Basic Climbing Techniques. Learning Fall Techniques Reduce Your Injury Rate. Climbers Take Turns At Leading.
Basic climbing techniques for caving are similar to other rock climbing techniques, but the harness used must be different. The caving harness has a lower center of gravity and should also include a chest harness.
While ladders used to be used extensively in caving, Single Rope Technique (SRT) and abseiling is now the preferred option as it is done more easily and quickly with less loss of energy. Descenders are mechanical friction devices used when abseiling rather than using the body as a brake. Of course, you still have to climb up.
Abseiling is also known as rappelling. Abseiling is the least dangerous when performed with all safety measures in place (belaying, anchors, safety gear) and done where the rope is in no danger of tangles and friction due to overhangs.
Ladders are still used to climb and descent shorter pitches, but on longer pitches they tend to tangle and they consume much energy. Ladder climbers should always be anchored safely to another anchor point, separate from that which is holding the ladder.
Tying in can be considered a climbing ‘technique’ as it is a necessary part of all climbing. Tying in creates a belay loop for your belay device. When you tie in, you are attaching yourself to the rope – usually with a figure eight knot. Extreme care is essential to get each part right for your own and others’ safety.
Most climbs consist of more than one pitch or section. Leading is when the first climber goes ahead to establish safe anchor points for those following. Climbers usually take turns at leading, as it is harder than following.
No one wants to fall; yet falls are all part of the caving experience. Learning fall techniques can reduce your injury rate. When falling from a vertical wall, even though it will often be a surprise, you will mostly know just ahead of time that you are going to fall. Falling usually means you will swing, but you don’t want to swing against a rock face with any force. Try and keep your feet out to take the force of the in swing.
Actual climbing can be done in two ways – static or dynamic. Often there is a combination of both, yet the dynamic climb is the least strenuous. Static climbing is usually slow with the muscles taking the weight of transfer. Dynamic makes more use of momentum to achieve the upward motion. This must be done at a faster rate to keep the momentum up, therefore may not be used so much in cave climbing as in other forms of climbing.