Rock Climbing Certification

Rock climbing certification requires taking the rock climbing class which lasts approximately an hour or two, and has a cost of $10.00 per person.

You must also fill out the rock climbing waiver if you are 18 years of age, or your parents must sign it for you before you can use the wall if you are not yet 18 years of age. These forms can be picked up at Columbus Fit, or you can print your own version by clicking here, Release of Damages, Wall-- Cols Fit.doc. Please read it carefully and understand that rock climbing has inherent risks (since you are suspended by a rope 20 feet from the ground pads).

To climb at your leisure you must pass a written test, practical test, strength test, responsibility test, and participation test at least 24 hours after taking the rock climbing course. You are expected to know how to belay properly, how to communicate (commands must be memorized) with your climber/belayer, know the rules, and how to tie the necessary knots.

Columbus Fit, LLC Rock Climbing Safety and Information

Safety and Equipment:

Always inspect the gym wall or area outdoors that you intend to climb. Be sure than an engineer designed the belay and the wall connections are secure. Rusty bolts, frayed ropes, loose holds, and splintered or worn surfaces are all signs of neglected walls. Solo climbing, or climbing alone, is only recommended if auto-belays are furnished. 250 pounds is the approximate recommended weight limit of the wall holds, though it was designed to support a 350 pound person falling 10 feet.

Avoid getting magic marker, cola, soda, bleach, urine, acids, or other harsh chemicals on climbing ropes. Over as little as 3 months each of these chemicals can cause ropes to break as much as 50% more often during laboratory testing. There is no evidence that insect repellant causes damage to ropes.

A harness is provided by most climbing gyms. Be sure that the leg loops stay inside of the waist loop, and that the buckles are double-backed. When wearing the harness, avoid baggy or flopping clothes (tuck them in to keep them out of the way), and be sure the harness is devoid of tangles and twists. The strongest loop on the harness from which to attach the rope or to belay is without question the belay loop, located on the front and center of the harness.

Free climbing, or climbing without a rope, is not permitted at Columbus Fit, LLC. Climbers should attach to the belay device using a double-figure 8 knot. Bowline knots are easier to tie, but run risks of inversion during certain types of falls. One slight disadvantage of the double-figure 8 knot is that after a fall they are sometimes difficult to untie. Better to have that problem than a knot slipping resulting in injury.

Belayers should pay attention to the climber AT ALL TIMES. The dominant hand should point downward to avoid rope slippage through the carabiner should a fall take place. The dominant hand should be on the rope at all times. Belay technique will be covered during the practical portion of the class.

Communication:

Climber: "On Belay" (after checking belayer and equipment to begin a climb)

Belayer: "Belay on" (after checking equipment security for belayer and
climber)

Climber: "Climbing"

Belayer: "Climb on" (when sure that all is secure)

Climber: "Take" (at the top of the wall)

Belayer: "OK, I've got you"

Climber: "Off Belay"

Belayer: "Belay off"

Climbing Technique:

Pick a foothold, get your foot on the best part of it, then don't move it, juggle it, or adjust it in any way -- don't take your eye off the foothold until your foot is correctly on it. Get your weight on the foothold, then stand up on it keeping your weight on it (and standing up as opposed to pulling up). On less than vertical, butt out, on greater than vertical, butt in to the rock (this is quite general, lots of exceptions). Stand up fully whenever possible, you can reach new holds and also your legs more fully take your weight. Take small steps whenever possible, you'll be amazed at what new holds you can reach when you move up even a few inches, or how less pumpy it is to reach and use them. If you have a good foothold you don't need your other foot to be on a good one to stand up, but get that other foot on a good hold as soon as possible (and then repeat the process).
Many climbers can follow some hard routes without being able to do even one pullup. Footwork is everything.

Most holds in the gym are there for a purpose and you can figure out that purpose. That's different outside. In particular, you often encounter invigorating dead ends. Avoid straying from the route only because the holds are better when veering off. Another thing to get used to is the situation "there are no holds or footholds". You often have to make do with `features'
instead of holds for one or two hands or feet, like tiny edges, bends in a smooth surface, depressions, rifts...

Getting a bit cynical helps. If there is no useful hold around, just move your feet up. As long as the situation is desperate, you need not idle.

Doing something will not render it worse. And when you are hanging at a precarious position with nary a hold and doubt whether you can hold yourself much longer, just go on. You don't increase your chances of success by clinging at a bad spot. On the other hand, at a good resting position, try planning ahead the next few moves. As opposed to the gym, the difficulty on a natural route is not uniform. Getting over the hard pieces fast will help more than it does in the gym.

Climbing Classification, the Yosimite Decimal System:

The Roman numeral is grade whereas the number is the class. Grade I-VII denotes the amount of time and commitment the route will take whereas the class denotes which type of climbing.

Class 1: Walking on a trail

Class 2: Scrambling with use of hands

Class 3: Steeper climbing with handholds, some exposure, usually no need for a rope.

Class 4: Steep, exposed, but easy climbing with rope for safety.

Class 5: Technical rock climbing - specific climbing moves necessary, with a rope and intermediate protection necessary on each pitch. Originally this was split up from 5.0 - 5.9 but, as time went on people did harder climbs, hence the present state of the art, 5.14.

Class 6: This is how aid climbing was originally denoted. This has since been shed for the current aid rating systems, which are denoted by A0 - A5, based on difficulty of the aid placements, and the danger of a prospective fall.

Note that the times here are for the "average" climber, whatever that is.
People have done up to grade VI's in a day, and people have taken multiple days on grade III's.

I - easy excursion. From a single pitch up to a few hours. Not particularly committing.

II - Bit more serious, but less than a half day climb. You could get a few II's in in a day if you worked at it.

III - Half day climb (or thereabouts)

IV - A full day

V - A day or two

VI - A few days