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Sport Climbing vs. Gym Climbing

Similar to gym climbing, sport climbing uses a little more gear and offers a lot more variety.

by Mike

SPORT CLIMBING — So how is sport climbing like gym climbing? Sport climbing is no different than climbing in a gym—you still wear proper safety equipment, a harness and shoes and other essentials like a chalkbag, belay device, etc.

Are they both safe?
You bet. When sport climbing, you still tie into a rope with a follow-through-figure 8 knot and use the appropriate safety dialogue, but you use quickdraws for protection. Quickdraws (sometimes referred to as “draws”) are two carabineers joined together with a spectra or nylon piece of webbing called a dogbone. The dogbone acts to keep the biners properly aligned and to reduce rope drag.

A Quickdraw?
The name quickdraw may have reference to the old time gun slinging cowboy. Gunfighters were very adept at drawing their guns and firing in less than a second, much like the sport climber who is gripping the crux hold with all their might and hoping they can ‘quickdraw’ a draw and clip it and the rope to the bolt before losing their grip and falling.

The top carabineer on a draw clips through the hole in the bolt hanger and through the bottom carabineer you clip the rope. As the climber ascends the route, he will place one draw on each bolt and clip the rope to the bottom carabiner. If the climber falls, the rope clipped to the quickdraw and the bolt will protect the fall.

Same game, different name.
So sport climbing really isn’t that different from gym climbing except you do it outdoors. Climbing outdoors does have its challenges, such as the holds cannot be moved around, objective hazards (falling rocks, insects and poisonous reptiles), and crowded routes at the local crag, just to name a few. OK, so some things won’t change too much from climbing at the local gym, but you will get some fresh air and hopefully, some killer views.

Sport Climbing
Beginner's Guide to Rock Climbing
All Rock Climbing Articles

Warning! Climbing is a dangerous activity! The information presented in the articles on this site is for recreational and informational use only. Please seek qualified instruction before climbing if you have any question about your climbing ability!



Sport Climbing
Sport Climbing Tips
Traditional Climbing vs Sport Climbing
What is a Climbing Bolt?
Climbing Bolts - a Troubled Past
Sport Climbing Safety
Falling with Style

Beginner's Guide to Rock Climbing
New Climbers Start Here
Rock Climbing Gear Checklist
Rock Climbing Ratings
Indoor Rock Climbing
Top 10 Rock Climbing Tips
Aid Climbing
Buying Rock Climbing Shoes

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