Scaling the heights, safely
Written by: Michal Procházka
True, September weather
isn't that great for swimming, but you can still
enjoy an outdoor sport, in the wild. Rock climbing
is practically ideal, and you can even enjoy it in
bad weather - on any of countless man-made walls.
ROCK climbing is definitely an extreme, dangerous
sport. But if you prepare yourself well, it needn't
be any more dangerous than crossing a busy street.
So here are some basic instructions on how and where
to start out, including the contacts you'll need.
It's not absolutely necessary to have the best equipment
immediately, but your choice should be based on many
factors, such as the kind of rocks you'll be climbing
- so it pays to consult with the sales staff. The
basic rock climbing equipment (see adrex.cz) will
cost you CZK 10,000 to 15,000:
- Harness - one definite "must-have" piece
of equipment. Adjustable-diameter leg loops are a good
feature. You can also add a chest harness, which protects
you if you fall head-down.
- Rope - two types: static for rappelling, and dynamic
for climbing. For sports and classical climbing, most
ropes are 50-60 meters long. After the season you should
inspect your ropes and take any damaged rope out of
- Climbing shoes - a properly fitting climbing shoe
should be as tight as possible, so you can even use
your toes when climbing. There are various types of
shoes, designed for different rock surfaces.
- Figure-eights - a traditional device for rappelling
on a single or a double line, but also for securing
a climbing partner. Watch out for mechanical damage
caused by dirt or a fall, and never use a damaged figure-eight
- throw it out.
- Carabiners - you should have some of the various
forms of classic and locking caribiners. Locking caribiners
can't accidentally slip open, a frequent cause of accidents.
- Quickdraws - double caribiners used to attach rope
to anchor points while climbing. The caribiner with
the straight gate attaches to the anchor and the bent-gate
caribiner is easier to insert a rope into. The length
of the climb and the number of anchor points determine
how many you'll need.
- Friends - protection devices for when there aren't
enough anchor points. They are inserted into cracks
and crevices in the wall.
How and where to
Of course you can teach yourself rock climbing by studying specialized
literature. Many people who've never climbed certainly know rule
number one: always have three solid points. But before starting
it's still good to memorize four principles and then apply them
from your very first climb:
-Use your feet as well as your hands for support.
-Always think carefully about where you're going to climb to.
-Always make sure your center of gravity is positioned correctly.
-Keep your stomach to the wall, and move your shoulders away from
At the specialized schools that offer climbing courses they're
sure to repeat these rules for you. It's better for beginners to
start on artificial walls - it costs about CZK 150 to 200 an hour
(outdoor courses cost a bit more). For detailed descriptions of
climbing rocks in the Czech Republic, go to lezec.cz/pruvodce.php.
At Boulder Bar or LokalBlok you can climb without a rope - the
entire area is covered with special mattresses in case of a fall.
Some walls require reservations, and prices (around CZK 100) may
be quoted for one or two hours, or for the entire day.
Ruzyně - Lezecké centrum, Drnovská 19, Praha 6 - Ruzyně,tel.:
604 644 714, 235 319 096, firstname.lastname@example.org,www.lezeckekurzy.cz,
Horolezecká škola Horosport Praha, Sportcentrum Evropská,
José Martího 31, Praha 6, kontakt: Petr Piskač, tel.:
777 110 859, 220 172 309, email@example.com,
Lezecké centrum Mamut, Bubenská 1536/43, Praha 7 -
Holešovice, tel.: 233 371 481, www.stenaholesovice.cz
Ladislava Bímová, Rytířova 811/19, Praha 12, tel.:
604 262 137,firstname.lastname@example.org, kurzylezeni.tulak.cz
Jaroslav Zika (36),
manager of the customer
solutions, Český Telecom
Do you prefer climbing indoor walls or rocks?
I prefer rock climbing. Indoor walls are good for training
and climbing during the week, when there is no other possibility.
For me climbing is not only about maximum performance, but
it is a good way to relax in nature, to forget everyday worries,
and to spend some time with my friends. Climbing also keeps
me in shape and enables me to prove that I can overcome obstacles."
To what should a beginner pay the most attention?
No beginner should attempt climbing without basic training
by an instructor, who should concentrate on respecting the
safety code. This is also connected with the choice of a
reliable partner, with objective judging of one's abilities
and the surrounding conditions, especially weather."