For those who have never climbed before, climbers should come across as lovers of suicidal thrills. Hanging over stomach-hurting drops that make most people squirm, surely there must be something wrong with people climbing?
Is climbing dangerous?
Before I started climbing I thought the people doing it were crazy! But then I learned the real risk and the perceived risk.
By managing the dangerous variables, we can mitigate the risk.
Once you have learned the safety procedures and gained some experience in the outdoor environment, you will find rock climbing as safe, if not safer, than many other sports.
To put it in perspective, we can look at the rate of serious injury and death per 100,000 participants in sport. Using data from the state of Victoria in Australia, we find the following:
- Motorsports – 113
- Water skiing and power boating – 31.5
- Fishing – 30
- Horse riding – 9
- Climbing – 6.6
WHY DO PEOPLE CLIMB?
I’m afraid. And I get scared easily. Exposing the suspension above the ground attached to ropes and gear is not something I easily get used to. But I love to climb and I won’t stop it for the world.
Like most climbers, we are drawn to the challenge and rewards of climbing. But each has different reasons. For some, it’s just about being on the outside. For others, they want to stay in shape.
Rock climbing can fight depression, increase motivation, and help cope with life’s problems and challenges.
And like anything difficult, the rewards of completing a climb fuel a self-satisfaction like no other.
SO WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF CLIMBING?
Climbing requires focus, determination, self-control, strength and endurance
These are valuable skills not only for rock climbing but also for other activities. Climbers can often look at life’s problems or challenges from new perspectives. This increases motivation and so often failing on difficult climbs before succeeding is the embodiment of the saying “never give up”. Climbing will develop these qualities and perfect them.
Trying difficult routes and accomplishing rock climbing feats gives people more confidence and improves self-esteem. Often, other things in life seem easier after you start climbing.
It’s probably the biggest motor for climbing outdoors. The whole experience, of being in nature, to form unique bonds with your fellow climbers, is simply amazing. You can see the world from literally new perspectives and walk-in hard-to-reach areas. This makes most climbers very protective of the environment. After all, no one wants to see the places they love disappear due to pollution, mining, or other negative human-imposed circumstances.
With so many rocks across the world that haven’t been touched, there is an endless amount of climbing that can be done. Is it getting boring? Not at all! Not only can you still climb more difficult routes, but there are also many different styles of climbing. The rock climbing itself can vary widely depending on the type of rock, not to mention trying to climb ice or snow in alpine activities for the adventurer.
Escalation helps people re-understand risk and responsibility. In these days when you can sue for everything, lots of fences, gates and signs, escalation puts the blame on the individual.
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