Most of us have come across rock-climbing in our school days. Made to scale a giant wall while securely attached to a rope, harness fastened, was the rite of passage into physical education classes and camps.
Recently, the sport has gained a lot of traction. There is an increasing number of studios popping up to cater to the masses. Even its more challenging version, bouldering, made a name for itself. This is where one scales small rock formations or artifical rock walls (boulders) without the protection of harnesses and ropes.
However, its most extreme version is not commonly heard of and talked about, Solo climbing.
What is Solo climbing?
When National Geographic released its documentary in 2018, jaws were dropped as people witnessed the colossal act of Alex Honnold scaling a 3000 ft vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park. The catch- He was doing it without any safety gear!
That was when the world heard loud and clear about solo climbing, in particular free solo climbing. This terrifying sport is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is done on a much higher vertical terrain than bouldering and one would climb alone without any form of assistance. This includes ropes and harnesses of any sort! Only with their bare hands, some challk etched onto their hips and fierce determination, climbers can climb up to 1000 ft at a time.
Even then, it is still not discussed in popular media and sporting communities, precisely because it is a niche sport. It is not readily available as a hobby for everyone to pick up. It takes years and years of experience to expertly scale rocky terrains and hang on for dear life. Thus it is only practiced by only a handful of skilled climbers who do compete in the sport of rock climbing professionally. Even then, the number of injuries recorded are quite high.
If you still conquering your fear of heights (like me) or are a newbie at the sport, fear not! Rock climbing and bouldering are hobbies that you can pick up. There are studios with trainers and classes conducted to teach you the basics. Learn how to balance on small nooks as you simultaneously build muscles. Eventually with enough practice, maybe even you can start dangling precarious ledges fearlessly!