Many sports, by definition, incorporate an element of danger. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that the prospect of sustaining serious injury during a game of snooker or a stand-off at the table-tennis table is remote footballers are being sidelined all the time, rugby players are often to be seen leaving the bitch with their heads swathed in a bloodied headband and boxers take very considerable risks in their pursuit of sporting excellence.
Few sports though can leave the participant open to the possibility of serious injury and worse than boxing, and many promising young boxers have paid the price for being inadequately prepared, unfit or badly matched against a superior (or just lucky) opponent.
The sense of danger can in truth be an alluring factor when embarking upon any sporting venture, but nevertheless the sensible sportsperson will do whatever he or she can to minimise the chances of coming to grief.
Equipment, like the climber, needs to be up to the job
So it is with rock climbing and mountaineering, where the threat of a slip or a fall are occupational hazards but the odds of encountering any real danger can be minimised by taking some basic common sense precautions.
Needless to say having strong, sturdy, functional equipment that is up to the task is an essential prerequisite for a safe experience upon the rocks, and this is one area where it would certainly be foolhardy to try to sacrifice quality and functionality in pursuit of economy. Whether we are talking about hooks, ice axes, ropes or any other necessary piece of equipment by far the most important consideration has to be whether or not it actually works; whether it is fit for purpose.
That is not to say of course that rock climbing equipment needs necessarily to be prohibitively expensive, but simply that one is aware of the quality of the product that one is purchasing.
Similarly one’s apparel needs to be fit for purpose and anything bought for use in the field really has to be appropriate for the task ahead. Coats, hats, gloves, trousers and shoes or boots all need to be of sufficient thickness to sustain the climber in times of wet or otherwise inclement weather whilst still allowing the climber the freedom to climb.
The quality of outdoor gear can vary substantially from one product to the next, and it is always helpful to source equipment from a reliable provider and to stick to a brand name that you know you can trust.
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Guest article brought to you by Urban Rock, the UK climbing specialists.