABCs of Ropes

  • Length of Rope: Standard length is 60 meters. Length varies on each climb. Get a rope appropriate for each climbing adventure.
  • Thickness of Rope: The larger the rope’s diameter, the heavier it will be.
    • Heavy-duty ropes are 10-11 mm and will handle stress.
    • Average ropes are 9.5-10 mm.
    • Skinny ropes are 8-9.5 mm – weakest rope.
  • Coiling Rope: Butterfly-coil the rope over neck, hand, or leg to avoid twists, and kinks.

Storing Rope

Store in a cool dry place away from sunlight and chemicals. Do not hang from a coil.

You now know the history of rock climbing and the variety of climbing options available. You know what equipment is necessary, and how important the rope is in climbing. Ready, set, CLIMB!





Leave A Thought