Staying Safe On Your Rock Climbing Adventure
By Jennifer Dawson
Australia is a land that was built for adventure junkies, from surfers to skydivers. In fact, in the 2017 Global Adventure Ranking, Australia was ranked the second most adventurous country in the world, snagging the top spot when it came to rock climbing. From Point Perpendicular to Mount Buffalo, Australia is home to plenty of exciting adventures for climbing enthusiasts. It’s important to remember, though, while rock climbing in the Australian outback is exhilarating, it’s also notoriously dangerous. Just the slightest slip-up can be fatal. Here are some tips on how you can stay safe when climbing, and some mistakes to avoid.
Always Do a Safety Check
Before starting any climb, you must perform a standard safety check. This is to ensure that all of your equipment is safe, secure, and up to code so that it doesn’t fail on you at the worst possible moment. You should check all ropes, knots, and harnesses to ensure that they’re properly fastened and that there’s no visible wear. The belay device should be threaded properly, and your helmet should be tight around your head.
Communicate With Your Party
Even before you start your climb, it’s important to discuss the game plan with all members involved. Communication is key to a successful climb, and it can help to prevent anyone from sustaining unnecessary injuries. Always concentrate when belaying and listen carefully to the leader above. Avoid distractions such as cell phones, pets, and other climbers.
Keep the Rope Over Your Leg
When climbing, especially leading a route, you should take care to keep your rope over your leg instead of between or behind it. If you fall, this seemingly simple safety precaution will prevent you from flipping upside down, which could mean a nasty hit to the head. You can also better keep an eye on your rope and anchors as you climb.
Wear Sun Protection
Slips and falls aren’t all you have to worry about when rock climbing. The Australian sun can be harsh, especially around midday, and so it’s important to lather up the sunscreen before you head outdoors. You should wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. It’s fine if you want to go higher, but sunscreens with an SPF of 50 or above offer similar protection to SPF 30 products.
Australia is home to many beautiful and unique rock formations that attract climbers from across the globe. It’s important that both native and visiting rock climbers take steps to keep themselves and their party safe. By performing safety checks, communicating, and practicing proper climbing techniques, thrill-seekers can ensure that they won’t sustain an injury during their adventure. It’s also important to remember to protect yourself against UV radiation and use plenty of sunscreen throughout the day.